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Department of Archaeology



I started my academic journey in Near Eastern archaeology followed by a PhD in micro-geoarchaeology and ethnoarchaeology. In my research I combined field archaeology, geoarchaeology, ethnography and social and ecological theory to study human-environment interactions as reflected in ancient habitation sites. I did my postdocs at the University of Tubingen, Germany and the University of Cambridge, focusing on the study of Palaeolithic sites. In 2020, I set up my Laboratory for Environmental Micro-History at Department of Maritime Civilizations, School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures, University of Haifa, where I am an Associate Professor and the co-director of the Haifa Center for Mediterranean History (HCMH). I hold an ERC Starting Grant (BEFOREtheFLOOD) for studying the earliest Neolithic coastal settlements, now submerged under the sea.

Since 2024, I am an affiliated Lecturer of Geoarchaeology at the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge.


I am especially interested in studying cultural transitions and explore the relations between human agency and environmental constrains as a dynamic and multi-directional system.

I specialise in field archaeology (terrestrial and underwater), geoarchaeology, ethnography and social and ecological theory. My research focuses on human habitation sites and their immediate surrounding in diverse environments including Palaeolithic caves and open-air sites, the earliest sedentary settlements found in land and under the sea, and Bronze and Iron Age cities.

Through the analysis of microscopic and chemical remains, I study site formation processes, deposition history and stratigraphy in order to provide higher resolution for the type and timing of human behaviour in relations to environmental conditions.

I investigate human use of space, exploitation of natural resources, pyrotechnology and response to environmental changes. Recently, I have been working on the development new methods to advance the study of the micro-archaeological record at underwater sites.

Key Publications

Key publications: 


  • Abadi, I., Friesem, D.E., Gur-Arieh, S., Jin, M., Langgut, D., Ovadia, A., Rabinovich, R., Steiner, T., Torfstein, A., Zurro Hernandez, D., Goring-Morris, N.A., Human response to environmental change at Heinrich event 2 - Early Epipaleolithic occurrences and their paleoecology on the southern shore of Lake Lisan, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 332, 108649.
  • Friesem, D.E., Lavi, N., Lew-Levy, S., Boyette, A. (2024). Mobility, site maintenance and archaeological formation processes: An ethnoarchaeological perspective. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 74, 101588.



  • Friesem, D.E., Goldberg, P., Tabun Cave. In: Gilbert, A.S., Goldberg, P., Mandel, R., Aldeias, V. (Eds.), Earth Sciences Series. Encyclopaedia of Geoarchaeology, 2nd Edition. Springer, Cham. (2023).
  • Ogloblin-Ramirez, I., Grono, E., Zuckerman-Cooper, R., Langgut, D., Galili, E., Friesem, D.E. (2023). A micro-archaeological approach to underwater stratigraphy of submerged settlements: A case study of Atlit-Yam Pre-Pottery Neolithic site, off the Carmel coast, Southern Levant. Geoarchaeology 38, 534-564.
  • Runjajic, M., Garfinkel, Y., Hasel, M.G., Yasur-Landau, A., Friesem, D.E. (2023). Fire at the Gate of Hazor: A Micro-Geoarchaeological Study of the Depositional History of a Bronze Age City Gate. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 49, 103914.



