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Teresa E. Steele

Education

  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Stanford University, 2002
  • A.M., Anthropology (Human Biocultural Evolution), Stanford University, 1998
  • B.S., Anthropology & Human Biology, Emory University, 1996 (summa cum laude)

About

Teresa Steele is a paleoanthropologist who studies the later phases of human evolution – the emergence of the earliest people who were behaviorally and anatomically modern. Her research focuses on why these fully modern humans spread out of Africa about 50,000 years ago and were able to replace the Neandertals in Europe. She is particularly interested in the origins of modern human cultural abilities and the relationship between changes in technology, subsistence, and demography

Research Focus

Professor Steele’s research focuses on Middle and Late Pleistocene (780,000-10,000 years ago) archaeology – the Middle Paleolithic made by Neandertals in Europe and the Middle Stone Age (MSA) made by their contemporaries in Africa. She studies the mode and tempo of human behavioral evolution during this time through zooarchaeology – reconstructing human subsistence and ecology through the patterns of variation found in animal bones and mollusks preserved in archaeological sites. She conducts research in South Africa, Morocco and France.

Selected Publications

  • Steele TE, E Álvarez-Fernández and E Hallett-Desguez. 2019. A review of shells as personal ornamentation during the African Middle Stone Age. PaleoAnthropology 2019: 24-51.

  • Smith GM, K Ruebens, S Gaudzinski-Windheuser and TE Steele. 2019. Subsistence strategies throughout the African Middle Pleistocene: Faunal evidence for behavioral change and continuity across the Earlier to Middle Stone Age transition. Journal of Human Evolution 127:1-20.

  • Henn BM, TE Steele and TD Weaver. 2018. Clarifying distinct models of modern human origins in Africa. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 53:148-156.

  • Martisius NL, I Sidera, MN Grote, TE Steele, SP McPherron and E Schulz-Kornas. 2018. Time wears on: Assessing how bone wears using 3D surface texture analysis. PLoS One 13:e0206078.

  • Richter D, R Grün, R Joannes-Boyau, TE Steele, F Amani, M Rué, P Fernandes, J-P Raynal, D Geraads, A Ben-Ncer, J-J Hublin and SP McPherron. 2017. The age of the hominin fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, and the origins of the Middle Stone Age. Nature 546:293-296.

  • Collins B and TE Steele. 2017. An often overlooked resource: Ostrich (Struthio spp.) eggshell in the archaeological record. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 13:121-131.
  • Steele TE, A Mackay, KE Fitzsimmons, M Igreja, B Marwick, J Orton, S Schwortz and MC Stahlschmidt. 2016. Varsche Rivier 003: A Middle and Later Stone Age site with Still Bay and Howiesons Poort assemblages in southern Namaqualand, South Africa. PaleoAnthropology 2016: 100-163.
  • Steele T. E. (2015) The contributions of animal bones from archaeological sites: the past and future of zooarchaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 56:168-176.
  • Dibble H. L., Aldeias, V., Goldberg, P., McPherron, S. P., Sandgathe, D., & Steele, T. E. (2015) A critical look at evidence from La Chapelle-aux-Saints supporting an intentional Neandertal burial. Journal of Archaeological Science 53:649-657.

Teaching

I regularly teach:

  • ANT 003: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANT 174: European Prehistory
  • ANT 177: African Prehistory
  • ANT 180: Zooarchaeology
  • ANT 216: Problems in Archeological Method: Advanced Zooarchaeology
  • ANT 216: Problems in Archeological Method: Proposal Writing

Awards

  • 2014-2019 University of California, Davis Chancellor’s Fellow
  • 2016-2017 Faculty Development Award
  • 2011 Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award