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Department of Archaeology

  • B.A., Anthropology major, Indigenous Studies minor, June 2007, University of British Columbia Okanagan                            
  • M.A., Archaeology, December 2010, University of Calgary                           
  • Ph.D., Anthropology, August 2015, University of Texas at Austin

Previous Positions:

  • Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto (2015-2017)
  • Marie Curie Fellow (MSCA-EF), University of Cambridge (2017-2020)



    As an environmental archaeologist, with an expertise in microbotanical methods, phytolith, starch analysis and microcharcoal, I am interested in how people used plants in the past. More broadly I study how people used, modified and ultimately constructed their environments and how this feedback impacts human experience and plant-use.

    During my PhD I conducted phytolith analysis at several key Epipaleolithic (ca. 23-14.7 cal. BP) sites in the Levant (Israel and Jordan) to investigate hunter-gatherer plant-use throughout the climate fluctuations of the late Pleistocene. 

    This research led me to consider the critical role of reliable resources, particularly wetland resources, to hunter-gatherer life-ways, a topic I contined to investigate during a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) post-doc (University of Toronto), and a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (University of Cambridge). 

    Building on this, my current project – Anthropogenic Wetlands and the Long Transition to Agriculture in the Levant (funded by the Leverhulme Trust under a Early Career Fellowship) – employs a combination of microbotanical approaches, (phytolith, starch and microcharcoal analyses) and geoarchaeology, in particular micromorphology, to investigate how increasingly anthropogenic wetland landscapes and the reliable resources therein may have influenced the evolution of plant-food production and the origins of agriculture through the Final Pleistocene into the Early Holocene (ca. 23-8 ka cal. BP) in the Levant.


    • Environmental Archaeology
    • Paleoethnobotany
    • Microbotanical Analysis (phytoliths, starch and microcharcoal)
    • Residue Analysis
    • Geoarchaeology and Micromorphology
    • Human Niche Construction
    • Human-Environment Interactions
    • Hunter-Gatherers
    • Origins of Agriculture



    Key publications: 

    Arranz-Otaegui, A., L. Gonzalez Carretero, M.N. Ramsey, D.Q. Fuller and T. Richter
    2018    Archaeobotanical evidence reveals the origins of bread 14,400 years ago in northeastern Jordan, PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1801071115

    Ramsey, M.N., A.M. Rosen, L. Maher, D. MacDonald and D. Nadel

    2018      Sheltered by the Reeds: Construction and use of a twenty thousand year old hut according to phytolith analysis from Kharaneh IV, Jordan. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 50:85-97. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2018.03.003


    Ramsey, M.N., A.M. Rosen and D. Nadel

    2017      Centered on the Wetlands: Integrating new phytolith evidence of plant-use from the 23,000-year-old site of Ohalo II, Israel. American Antiquity, 82(4):702-722. DOI: 10.1017/aaq.2017.37


    Ramsey, M.N., A.M. Rosen, L. Maher and D. MacDonald

    2016      Risk, Reliability and Resilience: Phytolith evidence for alternative ‘Neolithization’ pathways at Kharaneh IV in the Azraq Basin, Jordan. PLOS ONE, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164081


    Ramsey, M.N. and A.M. Rosen

    2016      Wedded to Wetlands: Exploring Late Pleistocene Plant-Use in the Eastern Levant. Quaternary International, 396:5-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.10.109


    Ramsey, M.N., M. Jones, T. Richter and A.M. Rosen

    2015      Modifying the Marsh: A Preliminary Evaluation of Early Epipaleolithic Hunter-Gatherer Impacts in the Azraq Wetland. The Holocene, 25:1553-1564. DOI: 10.1177/0959683615594240

    Other publications: 

    Laparidou, S., M.N. Ramsey and A.M. Rosen

    2015      Introduction to the Special Issue: ‘The Anthropocene in the Longue Durée’. The Holocene, DOI: 10.1177/0959683615594472

    Crumley, C., S. Laparidou, M.N. Ramsey and A.M. Rosen

    2015 A view from the past and the future: concluding remarks on ‘The Anthropocene in the Longue Durée’. The Holocene, DOI: 10.1177/0959683615594473

    Other Professional Activities

    Job Titles

    Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, McDonald Institue for Archaeological Research

    General Info

    Not available for consultancy
    Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
    Human Palaeoecology
    Built Environment
    Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies

    Contact Details

    Downing Street
    CB2 3ER


    Archaeological Science
    Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
    Geographical areas: 
    Mesopotamia and the Near East
    Periods of interest: