skip to content

Department of Archaeology

 

Biography

In 2011 I received my doctorate entitled: On the Gravettian technology unit in the Iberian Peninsula: implications for understanding the Early Upper Paleolithic (PhD award from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2011). I have been based at the University of the Witwatersrand since July 2012 as a Posdoctoral Researcher at the Evolutionary Studies Institute; and since January 2018 as Researcher, conducting research on Middle Stone Age lithic technology and field work. I have extensive experience in field work related to the Quaternary period, on both prospections surveys as well as excavations in Spain and South Africa. I have directed and published the excavation of El Palomar (Early Upper Paleolithic), Mwulu’s Cave (Middle Stone Age site) and, the last two years I have directed prospection surveys in the North of Eastern Cape (South Africa). I collaborate as fieldwork researcher and lithic technology specialist in Gargas, Steekbonfontein, Olieboomspoort and Border Cave.

Research

I am motivated by a desire to learn more about human cultural behaviour during the Pleistocene and by a passion for field work. Particularly I believe that a good archaeological understanding comes from three different branches: exhaustive field work considering stratigraphy and questioning methodologies, archaeological analyses of material culture based on robust experimental programmes, and a strong theoretical background. The principal line of evidence that I have followed to understand cultural behaviour is stone tool analyses, with a strong experimental component. I have mainly work in Pleistocene Archaeology of Iberian Peninsula (Early Upper Paleolithic contexts) and Southern Africa (Middle Stone Age contexts).

Publications

Key publications: 

de la Peña, P., Witelson, D.M. (2020) ‘Project Piedemonte’: between the Maloti-Drakensberg and the Great Escarpment in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Antiquity: 1-9 https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2020.101

Wadley, L., Esteban, I., de la Peña, P., Wojcieszak, M., Stratford, D., Lennox, S., d’Errico, F., Rosso, D.E., Orange, F., Backwell, L. and Sievers, C. (2020). Fire and grass-bedding construction 200 thousand years ago at Border Cave, South Africa. Science, 369(6505): 863-866.

de la Peña, P (2020). Howiesons Poort. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Ed. Shadreck Chirikure. Contribution by invitation and peer review.

Feathers, J.K., Evans, M., Stratford, D.J. and de la Peña, P. (2020). Exploring complexity in luminescence dating of quartz and feldspars at the Middle Stone Age site of Mwulu's cave (Limpopo, South Africa). Quaternary Geochronology (59), p.101092.

Nami HG, Vasquez CA, Wadley L, de la Peña P. (2020). Detailed palaeomagnetic record at Rose Cottage Cave, South Africa: Implications for the Holocene geomagnetic field behaviour and chronostratigraphy. South African Journal of Science. 2020;116(1/2), Art. #6550, 9 pages. https://doi. org/10.17159/sajs.2020/6550

de la Peña, P. (2019). Dating on its own cannot resolve hominin occupation patterns. Nature Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0886-2.

Delmas, A.; de la Peña, P. (2019).  Introduction: Towards a History of Archaeology from South Africa. Goodwin Series (Vol.12) South African Archaeological Bulletin: 1-12. 

de la Peña, P.; Val, A.; Stratford, D.; Esteban, I.; Fitchett, J.; Matembo, J.; Moll, R.; Hodsgkiss, T.; Colino, F. (2019).  Revisiting Mwulu’s Cave: New insigths into the Middle Stone Age in the southern African savanna biome. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-018-0749-9*

de la Peña, P., Witelson, D. (2018). Trampling vs. Retouch in a lithic assemblage: A case study from a Middle Stone Age site, Steenbokfontein 9KR (Limpopo, South Africa). Journal of Field Archaeology, 43:7, 522-537, DOI: 10.1080/00934690.2018.1524219.*

de la Peña, P., Taipale, N.; Wadley, L., Rots, V. (2018). A techno-functional perspective on quartz micro-notches in Sibudu’s Howiesons Poort reveals the use of barbs in hunting technology. Journal of Archaeological Science, 93:166-195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2018.03.001*

