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Department of Archaeology



Professor Stanley Ambrose is a leading archaeological scientist and geochemist, who helped pioneer the use and application of stable isotope analyses in eastern African archaeology with particular focus on the use of isotopic analyses to reconstruct seasonal mobility, diet and past climatic conditions during the late Pleistocene and early to mid-Holocene.

His research encompasses a very wide range of topics from investigation of the origins and spread of early pastoralism in eastern Africa (the focus of his PhD, but which he still contributes to); to research on Modern Human Origins in eastern Africa (as highlighted by his ground breaking research at the site of Enkapune ya Muto, Kenya) and beyond (his publications include several high impact papers on human population history and climate change in the Old World during the Pleistocene); archaeometric analyses of obsidian and ochre aimed at improving geographical sourcing of these materials throughout the East African Rift); the application of isotopic analyses of archaeological and geoarchaeological materials to answer questions about population mobility, seasonality, diet, trade and exchange, and even site detection in semi-arid landscape; to the analysis of palaeosols associated with volcanic eruptions across the Old World (notably the impact of the Toba eruption). He has also conducted research on Miocene fossil sites in east Africa and has worked more widely with palaeontologists around the globe.

Job Titles

Honorary Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Palaeoecology
Human Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
Human Evolution
Biomolecular Archaeology

Contact Details

ambrose [at]


Science, Technology and Innovation
Human Evolutionary Studies
Geographical areas: