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Dr Philip R. Nigst

Dr Philip R. Nigst

Lecturer in Palaeolithic Archaeology

Philip Nigst is accepting applications for PhD students.

Philip Nigst is available for consultancy.

Office: G04
Faculty Building

Office Phone: 01223 333531


Academic Appointments

Since 2011     Lecturer in Palaeolithic Archaeology
                     Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK

2010-2016     Post-Doctoral Researcher
                     Department of Human Evolution, Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

10 – 12/2009 Research Assistant
                     Department of Human Evolution, Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

7 – 9/2009     Research Assistant
                     Institut fuer Ur- und Fruehgeschichte, University of Vienna, Austria

since 2004      Part-time Lecturer in Palaeolithic Archaeology
                     University of Vienna, Austria

2004              Teaching Assistant
                     University of Vienna, Austria


2009              Ph.D. in Archaeology, IMPRS  - The Leipzig School of Human Origins 
                     Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology & University of Leipzig

2003              M.A. in Archaeology, University of Vienna

2001–2002     ERASMUS undergraduate student, University of Tübingen

1998              Undergraduate student, University of Vienna (B.A. equivalent)


2006               Hugo Obermaier Research Prize (EUR 5 000.-)


Subject groups/Research projects

Human Behaviour and Evolution:

Research Interests

My research focuses on the archaeology of human origins. This research has included investigations on lithic technology, chronostratigraphy, use of space and site formation processes at Neanderthal and modern human sites in western Eurasia. I am currently engaged in field projects focussing on Neanderthal and modern human adaptations in Central and Eastern Europe.

  • Human Evolution
  • Lithic Technology and Raw Material Utilization
  • Mobility and Landscape Use, Settlement Systems
  • Spatial Analysis and GIS
  • Site Formation Processes


I am presently PI/Co-PI of the following research projects:

  • 2012 – present: NEMO-ADAP Project
  • 2011 – present: Middle Dniestr Valley survey project
  • 2010 – present: Beregovo I excavation project
  • 2005 – present: Willendorf II excavation and research project

I am presently involved in the following research projects:

  • 2013 - present: Mitoc-Malu Galben research project
  • 2012 – present: Kostenki 14 research project
  • 1997 – present: Grub-Kranawetberg research project

Research Funding:

  • 2016-2018: British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Grant: GBP 10,000.-
  • 2016: Dept Arch & Anth Travel Grant: GBP 750.-
  • 2015: Dept Arch & Anth Travel Grant: GBP 500.-
  • 2014: DM McDonald Grants and Awards Fund: GBP 5,000.-
  • 2014: Dept Arch & Anth Travel Grant: GBP 750.-
  • 2013 – 2016: Isaac Newton Trust Matching Funding: GBP 47,064.-
  • 2013: UCam Travelling Expenses Fund: GBP 500.-
  • 2012 – 2016: EU FP7 Marie Curie Career Integration Grant: EUR 100,000.-
  • 2012 – 2013: Leakey Foundation General Grant: USD 20,000.-
  • 2012 – 2013: DM McDonald Grants and Awards Fund: GBP 8,325.-
  • 2012: Isaac Newton Trust Small Grant GBP 800.-
  • 2011 – 2012: Leakey Foundation General Grant: USD 16,000.-
  • 2011 – 2012: DM McDonald Grants and Awards Fund: GBP 6,000.-
  • 2009 – 2010: Leakey Foundation General Grant: USD 13,500.-
  • 2007 – 2008: Leakey Foundation General Grant: USD 13,400.-
  • 2007: City of Vienna Science Fund: EUR 2,000.-
  • 2006 – 2007: Leakey Foundation General Grant: USD 12,990.-
  • 2005 – 2008: Max-Planck-Society Doctoral Research Grant: EUR 43,200.-
  • 2003 – 2004: Austrian Federal Department of Science Research Grant: EUR 7,200.-


Research Supervision

I currently supervise students investigating in a range of topics related to the archaeology of human origins and hunter-gatherers. I am interested in supervising students who wish to study for an MPhil or a PhD in the following topics:

  • Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeology
  • Lithic technology
  • Mobility and landscape use
  • Settlement systems
  • Spatial analysis and GIS
  • Site formation processes


Current Students:

Christoper Andrews 

Emily Hallinan

Rachel Reckin


Past Students:

Lisa Phan



I am involved in the teaching of the following courses:

ARC01 Introduction to Archaeology
ARC02 Archaeology in Action
ARC06 Archaeological Theory and Practice I
A4 Archaeology in Action II
ARC10/A6 The Palaeolithic of the Old World
ARC11/A7 Topics in Palaeolithic Archaeology
A10 The Practice of Archaeology
G02 Core Archaeology
G03 Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology

Other Professional Activities

  • Research Grant Reviewer for the Leakey Foundation, European Research Council, National Science Foundation
  • Reviewer for PNAS, Journal of Human Evolution, Journal of Archaeological Science, Geoarchaeology, Quaternary International, Antiquity, Lithics, The Dolni Vestonice Studies


Key Publications


Moreau L., Brandl M. & Nigst P.R. (2016). Did prehistoric foragers behave in an economically irrational manner? Raw material availability and technological organisation at the early Gravettian site of Willendorf II (Austria). Quaternary International. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.11.12


Nigst P.R., Haesaerts P., Damblon F., Frank-Fellner C., Mallol C., Viola B., Götzinger M., Niven L., Trnka G. and Hublin J.J. (2014). Early modern human settlement of Europe north of the Alps occurred 43,500 years ago in a cold steppe-type environment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111(40), 14394-14399. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1412201111.


Seguin-Orlando A., Korneliussen T.S., Sikora M., Malaspinas A-S., Manica A., Moltke I., Albrechtsen A., Ko A., Margaryan A., Moiseyev V., Goebel T., Westaway M., Lambert D., Khartanovich V., Wall J.D., Nigst P.R., Foley R.A., Lahr M.M., Nielsen R., Orlando L. and Willerslev E. (2014). Genomic structure in Europeans dating back at least 36,200 years. Science, 346(6213), 1113-1118. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0114.


Nigst P.R. (2014). First modern human occupation of Europe: The Middle Danube region as a case study. In K. Boyle, R. J. Rabett, & C. O. Hunt (Eds.), Living in the landscape: Essays in honour of Graeme Barker (pp. 35-47). McDonald Institute Monographs. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Nigst P.R. (2014). Willendorf II: Geography and culture. C. Smith (ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1865.


Haesaerts P., Damblon F., Nigst P. and Hublin J-J. (2013). ABA and ABOx radiocarbon cross-dating on charcoal from Middle Pleniglacial loess deposits in Austria, Moravia, and Western Ukraine. Radiocarbon, 55, 641-647. DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16344.


Nigst P.R. (2012). The Early Upper Palaeolithic of the Middle Danube Region. (Studies in Human Evolution.) Leiden University Press.

Bosch M.D., Nigst P.R., Fladerer F.A. and Antl-Weiser W. (2012). Humans, bones and fire: Zooarchaeological, taphonomic, and spatial analyses of a Gravettian mammoth bone accumulation at Grub-Kranawetberg (Austria). Quaternary International, 252, 109-121. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.08.019.

Nigst P.R. and Antl-Weiser W. (2012). Intrasite spatial organization of Grub/Kranawetberg: methodology and interpretations - Insights into the spatial organization of Gravettian sites in Eastern Central Europe. In: Site-internal Spatial Organization of Hunter-Gatherer Societies: Case Studies from the European Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. Mainz: RGZM-Tagungen Verlag des RGZM. 11-29.