Patrick Roberts

Research Group Leader
Department of Archaeology
+49 3641 686-730

Curriculum Vitae

Patrick Roberts received a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology, an MSc in Archaeological Science, and DPhil in Archaeological Science at the University of Oxford. As Independent W2 Research Group Leader of the isoTROPIC Research Group and Lead Scientist of the Department of Archaeology, Patrick is committed to pioneering and applying multidisciplinary approaches to studying past human interactions with climatic and environmental change as well as the deep roots of the Anthropocene and our species’ influencing of Earth systems. As PI of the ERC-funded PANTROPOCENE project and the isoTROPIC Research Group, Patrick is particularly interested in exploring the degree to which past human land use and landcover change in the tropics led to major shifts in the operation of different Earth systems on local, regional, and global scales, as well as what this means for contemporary conservation and sustainability challenges. He is author of the academic monograph ‘Tropical; Forests in Prehistory, History Modernity’ published by Oxford University Press and the popular book ‘Jungle: How Tropical Forests Shaped the World and Us’ published by Penguin/Viking Random House.

As part of his research, Patrick applies a variety of different methodologies to the study of human and planetary history, including stable isotope analysis, palaeoecology, dendrochronology, remote sensing, and land use and land cover modelling. He set up and oversees the isotope laboratory, dendrochronology unit, and remote sensing facility at the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology. Patrick is also committed to close collaboration with Indigenous and local stakeholder communities and has coordinated repatriation processes and the adaptation of research into policy. He has taken part in UNESCO symposia that bring together archaeologists and anthropologists together to discuss potential solutions for the conservation of ecological and cultural heritage in global tropical forest environments. Patrick is also co-founder of the Pantropica Research Network. In 2021, Patrick was awarded the Heinz Maier Leibniz Prize, the top award for early career investigators in Germany and the first time that it has been awarded to an archaeologist. He is also a National Geographic Explorer.
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