  • Beresford-Jones, D. G., Friesem, D.E., Sturt, F., Pullen, A., Chauca, G., Gorriti, M., Maita, P. K., Joly, D., Huaman, O., French, C. (2022). Insights into Changing Coastlines, Environments and Marine Hunter Gatherer Lifestyles on the Pacific Coast of South America from the La Yerba II Shell Midden, Río Ica Estuary, Peru. Quaternary Science Reviews 285, 107509.
  • Friesem, D.E., Tracking down the house: The contribution of micro-geo-ethnoarchaeology to the study of degraded houses in arid, temperate and humid tropical environments. In: Sulas, F., Lewis, H., Arroyo-Kalin, M. (Eds.), Inspired Geoarchaeologies: Past Landscapes and Social Change. McDonald Institute Monographs Series, Cambridge. Ch. 12, Pp. 183-191 (2022).
  • Friesem, D.E., Ogloblin-Ramirez, I., Zuckerman-Cooper, R., Grono, E., Galili, E. (2022). Deep Stratigraphy of submerged Neolithic sites: A micro-geoarchaeological approach to the study of Coastal settlements in the Eastern Mediterranean. Antiquity 96, 1606-1611.
  • Friesem, D.E., Shimelmitz, R., Schumacher, M.L., Miller, C.E., Kandel, A.W. (2022). A micro-geoarchaeological view on stratigraphy and site formation processes in the Middle, Upper and Epi-Paleolithic layers of Sefunim Cave, Mt. Carmel, Israel. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 14, 222.
  • Gambash, G, Pestarino, B., Friesem, D.E. (2022). From Murex to Fabric: The Mediterranean Purple. Technai 13, 85-113.
  • Grono, E., Friesem, D.E., Dzung, L.T.M., Thuy, N.T., Quy, T.T.K., Hamilton, R., Bellwood, P., Piper, P., Denham, T. (2022). Microstratigraphy reveals cycles of occupation and abandonment at the mid Holocene coastal site of Thach Lac, northern-central Vietnam. Archaeological Research in Asia 31, 100396.
  • Grono, E., Friesem, D.E., Wood, R., Denham, T., Kien, N.K.T., Kinh, D. N., Piper, P. (2022). Site formation processes of outdoor spaces in tropical environments: a micro-geoarchaeological case study from backyard Lo Gach, southern Vietnam. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 14, 211.
  • Grono, E., Piper, P., Bellwood, P., Kinh, D. N., Denham, T., Friesem, D.E. (2022). Early settlement construction in Southeast Asia: lime mortar floor sequences at Loc Giang, southern Vietnam. Antiquity 96, 1538-1554.
  • Grono, E., Piper, P., Kien, N.K.T., Kinh, D. N., Denham, T., Friesem, D.E. (2022). The identification of dwellings and site formation processes in archaeological settlements in the tropics: a micro-geoarchaeological case study from neolithic 
  • Loc Giang, southern Vietnam. Quaternary Science Reviews 291, 107654.
  • Slon, V., Clark, J.L., Friesem, D.E., Orbach, M., Porat, N., Meyer, M., Kandel, A.W., Shimelmitz, R. (2022). Extended longevity of DNA preservation in Levantine Paleolithic sediments, Sefunim Cave, Israel. Scientific Reports 12, 14528



  • Friesem, D.E., Teutsch, N., Weinstein-Evron, M., Shimelmitz, R., Shahack-Gross, R. (2021). Identification of Fresh and Burnt Bat Guano and Pigeon Droppings in Eastern Mediterranean Karstic Cave Sites based on Micromorphological and Chemical Characteristics. Quaternary Science Reviews 274, 107238.
  • Friesem, D.E., Shahack-Gross, R., Weinstein-Evron, M., Teutsch, N., Weissbrod, L., Shimelmitz, R. (2021). High-resolution study of Middle Palaeolithic deposits and formation processes at Tabun Cave, Israel: Guano-rich cave deposits and detailed stratigraphic appreciation of Layer C. Quaternary Science Reviews 274, 107203.
  • Milks, A., Lew-Levy, S., Lavi, N., Friesem, D.E., Reckin, R. (2021). Hunter-gatherer children in the past: An archaeological review. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 64, 101369.
  • Zaidner, Y., Centi, L., Prévost, M., Mercier, N., Falguères, C., Guérin, G., Valladas, H., Richard, M., Galy, A., Pécheyran, C., Tombret, O., Pons-Branchu, E., Porat, N., Shahack-Gross, R., Friesem, D.E., Yeshurun, R., Turgeman-Yaffe, Z., Frumkin, A., Herzlinger, G., Ekshtain, R., Shemer, M., Varoner, O., Sarig, R., May, H., Hershkovitz., I. (2021). Middle Pleistocene Homo behavior and culture at 140,000 to 120,000 years ago and interactions with Homo sapiens. Science 372, 1429-1433.
  • Ward, I.A.K., Friesem, D.E. (2021). Many words for fire: an etymological and micromorphological consideration of combustion features in Indigenous archaeological sites of Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 104, 11-24.



