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Dr Luc Moreau

Dr Luc Moreau

Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3ER


Upon finishing my PhD, which I received with honours in 2009 from the University of Tübingen (Germany), I was awarded a six months travel grant by the German Archaeological Institute (DAI Berlin) to broaden my archaeological and inter-cultural horizon with various stays in Eastern Europe, the Near & Middle East, and the former Soviet Union (Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine). From 2009 to 2011, in the framework of a first post-doctoral appointment at the top-class European Palaeolithic research institute MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, I organised and co-directed new excavations at the major open air site Breitenbach (Germany), to investigate adaptive strategies and intra-site spatial behaviour of Aurignacian hunter-gatherers in Central Europe. 

From 2012 to 2015, I have been PI on a 3-year project funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG) to explore shifts in mobility and land use strategies in relation with raw material provenance and use, based on various early Upper Palaeolithic (EUP) sites from Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia. Over the years, I developed a wide network of contacts and collaborations with various researchers and institutions from UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Romania, Canada and the US. As a result, in 2014 I became part of the International Organizing Committee of the 11th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS XI) held in Vienna in Sept 2015. At CHAGS XI, I have organised a conference session together with Prof. Robert L. Kelly on ‘Detecting shifts in mobility strategies in prehistoric and contemporary forager societies’.

I have been a Marie Sklodowska Curie-funded research fellow at the University of Cambridge (UK) from Jan 2016 until Dec 2017, and I am currently a Research Associate of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. Since May 2017, I am also a Research Associate of the Unité Mixte de Recherche (UMR) 7041 - Archéologies et Sciences de l´Antiquité, Maison Archéologie et Ethnologie, Paris. This choice has been motivated by the extensive research of UMR 7041 on the EUP of Northwestern Europe. 

In addition to mastering several European languages (with French and German as first languages, and high proficiency in English), I have extensive experience as PI in managing interdisciplinary research projects with a strong international network of collaborators, publications in high- ranked journals, and a strong track record in obtaining external research funds (approx. 437,000 EUR since 2009). In April 2017, I was awarded the D M McDonald annual conference competition award (10,000 £) to organise an international 'flagship' conference titled `Social Inequality before Farming?', which was held in Cambridge in Jan 2018. The conference volume will be published in the brand new series 'McDonald Monographs Conversations' in compliance with an Open Access Gold policy.

I have ample experience teaching students at undergraduate and MPhil level, including lectures, practical sessions and supervisions, at the Universities of Tübingen, Mainz, Ljubljana and Cambridge between 2009 and 2018. I am reviewer for various high-ranked journals and member of the editorial board of Quartär: International Yearbook for Ice Age and Stone Age Research (open access journal). I am familiar with numerous international funding bodies as an applicant and I am currently working on a number of innovative research proposals, including an ERC project proposal to be submitted in 2019.


Research Interests

  • Human Evolution
  • Eurasian Palaeolithic
  • Lithic Technology and Raw Material Use
  • Raw material sourcing
  • Mobility and Land-Use
  • Spatial Analysis and GIS

While the scope of my current research is centred on Central and NW Europe, my acquaintance with Old World Archaeology builds on various study trips in Europe, the Near & Middle East, and the former Soviet Union (Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine). The personal contacts established with different research institutions have led to several EU-wide cooperations and research projects, two of which - the reappraisal of the Slovenian Aurignacian and a pilot study on geochemically sourcing flint artefacts from Belgium and NW Germany - recently resulted in publications in J Human Evolution and Geoarchaeology.

In my present Marie Curie project, I use lithic assemblage variability as a proxy measure of adaptive variability, and apply an evolutionary theoretical approach to interpret those data. Belgium and Romania have been chosen as case study areas. They present rich EUP records of human occupation. Moreover, the loess sequences of Belgium and Romania represent well-understood terrestrial archives of environmental change against which changing subsistence opportunities can be modelled.

