Phoebe Heddell-Stevens

Doctoral Researcher
Department of Archaeology

Main Focus

Phoebe is a PhD Student in the Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology, Jena. Her research uses multiple stable isotope analysis (δ18O, δ13C and 87Sr/86Sr) of sequentially sampled herbivore tooth enamel to reconstruct the palaeoecology of prey-species exploited by hominin groups during the Late Pleistocene in Germany. Her goal is to use this data to identify the temporal and spatial distribution of prey-species on the landscape, with a focus on reconstructing mobility patterns of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) during this period. 

This information can then be incorporated into interpretations of Middle-Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer subsistence behaviour to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of ecological and environmental conditions on hominin decision making and adaptations.

Curriculum Vitae

Phoebe received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Auckland and a BA (Hons) in Ancient World Studies from the University of Melbourne before earning her MSc in Environmental Archaeology from University College London. For her dissertation, Exploring Optimal Foraging and Niche Construction Theories in the Early Neolithic of Anatolia, Phoebe received the Jonathan Rowe Prize for work in human palaeoecology. 

Phoebe gained further research experience within the Pathways to Ancient Britain project based at the Natural History Museum, London. She undertook excavation, as well as identification and analysis of small vertebrate remains from different Middle Palaeolithic sites in Britain.

Additionally, Phoebe has taken part in a number of research excavations in New Zealand, Australia and Britain, and has worked as a consultant archaeologist in both Australia and the UK.


Heddell-Stevens, P., Jöris, O., Britton, K., Matthies, T., Lucas, M., Scott, E., Le Roux, P., Meller, H. and P. Roberts. 2024. "Multi-isotope reconstructions of Late Pleistocene large-herbivore biogeography and mobility patterns in Central Europe". Communications Biology 7: 568.

Patalano, R., Hamilton, R., Finestone, E., Amano, N., Heddell-Stevens, P., Itambu, M., Petraglia, M. D. and P. Roberts. 2021. "Microhabitat Variability in Human Evolution. Frontiers in Earth Science. Special Issue: Extreme Events in Human Evolution: From the Pliocene to the Anthropocene". 9: 787669.

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