Porraz, G, Val, A., Tribolo, C.,  Mercier, N. de la Peña, P. , Haaland, M. , Igreja, M., Miller, C.,  Schmid, V.C.(2018). ‘28’ at Bushman Rock Shelter (Limpopo, South Africa) and the chronology and technology of the MIS5 Pietersburg. PLoS ONE 13(10): e0202853. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202853*

Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F., Banks, W.E., de la Peña, P., Sievers, C., Stratford, D., Lennox, S.J., Wojcieszak, M., Bordy, E.M., Bradfield, J., Wadley, L. (2018). New Excavations at Border Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Journal of Field Archaeology, 43:6, 417-436, DOI: 10.1080/00934690.2018.1504544*

Pargeter, J., de la Peña, P., Eren, M. (2018). Assessing raw material’s role in bipolar and freehand miniaturized flake shape, technological structure, and fragmentation rates. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences,: 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-018-0647-1*

de la Peña, P., Wadley, L. (2017). Technological variability at Sibudu Cave: The end of Howiesons Poort and reduced mobility strategies after 62,000 years ago. PloS one. 2017 Oct 5;12(10):e0185845. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185845.*

Pargeter, J., de la Peña, P. (2017). Milky Quartz Bipolar Reduction and Lithic Miniaturization: Experimental Results and Archaeological Implications. Journal of Field Archaeology.  2; 42(6). 551-65. DOI: 10.1080/00934690.2017.1391649.*

Wadley, L., de la Peña, P. and Prinsloo, L.C., (2017). Responses of South African Agate and Chalcedony When Heated Experimentally, and the Broader Implications for Heated Archaeological Minerals. Journal of Field Archaeology, 42(4), 364-377. https://doi.org/10.1080/00934690.2017.1337438*

Backwell, L., Stininger, C., Neveling, J., Abdala, F., Pereira, L., Mayer, E,. Rossouw, L., de la Peña, P., Brink, J. (2017).  Holocene large mammal mass death assemblage from South Africa. Quaternary International. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.11.055

Nami, H.G., de la Peña, P., Vásquez, C.A., Feathers, J. and Wurz, S., (2016). Palaeomagnetic results and new dates of sedimentary deposits from Klasies River Cave 1, South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 112(11-12), pp.1-12.*

Foucher, P., San Juan-Foucher, C., Vercoutere, C., Ferrier, C., Seronie-Vivien, M.R. de la Peña, P, (2016). Raw material procurement and use at Gargas Cave (Hautes-Pyrénées, France): a Pyrenean-foothill economy during the Gravettian period. Munibe Antropologia-Arkeologia, 67, pp.253-268.

Val, A., de la Peña, P. and Wadley, L., 2016. Direct evidence for human exploitation of birds in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa: The example of Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. Journal of human evolution, 99: 107-123.

Wadley, L., Witelson, D., Bolhar, R., Bamford, M., Sievers, C., Val, A., de la Peña, P 2016. Steenbokfontein 9KR: A Middle Stone Age spring site in Limpopo, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin, 71(204).

de la Peña, P. (2015). The Interpretation of Bipolar Knapping in African Stone Age Studies. Current Anthropology, 56 (6):911-923.

de la Peña, P. (2015). Refining Our Understanding of Howiesons Poort Lithic Technology: The Evidence from Grey Rocky Layer in Sibudu Cave (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). PLoS ONE 10(12):e0143451. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143451.*

de la Peña, P. (2015) A qualitative guide to recognize bipolar knapping for flint and quartz. Lithic Technology, 40 (4): 1-16.*

Porraz, G., Val, A., Dayet, L., de la Peña, P., Douze, K., Miller, C.E., Murungi, M., Tribolo, C., Schmidt, V., Sievers, C. (2015). Bushman Rock Shelter (Limpopo, South Africa): a perspective from the edge of the highveld. South African Archaeological Bulletin, 70 (202): 166-179.*

