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Teresa Steele

Teresa Steele

Associate Professor, Chancellor's Fellow

Evolutionary Anthropology -- Wing Chair

204 Young Hall Department of Anthropology
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue

Davis , California 95616
Office Phone: (530) 554-2804

Office Hours for Winter 2017 :

  • Tuesdays 1:10-3:00 pm and by appointment


  1. Ph.D. Anthropology, Stanford University (2002)
  2. A.M. Anthropology (Human Biocultural Evolution), Stanford University (1998)
  3. B.S. summa cum Laude Anthropology & Human Biology, Emory University (1996)


Click for more details about me and about the Paleoanthropology Lab and Zooarchaeology Lab


Research Interests

I am a paleoanthropologist who studies the later phases of human evolution – the emergence of the earliest people who were behaviorally and anatomically modern. In particular, I want to know why these fully modern humans spread out of Africa about 50,000 years ago and were able to replace the Neandertals in Europe. To address these issues, my research focuses on Middle and Late Pleistocene (780,000-10,000 years ago) archaeology – the Middle Paleolithic made by Neandertals in Europe and the Middle Stone Age and Mousterian made by their anatomically near modern contemporaries in Africa. I study the mode and tempo of human behavioral evolution during this time through zooarchaeology – reconstructing human subsistence and ecology through the patterns of variation found in vertebrate and molluscan faunal assemblages. Zooarchaeology offers a unique and critical window into modern human origins, because the migration of and replacement by modern humans involved significant demographic expansions with dietary correlates that should be detectable in the faunal record. Currently, I am leading an excavation in South Africa and am involved with other projects there, in Morocco and in France.



To download specimens from the Virtual Comparative Collection (3-D images of mammal bones) presented by Niven et al. (2009. Journal of Archaeological Science), please see the downloads website of theDepartment of Human Evolution at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

To download the program for analyzing mortality profiles on a triangular graph presented by Weaver, Boyko, and Steele (2011. Journal of Archaeological Science), please see Dr. Tim Weaver's homepage.


Recent Publications (click here for a full list)

Journal Articles

Mackay A, Z Jacobs and TE Steele. 2015. Pleistocene archaeology and chronology of Putslaagte 8 (PL8) rockshelter, Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of African Archaeology 13:71-98.

Steele TE. 2015. The contributions of animal bones from archaeological sites: the past and future of zooarchaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 56:168-176.

Guérin G, M Frouin, S Talamo, V Aldeias, L Bruxelles, L Chiotti, HL Dibble, P Goldberg, J-J Hublin, M Jain, C Lahaye, S Madelaine, B Maureille, SJP McPherron, N Mercier, AS Murray, D Sandgathe, TE Steele, KJ Thomsen and A Turq. 2015. A multi-method luminescence dating of the Palaeolithic sequence of La Ferrassie based on new excavations adjacent to the La Ferrassie 1 and 2 skeletons. Journal of Archaeological Science 58:147-166.

Dibble HL, V Aldeias, P Goldberg, SP McPherron, D Sandgathe and TE Steele. 2015. A critical look at evidence from La Chapelle-aux-Saints supporting an intentional Neandertal burial. Journal of Archaeological Science 53:649-657.

Soressi M, SP McPherron, M Lenoir, T Dogandzic, P Goldberg, Z Jacobs, Y Maigrot, NL Martisius, CE Miller, W Rendu, M Richards, MM Skinner, TE Steele, S Talamo and J-P Texier. 2013. Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110:14186-14190.

Klein RG and TE Steele. 2013. Archaeological shellfish size and later human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110:10910-10915.

Orton J, P Mitchell, RG Klein, TE Steele and KA Horsburg. 2013. Early date for cattle from Namaqualand, South Africa: implications for the origins of herding in southern Africa. Antiquity 87:108-120.

Steele TE and RG Klein. 2013. The Middle and Later Stone Age Faunal Remains from Diepkloof Rock Shelter, Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 40:3453-3462.

Dibble HL, V Aldeias, Z Jacobs, DI Olszewski, Z Rezek, SC Lin, E Alvarez-Fernández, C Barshay-Szmidt, E Hallett-Desguez, D Reed, K Reed, D Richter, TE Steele, A Skinner, B Blackwell, E Doronicheva and M El-Hajraoui. 2013. On the Industrial Attributions of the Aterian and Mousterian of the Maghreb. Journal of Human Evolution 64:194-210.

Dibble HA, V Aldeias, E Alvarez-Fernández, BA Blackwell, E Hallett-Desguez, Z Jacobs, P Goldberg, SC Lin, A Morala, MC Meyer, DI Olzsewski, K Reed, D Reed, Z Rezek, D Richter, RG Roberts, D Sandgathe, U Schurmans, AR Skinner, TE Steele and M El-Hajraoui. 2012. New Excavations at the Site of Contrebandiers Cave, Morocco. PaleoAnthropology 2012:145-201.

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Dept. of Anthropology

328 Young Hall
One Shields Ave.
University of California
Davis, Ca 95616-8522

Ph.  530-752-0745
Fax. 530-752-8885