Team Members

Universität zu Köln (UC)

  • Max Engel (PI) is experienced in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and geoarchaeology using coastal and terrestrial geoarchives. In coastal environments, he has worked on the identification of deposits of extreme-wave events, such as tsunamis or tropical cyclones. In December 2017, he joined the Geological Survey of Belgium at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels.
  • Helmut Brückner holds the chair of ‘Geoarchaeology, Coastal geomorphology and Geochronology’ at the Institute of Geography and contributes broad skills in physical dating methods, Holocene landscape changes and the role of anthropogenic impact on sedimentary systems.
  • Anna Pint is an expert in Ostracoda- and Foraminifera-based palaeoecology and is familiar with assemblages in arid, athalassic settings. Anna aims at developing transfer functions in order to quantify ecological parameters from ostracod shell morphology and chemistry.
  • Nicole Klasen has previously dated sands from Tayma and has a strong expertise in the application of luminescence dating in arid settings.

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (GFZ)

  • Birgit Plessen (PI) is head of the stable isotope and elemental analysis laboratory of the Section 5.2 ‘Climate dynamics and landscape evolution’. She has broad knowledge in geology and geochemistry and is a specialist for high-sensitive and high-resolution stable isotope measurements in lake sediments and for sedimentary inorganic geochemistry.
  • Achim Brauer, head of Section 5.2 at GFZ, has extensive experience in Quaternary geology, especially in microfacies analysis and varve chronology in lake sediments with the focus on abrupt climate changes and human-climate interactions.
  • Ina Neugebauer uses micro-facies analyses of varved lake sediments by applying combined thin section and µXRF analyses. Her focus is on climate reconstruction from western-central European lakes and especially from the hypersaline Dead Sea. Ina currently holds a position as Research Associate at the Section of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Nadine Dräger is interested in lake sediment archives, varve chronology, macrofacies analysis and geochemistry. In the framework of CLEAR, she extracts and analyses n-alkane chains and faecal biomarkers in cooperation with Gerd Gleixner (MPI) to derive information on regional palaeoenvironmental change and the onset of human impact at the oasis.

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (FSU)

  • Peter Frenzel (PI) uses Ostracoda and Foraminifera for palaeoenvironmental analysis, often with a geoarchaeological background. By experimental cultivation of Cyprideis torosa, the dominating ostracod species at Tayma, he established quantitative correlations between morphological changes and ecological conditions.

Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Science Department (DAI)

  • Michèle Dinies is a palynologist at the Archaeobotany Section and already successfully investigated sediment samples from the Tayma palaeo-lake and is well acquainted with regional pollen types.
  • Reinder Neef is head of the Archaeobotany Section and has extensive experience in the determination and interpretation of various types of plant remains in archaeological contexts, in particular in the Middle East. Michèle’s and Reinder’s activities in the CLEAR project are based on a predecessor project on Holocene landscape history at Tayma, funded by Fritz Thyssen Stiftung.

Freie Universität Berlin (FUB)

  • Philipp Hoelzmann is head of the Physical Geography Laboratory. His particular interest lies in the analysis of Holocene lacustrine carbonates, especially from Africa, which are used for reconstructing lake levels and palaeoclimates, as well as archaeological research. His work also includes data-model comparisons of land-surface changes in the Holocene of North Africa.

Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry Jena (MPI)

  • Gerd Gleixner uses compound specific isotope ratios (13C, 14C, 15N, 2H) of phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFA), alkanes and pyrolysis products to explore element cycling and energy flow in terrestrial ecosystems. His group developed new techniques to expand the analytical window for isotope measurements and explores the use of compound specific D values of biomarkers for palaeoclimate reconstruction. Using transect studies in Europe, Africa and Tibet, he contributed to prove that climate variability is recorded in the δD values of biomarkers.

Technische Universität Braunschweig (TUB)

  • Anja Schwarz is a specialist for bioindication using diatoms and contributes 15 years of experience. Her focus is on human and climatic influence on lakes in northern Germany, Central Asia and Tibet.

A close collaboration at Tayma, dating back to 2006, exists with the excavators, Arnulf Hausleiter and Ricardo Eichmann (German Archaeological Institute, Orient Department). The fruitful exchange of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data and their logistic and administrative support throughout the years was key to realise this project and is gratefully acknowledged.


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