  • Friesem, D.E., Anton, M., Waiman-Barak, P., Shahack-Gross, R., Nadel, D. (2020). Variability and complexity in calcite-based plaster production: A case study from a Pre-Pottery Neolithic B infant burial at Tel Roʻim West and its implications to mortuary practices in the Southern Levant. Journal of Archaeological Science 113, 105048.
  • Grosman, L., Raz, T., Friesem, D.E. (2020). Tomorrow’s mundane is today’s extraordinary: A case study of a plastered installation during Neolithization. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 7, 87.
  • Lew-Levy, S., Milks, A., Lavi, N., Pope, S. M., Friesem, D.E. (2020). Hunter-gatherer children and adolescents as innovators: An ethnographic and archaeological review. Evolutionary Human Sciences 2, E31.
  • Liu, C., Shimelmitz, R., Friesem, D.E., Yeshurun, R., Nadel, D. (2020). Diachronic Trends in Occupation Intensity of the Epipaleolithic Site of Neve David (Mount Carmel, Israel): A Lithic Perspective. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 60, 101223.
  • Wilson, R.J.A., Friesem, D., Tsimbaliouk, D., Ramsay, J., Broida, J., Veal, R., Mukai, T. (2020). UBC Excavations of the Roman Villa at Gerace, Sicily: Results of the 2018 Season. Mouseion 17, 95-212.



  • Lavi, N., Friesem, D.E. (Eds.), Towards a Broader View of Hunter-Gatherer Sharing. McDonald Institute Monographs Series, Cambridge (2019).
  • Friesem, D.E., Abadi, I., Shaham, D., Grosman, L. (2019). Lime plaster cover of the dead 12,000 years ago - new evidence for the origins of lime plaster technology. Evolutionary Human Sciences 1, E9. Doi:10.1017/ehs.2019.9
  • Friesem, D.E., Lavi, N., An ethnoarchaeological view on hunter-gatherer sharing and its archaeological implications for the use of social space. In: Lavi, N. and Friesem, D.E. (Eds.), Towards a Broader View of Hunter-Gatherer Sharing. McDonald Institute Monographs Series, Cambridge. Ch. 6, Pp. 85-96. (2019).
  • Friesem, D.E., Malinsky-Buller, A., Ekshtain, R., Gur-Arieh, S., Vaks, A., Mercier, N., Richard, M., Guérin, G., Valladas, H., Auger, F., Hovers, E. (2019). New Data from Shovakh Cave and Its Implications for Reconstructing Settlement Patterns in the Amud Drainage, Israel. Paleolithic Archaeology 2, 298-337.
  • Greenbaum, G., Friesem, D.E., Hovers, E., Feldman, M.W., Kolodny, O. (2019). Were changes in inter-population connectivity of Neanderthals and Modern Humans the drivers of the Upper Paleolithic transition rather than its product?. Quaternary Science Reviews 217, 316-329.
  • Gur-Arieh, S., Madella, M., Lavi, N., Friesem, D.E. (2019). Potentials and limitations for the identification of outdoor dung plasters in humid tropical environment: A geo-
  • ethnoarchaeological case study from South India. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11, 2683-2698.
  • Lavi, N., Friesem, D.E. (2019). Hunter-gatherer sharing: New perspectives from the past and present. Hunter Gatherer Research 3, 361-366.
  • Shochat, H., Yeshurun, R., Friesem, D.E., Kaufman, D., Porat, N., Rosen, A.M., Nadel, D. (2019). The Neolithic Occupations of Neve David, Mount Carmel, Israel. Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society 49,152-189.
  • Wilson, R.J.A., Coleman, K.M., French, C., Friesem, D., Mukai, T. (2019). UBC Excavations of the Roman Villa at Gerace, Sicily: Results of the 2017 Season. Mouseion 16, 249-342.



  • Friesem, D.E. (2018). Geo-EthnoArchaeology of Fire: Geoarchaeological investigation of fire residues in contemporary context and its archaeological implications. Ethnoarchaeology 10, 159-173.
  • Vardi, J., Marder, O., Bookman, R., Friesem, D.E., Groman-Yeroslavski, I., Edeltin, L., Porat, N., Boaretto, E., Roskin, J. (2018). Middle to Late Epipaleolithic hunter-gatherer encampments at the Ashalim site, on a linear dune-like morphology, along dunefield margin water bodies. Quaternary International 464, 187-205.
  • Shimelmitz, R., Friesem, D.E., Clark, J., Groman-Yaroslavski, I., Weissbrod, L., Porat, N., Kandel, A.W. (2018). The Upper and Epipaleolithic of Sefunim Cave, Israel. Quaternary International 464, 106-125.



