Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, DE

Keywords: Archaeology, Archaeological Science, Stable Isotope Analysis, Palaeoecology, Tropical Forests, Climate Change


ID_symbol_B-W_128x128 0000-0002-4403-7548

Full profile:

As Group Leader of the Stable Isotope Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Patrick is committed to innovatively applying stable isotope methods to questions of past human climate, environment, diet and mobility. This has led him to publish international peer-reviewed publications in a variety of archaeological research contexts: from reconstructing palaeoenvironmental conditions in East and South Africa, South Asia, and Saudi Arabia associated with Pleistocene human habitation of these regions to dietary complexities in 18th and 19th century historical populations.

Patrick’s main theoretical interest revolves around the importance of tropical forests throughout human history. Once considered ‘pristine’ or ‘unattractive’ to pre-industrial human occupation we now know that they have a long and diverse history of interaction with populations of hunter-gatherers, farmers, and even urban dwellers. He has undertaken fieldwork around the tropical world and published a number of papers focusing on rehabilitating tropical forests as key sites of our global human story. Summarising this work, Patrick recently wrote the book, ‘Tropical Forests in Prehistory, History, and Modernity’ published with Oxford University Press.

Patrick also believes it is important that knowledge from archaeology and past studies of human environments is brought to bear on the present and he has taken part in UNESCO symposia that bring together archaeologists and anthropologists, alongside policy makers and interest groups, to discuss potential solutions for the conservation of ecological and cultural heritage in global tropical forest environments. Patrick currently leads the ERC funded PANTROPOCENE project which seeks to determine when past human activities in tropical forests began to have feedbacks on the earth system, leaving legacies for sustainability and landscape use in the 21st century. He is also a founder of the multidisciplinary PANTROPICA research initiative.

Patrick has given many invited talks at world leading research institutions around the world including the University of Tokyo, the University of Cambridge, and the Australian National University. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia and a National Geographic Explorer. Patrick was also recently made a member of the renowned Global Young Academy which recognises scientific excellence and commitment to service among leading young scientists across six continents. He hopes to bring this commitment to using science to bring about practical ramifications for society to his work as part of the YAE.


Max Planck Institute


Photograph by Hans Sell