Human Origins Leiden

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Sier, Mark J.

Personal Information:

Position: Postdoc researcher Sier, Mark J.
Phone or fax: +31(0)715272636


Mark Sier obtained an MSc degree in Geology at Utrecht University in 1999 with a specialisation in sedimentology, palaeoclimate and environment. Following his degree, whilst working at the ING bank, he spent two summers paleomagnetic sampling the Greek islands and mainland in order to help a friend with his PhD research ( This fieldwork rekindled his interest in science; therefore in 2004 he started studying Archaeology at the University of Leiden. In 2008 he was awarded an MA in Palaeolithic Archaeology and in 2013 defended his PhD thesis: Neandertals in the forest: A palaeomagnetic study of the Eemian interglacial stage deposits from north western and central Europe. Since 2006 he has been collaborating with the paleomagnetic laboratory “Fort Hoofddijk”.


Current Research

Climate Impact on Human Evolution: Age Calibration of Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project

The large ICDP "Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project" is now in full swing. Our involvement is the dating of several kilometres of cores from the most important Hominin-bearing paleolake deposits of the East African Rift System. It will involve mainly magnetostratigraphic dating using paleomagnetism, and exploring the possibility of cyclostratigraphic dating using astrochronological calibration as well as innovative mutiproxy analysis. The use of multiple tools and the transdisciplinary and international aspects of this project will provide a fruitful ground for the development and testing of new proxies and the refinement of chronostratigraphic methods. Good results will attract much international attention as they will constitute the longstanding basis of the most extensive paleoclimate archive in relation to hominin evolution.

PhD Research

His Phd research consisted of paleomagnetic and environmental magnetism studies at several archaeological and/ or palaeontological sites across Europe and Africa. Current research consists of projects carried out in Neumark Nord (Germany), Caours (France), Happisburgh (England), Tegelen (Netherlands),Turkana (Kenia), Dikika and Ledi-Geraru (Ethiopia). These projects are multidisciplinary combining the skills of several research institutions to answer archaeological questions.

He has participated in several excavations including the Pleistocene sites of Dmanisi (Georgia), Atapuerca (Spain) and the Gravettian site of Krub/Kranawetberg (Austria) among others. Also he has extensive experience in teaching and commercial excavation/ prospection of archaeological sites.


  • Sier MJ, Parés JM, Antoine P, Locht JL, Dekkers MJ, Limondin-Lozouet N, Roebroeks W. 2015. Evidence for the Blake Event recorded at the Eemian archaeological site of Caours, France. Quaternary International. 357: 149-157. [More] 
  • Pias-Peleteiro JM, Aldrey JM, Martinon-Torres M, Sier MJ. 2014. El torvisco (Daphne gnidium L.): un timbó ancestral europeo. Revista de Neurología. 7(58). [More] 
  • Bermúdez de Castro JM , Martinón-Torres M, Sier MJ, Martín-Francés L. 2014. On the Variability of the Dmanisi Mandibles. PLoS ONE. 9(2): e88212. [More] 
  • Sier MJ. 2013. Neandertals in the forest: A palaeomagnetic study of the Eemian interglacial stage deposits from north western and central Europe: Leiden. [More] 
  • Sier MJ, Dekkerss MJ. 2013. Magnetic property analysis as palaeoenvironmental proxy: a case study of the Last Interglacial Middle Palaeolithic site at Neumark-Nord 2 (Germany). In: Geochronology, Reconstruction of Neumark-Nord " P, Saxony-Anhalt, Gaudzinski-Windheuser GS, Roebroeks W editors. p 117-130. [More]