From left to right: Lea Frank (MA student), Miriam Feichtinger (student assistant), Maria Ivanova-Bieg (PI), Thomas Loitfelder (MA student), Magdalena Blanz (postdoc), Eve Derenne (postdoc), Emily Kate (postdoc, project coordinator), Günther Grabner (MA student)

Principal Investigator

Ass.-Prof. Dr. Maria Ivanova-Bieg (PhD 2007, University of Tübingen, Germany)

I am archaeologist studying the Neolithic period in Europe and the Mediterranean. The breadth of my research, spanning a range of geographic regions and topics, is motivated by my curiosity to uncover supra-regional, continent-scale patterns in the cultural past. My research projects employ methods of organic residue analysis of pottery, stable isotope analysis (C, N, O) of faunal and botanical remains, compound-specific radiocarbon dating (CSRA), and agent-based modelling (ABM). As Principal Investigator of an ERC project, I liaise with an international team of collaborators of more than 60 researchers from 19 countries, and work closely with dozens of field projects, museums and heritage institutions across Europe and the Mediterranean. 

Research areas: Material Culture, Prehistoric Archaeology, Bioarchaeology


Postdoctoral scientists

Dr. Magdalena Blanz (PhD 2020, University of the Highlands and Islands, UK)

Magdalena joined HEBA as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Fritz-Thyssen project “Farmer without Borders” in November 2020. Trained as an environmental analytical chemist, she is now studying the past using stable isotope ratio and trace element analysis of bioarchaeological remains and present-day analogues. Currently, Magdalena is researching the first introductions of domesticated animals beyond their semi-arid ecological homelands in southwest Asia into new environments in Europe. For her PhD she focussed on the identification and interpretation of seaweed consumption by terrestrial mammals.

Research Areas: Palaeoecology, Palaeodietary Analysis, Stable Isotope Ratios

Dr. Eve Derenne (PhD 2021, University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Eve joined HEBA in March 2022 as postdoctoral researcher in the FWF-funded SEASCAPES project. She is an archaeologist working on the recent Prehistory of Europe. Eve’s research focuses on the emergence, diffusion, and local integration processes of large-scale cultural phenomena such as the Bell Beaker complex. To tackle these issues, her approach encompasses ceramic technology, radiocarbon dating, and Bayesian modelling, applied to both micro- and macroscales. Her other research concerns include: megalithic-erecting societies, the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition, and the relationship between domestic and funerary contexts.

Research Areas: Material Culture, Prehistoric Archaeology, Radiocarbon Dating

Dr. Emily J. Kate (PhD 2021, Penn State University, USA)

Emily joined HEBA in March 2022 as postdoctoral researcher and project coordinator in the ERC project SUSTAIN. She is bioarchaeologist specializing in radiocarbon dating, isotopic studies of paleodiet and migration, human osteology and paleodemography, and has worked with projects from Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and in Europe. Her interests include the manner in which paleodietary variation and changing trends can be used to assess shifts in social structure, political organization, and resilience.

Research Areas: Paleodemography, Isotopic Studies of Paleodiet And Migration, Human Osteology, Radiocarbon Dating

Associated PhD researchers

Brina Zagorc, MA

Brina is PhD student in Ron Pinhasi’s Lab group at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, co-supervised by Maria Ivanova-Bieg. Her PhD research focuses on the bioarchaeology of children, and specifically on sex-specific variations in subadult health status during Antiquity and Early Medieval times. Her work includes aDNA analysis and other bioarchaeological methods to address questions of upbringing, weaning patterns, and overall health of the subadult population in the past.

Research Areas: Human Osteology, Paleopathology, aDNA, Bioarchaeology

MA students

Lea Frank, BA

Lea is MA student at the Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology. She joined HEBA in March 2021 as student assistant in FWF SEASCAPES project and is currently working on an MA project. In her thesis, Lea employs Network Analysis to decorated pottery to explore island connectivity during the Bell Beaker period in the Central and Western Mediterranean.

Research Areas: Material Culture, Prehistoric Archaeology, Social Network Analysis

Thomas Loitfelder, BA

Thomas is MA student at the Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology and joined HEBA in March 2021 to conduct a study within the ERC-funded SUSTAIN project. His thesis deals with the introduction of pig husbandry in Northwest Europe, using analysis of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in bone collagen.

Research Areas: Stable Isotope Ratios, Human-Animal Relations

Günther Grabner, BA

Günther is MA student in at the Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology. In his MA thesis he analyses stable isotope ratios in collagen in animal bones from the Middle Neolithic site Oberschaeffolsheim in Alsace to reconstruct diachronic changes in animal husbandry in the Early and Middle Neolithic of Northwestern France. Günther’s research is part of the ERC-funded SUSTAIN project.

Research Areas: Stable Isotope Ratios, Human-Animal Relations

Student assistants

Miriam Feichtinger, BA, BSc

Miriam is MA student at the Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology. She joined HEBA in March 2022 as student research assistant in the Thyssen-funded project “Farmers without Borders” and is currently responsible for sample documentation and database research.