Lisa Maher
Research Expertise and Interest
archaeology, hunter-gatherers, prehistory, geoarchaeology, landscape use, stone tools technology, emergence of social complexity
Research Description

Lisa Maher is a prehistoric archaeologist in the Department of Anthropology who has been working in the eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia for twenty years. She is involved in research all over the globe and directs several excavation projects in Jordan, most recently at a 20,000-year old hunter-gatherer aggregation site that is the largest Palaeolithic site in region and with the countries earliest hut structures and human burials. She has also recently started a project in Cyprus exploring the island’s earliest sea-faring hunter-gatherer groups. Specializing in geoarchaeology, ancient stone tool technologies, and cultural heritage conservation, she is interested in the intersections between past landscapes and people, from our earliest human ancestors to the present.

In the News

March 14, 2019

What ancient poop reveals about the rise and fall of civilizations

The pre-Columbian city of Cahokia was once among the most populous and bustling settlements north of Mexico. But by 1400 A.D., Cahokia’s population had dwindled to virtually nothing. While theories abound about what happened to the indigenous people of Cahokia, AJ White, a Ph.D. student in anthropology at UC Berkeley, has studied ancient poop samples to connect the city’s 13th century population plunge – at least in part – to climate change.

In the News

March 14, 2019

What ancient poop reveals about the rise and fall of civilizations

The pre-Columbian city of Cahokia was once among the most populous and bustling settlements north of Mexico. But by 1400 A.D., Cahokia’s population had dwindled to virtually nothing. While theories abound about what happened to the indigenous people of Cahokia, AJ White, a Ph.D. student in anthropology at UC Berkeley, has studied ancient poop samples to connect the city’s 13th century population plunge – at least in part – to climate change.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
February 17, 2021
Bruce Bower

Middle Eastern hunter-gatherers changed their relationship with the dead nearly 20,000 years ago. Clues to that spiritual shift come from the discovery of an ancient woman's fiery burial in a hut at a seasonal campsite. Burials of people in houses or other structures, as well as cremations, are thought to have originated in Neolithic-period farming villages in and around the Middle East no earlier than about 10,000 years ago. But those treatments of the dead appear to have had roots in long-standing practices of hunter-gatherers, says a team led by archaeologists Lisa Maher of the University of California, Berkeley and Danielle Macdonald of the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma.

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