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Department of Archaeology


I am an Early Career Researcher in Human Evolutionary Studies and Prehistoric Archaeology. I have conducted fieldwork in Palaeolithic sites within Spain, the UK, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania, spending nine years working at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Olduvai Gorge as a member of two ERC-funded projects (ERC Advanced Grant BICAEHFID; ERC Starting Grant ORACEAF). I am a lithic and Africanist specialist with over fourteen years of professional field and laboratory research experience. My main research interests relate to Human Evolution, Palaeoanthropology, lithic technology and Geoarchaeology.


Carmen Martín-Ramos is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (Department of Archaeology) at the University of Cambridge, with a PhD in Palaeolithic Archaeology from University College London. At Cambridge, she currently leads an externally funded investigation into the singularities that characterise laminar production in the Howiesons Poort technologies, a late Middle Stone Age (70,000-60,000 years ago) industry from South Africa. This project involves a detailed first-hand reassessment of Howiesons Poort lithic collections and temporal modelling approaches (R-based) to define the technological and chronological boundaries of this regional industry. This research will allow further and updated inferences in Homo sapiens tool use, their cognitive capacities and the origins of the so-called modern human behaviour.

Carmen is an archaeologist and Africanist specialising in Human Evolution, Palaeoanthropology, lithic technology and Geoarchaeology. She has also conducted fieldwork in Palaeolithic sites within Spain, the UK, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania. Aside from her works in Palaeolithic archaeology, she is also a big advocate for mental health and well-being in Academia and likes to explore how Prehistory and archaeologists are portrayed in comics, board games and other examples of popular culture.


My research focuses on human behavioural evolution through the excavation and analysis of lithic assemblages. I often follow a technological approach to assess changes in hominin behaviour and cognitive skills. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher focusing on Howiesons Poort technology in South Africa and I have a special interest in field excavation techniques, geoarchaeology and landscape use.

Key Publications

Key publications: 


Martín-Ramos, C. (2024). (Re)defining the Howiesons Poort technocomplex. Technological strategies and temporal modelling. Archaeology at Cambridge Annual Report (in review).

Martín-Ramos, C. and Steele, J. (2024). Evolutionary Cognitive Archaeology and Lithic Technology. A historical review. Cambridge Archaeological Journal (submitted).

Key, A. Eren, M., Bebber, M., Buchanan, B., Cortell-Nicolau, A., Martín-Ramos, C. de la Peña, P. Petrie, Proffitt, T. Robb, J., Jarić, I. (2024). Identifying accurate artefact morphological ranges using optimal linear estimation: method validation, case studies, and code. Journal of Archaeological Science, 162, 105921. 

Martín-Ramos, C. (2023). What comes next? Acheulean Large Cutting Tool production at Olduvai Gorge Beds III-IV, Tanzania. Podium abstract for the 13th meeting of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution, Aarhus (Denmark), 20th-24th of September 2023. PaleoAnthropology.

Martín-Ramos (2022). Acheulean technology and hominin cognition. Analysis of Large Cutting Tools from Olduvai Gorge Beds III and IV, Tanzania. Institute of Archaeology, University College London (unpublished PhD thesis)

Martín-Ramos, C. (2021) Handbook of Cognitive Archaeology: Psychology in Prehistory. Edited by Tracy B. Henley, Matt J. Rossano and Edward P. Kardas. Archaeological Review from Cambridge, 35 (2), 175-179.

de la Torre, I., Benito-Calvo, A., Martín-Ramos, C., McHenry, L. J., Mora, R., Njau, J. K., Pante, M. C., et al. (2021). New excavations in the MNK Skull site, and the last appearance of the Oldowan and Homo habilis at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 61, 101255.

Proffitt, T. and Martín-Ramos, C. (2019). Oldowan/Acheulean succession at Olduvai Gorge. eLS John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester.

Pante, M. C., Njau, J. K., Hensley-Marschand, B., Keevil, T. L., Martín Ramos, C., Peters, R. F., & de la Torre, I. (2018). The carnivorous feeding behavior of early Homo at HWK EE, Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution 120, 215-235.

Martín Ramos, C. (2017). Review of Westward on the High-Hilled Plains. The Later Prehistory of the West Midlands. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 27(1), Art. 16, page 1-4.

De la Torre, I., Martín-Ramos, C., & Mora Torcal, R. (2017). Trabajos arqueológicos en el lago Ndutu (Tanzania). Proyectos Arqueológicos en el Exterior, convocatoria de 2014. Informes y Trabajos, 14, 268–275. ISBN: 978-92-0-013495-1, ISSN: 2444-8087.

Martín-Ramos, C. (2016) Review of Sainz-Jiménez, C. (ed.) The Conservation of Subterranean Cultural Heritage. Revista PH. Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico, no. 89, pp. 216-217.

de la Torre, I., Arroyo, A, Proffitt, T., Martín Ramos, C., Theodoropoulou, A. (2015). Archaeological fieldwork techniques in Stone Age sites. Some case studies. In Métodos y técnicas para la recuperación del registro arqueológico: una mirada desde el presente. Roda, X., Mora, R. (eds.). Treballs d’Arqueologia, 20: Barcelona; 21-40. ISSN 2339-6490.

Martín-Ramos, C. (2015) Review of Beltrán Fortes, J. and Rodríguez Gutiérrez, O. (coord). Hispaniae urbes: investigaciones arqueológicas en ciudades históricas. Revista PH. Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico, no. 87, pp. 254-255.


Job Titles

Postdoctoral Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Human Evolution
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Cultural Evolution
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies

Contact Details

cm2233 [a]
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research


Person keywords: 
Lithic technology
Human evolution
African Archaeology
Archaeological Science
Biological Anthropology
Science, Technology and Innovation
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Material Culture
Human Evolutionary Studies
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Other Prehistory