Bradtmöller, M.; Arrizabalaga, A.; Calvo, A., Iriarte-Chiapusso, MJ, de la Peña, P. (2015). From Upper Perigordian to the current Non-hierarchical Gravettian in the Cantabrian Region (Northern Spain): Recent changes, current challenges. In: Sazelova, Sandra, Martin Novak and Alena Mizerova (eds.). Forgotten times and spaces: New perspectives in Paleoanthropological, paleoetnological and archeological studies. 1st Edition. Brno: Institute of Archeology of the Czech Academyof Sciences; Masaryk University. Pp: 245-257.

de la Peña, P. , Wadley, L. (2014) Quartz Knapping Strategies in the Howiesons Poort at Sibudu (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). PLoS ONE 9(7): e101534.*
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101534.

de la Peña, P. , Wadley, L. (2014) New knapping methods in the Howiesons Poort at Sibudu (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). Quaternary International, 350: 26-42 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.03.043.*

de la Peña, P.(2014). The lithic technology of the Abadsan and AougniN’Ourigh rock shelters (Oukaïmeden Valley, High Atlas, Morocco). Complutum.25 (2):79-92.

de la Peña, P., Wadley, L., Lombard, M. (2013). Quartz bifacial points in the Howiesons Poort of Sibudu. South African Archaeological Bulletin 68 (198):119–136.

de la Peña, P.. (2013). The beginning of the Upper Paleolithic in the Baetic Mountain area (Spain). Quaternary International 318:68-89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2013.08.008. 

de la Peña, P.; Vega Toscano, L. G. (2013). The Early Upper Palaeolithic Puzzle in Mediterranean Iberia. Quartär 60: 85-106.

de la Peña, P. (2013). The transition in southern Iberia: Insights from paleoclimatology and the Early Upper Palaeolithic. Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.110 (23) E2086; published ahead of print April 30, 2013. doi:10.1073/pnas.1303596110. 

de la Peña, P., Vega Toscano, L. G. (2013). Bipolar Knapping in Gravettian ocupations of El Palomar rock shelter (Yeste, South Eastern Spain). Journal of Anthropological Research. 69: 33-64. 

de la Peña, P. (2013). Estudio estratigráfico y tecno-tipológico de los niveles basales de la Cueva de Les Mallaetes (Barx, Valencia): nuevas claves para el Paleolítico Superior inicial mediterráneo. Zephyrus, LXXI: 61-88. 

de la Peña, P., L. G. Vega Toscano (2012). Flaking technology strategies in Early Upper Palaeolithic levels from the Southeastern Iberian Peninsula. Pastoors, A., Peresani, M. (eds.), Flakes not Blades: The Role of Flake Production at the Onset of the Upper Palaeolithic in Europe. WissSchriften des Neanderthal Museums 5, Mettmann, pp. 51-68.

de la Peña, P. (2012). A propósito del Gravetiense. El paso de cultura a tecnocomplejo: un caso ejemplar de la pervivencia particularista. Complutum 23(1): 41-62. 

de la Peña, P.  (2011) Sobre la identificación macroscópica de las piezas astilladas: propuesta experimental, Trabajos de Prehistoria, 68:(1): 79-98. 

de la Peña, P. (2009) Revisión crítica de los conjuntos líticos gravetienses y de su contexto arqueológico en la Península Ibérica, Complutum, Vol. 20 (1):21-53. 

EDITION OF MONOGRAPHIES AND BOOKS

Delmas, A.; de la Peña, P. (2019).  Towards a History of Archaeology from South Africa. Goodwin Series (Vol.12) South African Archaeological Bulletin. 
Actas de las I Jornadas de Jóvenes en Investigación Arqueológica (Ed. JIA), Madrid, CERSA.
Actas  II Jornadas de Jóvenes en Investigación Arqueológica (Ed. ORJIA), Madrid, Instituto de Patrimonio Histórico.

Other publications: 

e la Peña, P., 2020. Recherches archéologiques à Baia Farta (Benguela-Angola)/Pesquisas arqueológicas na Baia Farta (Benguela-Angola) edited by Manuel Gutierrez and Maria Helena Benjamin. Nanterre, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2019,€ 39 (softback), 203pp., ISBN 978-2-343-17441-9.

Porraz, G.; Val, A.; Dayet, L.; Douze, M.; Igreja, M.; Kloos, P.; Mentzer, S.; Mercier, N.; Miller, C.; de la Peña, P. & Tribolo, C. (2015) Project Bushman (Limpopo, République d’Afrique du Sud) Rapport sur les travaux effectués du 16 octobre 2014 au 15 octobre 2015. 

Porraz, G.; Val, A.; Dayet, L.; Douze, M.; Igreja, M.; Kloos, P.; Mentzer, S.; Mercier, N.; Miller, C.; de la Peña, P.; Tribolo, C. (2014) Project Bushman (Limpopo, République d’Afrique du Sud) Rapport sur les travaux effectués  du 16 octobre 2013 au 15 octobre 2014. 

Arrizabalaga, A.; de la Peña, P.  (2013). El registro de la industria lítica como base para una organización del Gravetiense cantábrico. Monografía del Coloquio Internacional  El Gravetiense Cantábrico. Estado de la Cuestión. Museo de Altamira. Pp. 347-368.

Altuna, J.; Mariezkurrena, K.; de la Peña, P., Rios, J. (2013). Los niveles gravetienses de la cueva de Aitzbitarte III (Gipuzkoa). Industrias y faunas asociadas. Monografía del Coloquio Internacional  El Gravetiense Cantábrico. Estado de la Cuestión. Museo de Altamira. Pp. 184-204.

Rios Garaizar, J.; de la Peña, P.; Maíllo Fernández, J. M. (2013). La transición Auriñaciense Evolucionado al Gravetiense Antiguo en la Cornisa cantábrica. Una perspectiva tecno-tipológica. Monografía del Coloquio Internacional  El Gravetiense Cantábrico. Estado de la Cuestión. Museo de Altamira. Pp. 369-382.

Rios, J.; de la Peña, P.; San Emeterio, A. (2011).  Las industrias líticas y óseas de la Cueva de Aitzbirate III (sector entrada)”. En: Altuna, J. ; Mariezkurrena, K.. y Rios, J. eds. La Cueva de Aitzbitarte III (Rentería, Guipúzcoa), Sector Entrada. EKAB. San Sebastián, pp. 79-345.

de la Peña, P.  (2011). La creación del concepto de cultura gravetiense, en Actas  II Jornadas de Jóvenes en Investigación Arqueológica (Ed. ORJIA), Madrid, Instituto de Patrimonio Histórico.

Vega, L. G.; Sevilla, P.; Colino, F.; de la Peña, P.; Rodríguez, R.; Gutiérrez, F., Bárez, S. (2011). Nuevas investigaciones sobre los yacimientos paleolíticos de la Sierra Norte de la Comunidad de Madrid. En: Actas de las quintas jornadas de patrimonio arqueológico de la Comunidad de Madrid. Museo Arqueológico Regional. Madrid, pp. 115-132.           

de la Peña, P.  (2008). El Paleolítico Superior inicial en la zona mediterránea de la Península Ibérica: evidencias, interpretaciones y

reflexiones, en Actas de las I Jornadas de Jóvenes en Investigación Arqueológica (Ed. JIA), Madrid, CERSA.

de la Peña, P.  (2008). La “piedra tallada” como instrumento para la Prehistoria: historiografía, aportaciones y problemas actuales en Arqueoweb (http://www.ucm.es/info/arqueoweb/numero9_2/conjunto9_2.htm) 9 (2), Febrero de 2008.

Colino, F., de la Peña, P.  (2005) El cansancio en los Museos en  Arqueoweb (http://www.ucm.es/info/arqueoweb/) 7(1) May 2005.

Crespo, A. B.; de la Peña, P.  (2005). Neandertales en  Arqueoweb (http://www.ucm.es/info/arqueoweb/) 7(1) May 2005.

Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching: 

Subjects: Prehistory, European Paleolithic, African Stone Age Archaeology, Lithic Technology, Quaternary, Human Evolution, Cultural Evolution, Archaeology-Field Methods

July 2020. Honours: Palaeontology Course in Hominin Evolution and Osteology.
August 2019. Honours: Palaeontology Course in Hominin Evolution and Osteology.
August 2019. Evolution course in APES School (Second year course). University of the Witwatersrand. 
April 2019. Third year course on Lithic technology, in collaboration with Prof. Karim Sadr. Department of Archaeology. University of the Witwatersrand.
May 2018. Third year course on Lithic technology, in collaboration with Prof. Karim Sadr. Department of Archaeology. University of the Witwatersrand.
May 2017. Third year course on Lithic technology, in collaboration with Prof. Karim Sadr. Department of Archaeology. University of the Witwatersrand.
July-August 2016. Third year course on Lithic technology, in collaboration with Prof. Karim Sadr. Department of Archaeology. University of the Witwatersrand. 
October 2014: Honors Course in Stone Age Archaeology. University of the Witwatersrand (one seminar and two practicals). 

2006-2011:  Lectures in History degree and in Prehistory Master at Universidad Complutense de Madrid within FPU program in the following subjects:

• Métodos y técnicas en Prehistoria- Methods and Techniques in Prehistory (Degree of History, 4th year).

• Paleolítico y Mesolítico- Paleolithic and Mesolithic (Degree of History, 4th year).

• Prehistoria general- Prehistory (Degree of History, 1st year).

• Tratamiento de materiales arqueológicos-Archaeological material (Archaeology Masters).

Research supervision: 

Co-supervision of Master student Mrs. Dineo Masia on raw material procurement analyses of Olieboomspoort and Mwulu’s Cave. Evolutionary Studies Institute. University of the Witwatersrand. 2020

Co-supervision of honours student Mrs. Dakalo Portia Maphanda on the site formation processes of Olieboomspoort. Evolutionary Studies Institute. University of the Witwatersrand. 2020

Co-supervision of honours student Mrs. Resego Resego Mokgobinyane on a project looking to Middle Stone Age points of Rose Cottage. Evolutionary Studies Institute. University of the Witwatersrand. 2020

Co-supervision of honors student Mrs. Roné Oberholzer (co-supersion with Prof. Sarah Wurz). Evolutionary Studies Institute & Department of Archaeology. University of the Witwatersrand. 2019

Co-supervision of honors student Mrs. Dineo Masia (co-supersion with Dr. Zubair Jinnah) Evolutionary Studies Institute & School of GeoSciences. University of the Witwatersrand.2019

Co-supervision of Master student Mr. Devin Murray (co-supersion with Dr. D. Stratford) on the project: An economic and behavioural study of Oakhurst end-scrapers at Bushman Rock Shelter (Limpopo South Africa): insights from use-wear analysis. Department of Archaeology. University of the Witwatersrand. 2017

Other Professional Activities

Member of the Editorial Committee of South African Archaeological Bulletin.
Co-guest editor in Quaternary Science Reviews for the volume: ‘Early Homo sapiens behaviour and Ecology at Border Cave (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)’.
Vice-President of the Society of Spanish Researchers in South Africa (ACE-Asociación de científicos españoles en Sudáfrica).
Director of the Research-Archaeology branch of Guias de Espeleología y montaña

 

Job Titles

Senior Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Paleoanthropology
Material Culture
Human Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
Human Evolution
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Archaeological Theory
Computational and Quantitative Archaeology
Cultural Evolution
Field Methods
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies

Contact Details

Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand. N1 Yale Road (PaleoSciences building), 2003, Braamfontein
Johannesburg
+27-761952762

Affiliations

Subjects: 
Archaeology
Themes: 
Material Culture
Human Evolutionary Studies
Geographical areas: 
Africa
Mediterranean
Periods of interest: 
Palaeolithic/Mesolithic