The project demonstrates originality and innovation through the integrative use of state-of-the-art stone tool analysis methods in concert with concepts and models from Human Behavioural Ecology (HBE). In addition, the combination of cutting-edge methodologies (non-destructive geochemical sourcing of artefacts and geological samples), and characterisation (through petrographic analysis) of the depositional context of the rocks collected by prehistoric foragers holds strong innovative potential to reconstruct mobility/land-use strategies and has never been attempted before. My main research objectives can be described as follows:

  • Develop a renewed understanding of techno-economic variability in the EUP by taking into account parameters such as raw material provenience, secondary depositional context, and transport costs;
  • Provide a new framework to assess the trade-offs of different EUP technological systems and associated mobility/land-use strategies under variable environments in both case study regions, drawing on currencies derived from HBE;
  • Assess the degree to which the Aurignacian and Gravettian technological systems correspond to different risk-minimising strategies under changing climatic-environmental constraints.


Research Funding

2017: NERC Radiocarbon Facility (Archaeology) award: GBP 3105.- (notional value)

2016: DM McDonald Grants and Awards Fund: GBP 5,000.-

2016-2017: EU H2020 Marie Curie Individual Fellowship: EUR 183,455.-

2012-2015: German Science Foundation (DFG) post-doc Research Grant: EUR 157,200.-

2009-2010: Wenner-Gren Foundation Post-Ph.D. Research Grant: USD 21,000.-


Prizes and Awards

2017: D M McDonald annual conference competition award: GBP 10,000.-

2008: Travel grant awarded by the German Archaeological Institute (EUR 8,500.-)




Part-time lecturer:

2018: University of Cambridge: A2/ARC02 module, BA level practical sessions and lecture

2017: University of Cambridge: ARC10-BAN3 module, BA & MA level practical sessions, lectures and supervisions

2017: University of Ljubljana, Slovenia: BA & MA level lectures

2009-2015: University of Mainz, Germany: BA & MA level seminars and practical sessions

2008: Universities of Tübingen, Germany: BA & MA level seminar 


Other Professional Activities


Research expeditions


2013 Slovenia (Pokrajinski Muzej Celje): 1 month, funded by the German Science Foundation
2012 Austria (Natural History Museum Vienna): 3 months, funded by the German Science Foundation
2012 Belgium (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels): 3 months, funded by the German Science Foundation
2009 - 2011 Breitenbach, Germany: excavation and analysis (PIs: O. Jöris & L. Moreau) - Open air site, Aurignacian: several months, funded by RGZM, Wenner-Gren and Leakey Foundations


The following stays were funded by the travel grant of the German Archaeological Institute and comprised between one and three weeks, between November 2008 and May 2009.

2009        Ukraine (Kiev, Institute of Archaeology, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences; Lvov, Institute of Ukrainian Studies)
2009 Russia (Novosibirsk, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences; Moscow, Institute of Archaeology; Saint Petersburg, Institute of the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences)
2009 Kazakhstan (Universities of Almaty, Astana, and Kokshetau)
2009 Uzbekistan (Uzbek Academy of Sciences, Tashkent)
2009 Iran (D.A.I. Teheran & National Museum Teheran)
2009 Syria (D.A.I. Damascus; National Museum Damascus)
2009 Jordan (D.A.I. Amman; National Museum Amman)
2008 Slovakia (Institute of Archaeology Košice; Institute of Archaeology Nitra)
2008 Hungary (Herman Ottó Museum Miskolc; National Museum Budapest)
2008 Romania (House of the Academy, Bucharest; University of Târgovişte)
2008 Bulgaria (National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Sofia)

Key Publications

Journal articles and book chapters

[1] Moreau, L., Draily, C., Pirson, S., Toussaint, M., Cordy, J.-M., Burlet, C., Borgia, V., Boyle, K., Gjesfjeld, E., Filzmoser, P., de Grooth, M., Vander Linden, M., Beyer, R., Manica, A., Buckley, M.