  • Haaland, M.M., Friesem, D.E., Miller, C.E., Henshilwood, C.S. (2017). Heat-induced alteration of glauconitic minerals in the Middle Stone Age levels of Blombos Cave, South Africa: Implications for evaluating site structure and burning events. Journal of Archaeological Science 86, 81-100.
  • Friesem, D.E., Lavi, N., Madella, M., Boaretto, E., Ajithprasad, P., French, C. (2017). The formation of fire residues associated with hunter-gatherers in humid tropical environments: A geo-ethnoarchaeological perspective. Quaternary Science Reviews 171, 85-99.
  • Friesem, D.E., Lavi, N. (2017). Foragers, tropical forests and the formation of archaeological evidences: An ethnoarchaeological view from South India. Quaternary International 448, 117-128.
  • Friesem, D.E., Wattez, J., Onfray, M., Earth construction materials. In: Nicosia, C. and Stoops, G. (Eds.), Archaeological 
  • Soil and Sediment Micromorphology. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford. Ch. 10, Pp. 99-110. (2017).
  • Roskin, J., Bookman, R., Friesem, D.E., Vardi, J. (2017). A Late Pleistocene linear dune dam record of aeolian-fluvial dynamics at the fringes of the Northwestern Negev dunefield. Sedimentary Geology 353, 76-95.



  • Friesem, D.E., Lavi, N., Madella, M., Ajithprasad, P., French, C. (2016). Site formation processes and hunter-gatherers use of space in a tropical environment: A geo-ethnoarchaeological approach from South India. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0164185.
  • Friesem, D.E. (2016). Geo-ethnoarchaeology in action. Journal of Archaeological Science 70, 145-157.
  • Zaidner, Y., Frumkin, A., Friesem, D.E., Tsatskin, A., Shahack-Gross, R. (2016). Landscapes, depositional environments and human occupation at Middle  Paleolithic open-air sites in the southern Levant, with new insights from Nesher Ramla, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 138, 76-86.



  • Forget, M.C., Regev, L., Friesem, D.E., Shahack-Gross, R. (2015). Physical and mineralogical properties of experimentally heated chaff-tempered mud bricks: Implications for reconstruction of environmental factors influencing the appearance of mud bricks in archaeological conflagration events. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 2, 80-93.



  • Friesem, D.E., Tsartsidou, G., Karkanas, P., Shahack-Gross, R. (2014). Where are the roofs? A geo-ethnoarchaeological study of mud structures and their collapse processes, focusing on the identification of roofs. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 6, 73-92.
  • Friesem, D.E., Zaidner, Y., Shahack-Gross, R. (2014). Formation processes and combustion features at the lower layers of the Middle Palaeolithic open-air site of Nesher Ramla, Israel. Quaternary International 331, 128-138.
  • Friesem, D.E., Karkanas, P., Tsartsidou, G., Shahack-Gross, R. (2014). Sedimentary processes involved in mud bricks degradation in temperate environment: An ethnoarchaeological case study from northern Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science 41, 556-567.



  • Friesem, D., Boaretto, E., Eliyahu-Behar, A., Shahack-Gross, R. (2011). Degradation of mud brick houses in an arid environment: A geoarchaeological model. Journal of Archaeological Science 38, 1135-47.

Other Professional Activities

  • Head of the Laboratory for Environmental Micro-History, University of Haifa
  • Co-director, Haifa Center for Mediterranean History (HCMH)
  • Associate Editor, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

Job Titles

Affiliated Lecturer in Geoarchaeology
Honorary Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies


Person keywords: 
Environmental Archaeology
Underwater Archaeology
Pre- and Proto-history
Science, Technology and Innovation
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Geographical areas: 
Mesopotamia and the Near East
South Asia
Periods of interest: 
Copper/Bronze Age
Iron Age