(submitted). Adaptive strategies in the Early Upper Palaeolithic of North-Western Europe under changing environmental constraints: a multidisciplinary view from Walou Cave and Goyet Rock Shelter. PLOS One.

 [2] Moreau, L., Ciornei, A., Gjesfjeld, E., Filzmoser, P., Gibson, S.A., Day, J., Nigst, P.R., Noiret, P., Macleod, R., Nita, L. Anghelinu, M.

(under review). First geochemical ‘fingerprinting’ of Balkan and Prut flint from Palaeolithic Romania: potentials, limitations and future directions. Archaeometry.

[3] Moreau, L. & Terberger, Th. (in press). Mobility and settlement systems of the late Aurignacian period in Central Europe. Investigations at the newly discovered open-air site Friedrichsdorf-Seulberg (Hesse, Germany), in C. Montoya, L. Mevel, C. Paris, P. Bodu (eds.), Palethnologie du Paléolithique supérieur ancien: où en sommes nous? Paris: Société préhistorique française (Mémoire). 

[4] Moreau, L., Heinz, G., Cramer, A., Brandl, M., Schmitsberger, O., Neugebauer-Maresch, Chr. (2017). Terrain difficulty as a relevant proxy for objectifying mobility patterns and economic behaviour in the Aurignacian of the Middle Danube region: the case of Stratzing-Galgenberg (Austria), in The Exploitation of Raw Materials in Prehistory: Sourcing, Processing and Distribution, eds. T. Pereira, X. Terradas, N. Bicho. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 135-148.

[5] Moreau, L., Brandl, M., Filzmoser, P., Hauzenberger, Chr., Hauzeur, A., Goemaere, E., Jadin, I., Collet, H., Schmitz, R. (2016). Geochemical sourcing of flint artefacts from western Belgium and the German Rhineland: testing hypotheses on Gravettian period mobility and raw material economy. Geoarchaeology (doi 10.1002/gea.21564)

[6] Moreau, L., Brandl, M., Nigst, P.R. (2015). 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 (

[7] Moreau, L., Odar, B., Horvat, A., Higham, T., Turk, P., Pirkmaier, D. (2015). Reassessing the Aurignacian of Slovenia: lithic techno-economic behaviour and direct dating of osseous projectile points. Journal of Human Evolution 78: 158-180.

[8] Brandl, M., Moreau, L., Schmitsberger, O., Neugebauer-Maresch, Chr. (2015). The Southern Moravian Cherts at the Aurignacian site of Stratzing-Galgenberg, Austria. Anthropologie LIII/1-2: 181-202.

[9] Higham, T., Wood, R., Moreau, L., Conard, N.J., Bronk Ramsey, Chr. (2013). Comments on ‘Human-climate interaction during the early Upper Paleolithic: Testing the hypothesis of an adaptive shift between the Proto-Aurignacian and the Early Aurignacian’ by Banks, d’Errico, and Zilhao. Journal of Human Evolution 65: 806-809.

[10] Moreau L. (2012). Breitenbach-Schneidemühle, Germany: A major Aurignacian open air settlement in Central Europe. Eurasian Prehistory 9(1-2): 51-75.

[11] Moreau, L. (2012). Le Gravettien ancien d’Europe centrale revisité: mise au point et perspectives. L’Anthropologie 116: 609-638.

[12] Moreau, L. (2010). Geißenklösterle. The Swabian Gravettian in its European Context. Quartär 57: 79-93 (Open Access:

[13] Jöris, O. & Moreau, L. (2010). Vom Ende des Aurignacien. Zur chronologischen Stellung des Freilandfundplatzes Breitenbach (Burgenlandkreis) im Kontext des frühen und mittleren Jungpaläolithikums in Mitteleuropa. Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 40(1): 1-20.

[14] Moreau, L. (2009). The Settlement System of the Ach Valley during the Early Gravettian – Contribution of a New Lithic Refit between Brillenhöhle and Geißenklösterle (Swabian Jura, Alb-Donau District, Baden-Württemberg). Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 39(1): 1-20.