My main project centers on the rich fossil fauna from the Homo erectus (“Pithecanthropus”) type locality Trinil on Java (Indonesia). This unique collection, excavated by my scientific hero Eugène Dubois (1858-1940) and housed at Naturalis in Leiden, is a treasure trove that may hold many important clues to the niche, behaviour and cognition of hominins on Java.
Following our 2015 publication in Nature (on an engraved fossil shell from the Dubois Collection) we were invited by the National Research Center for Archaeology (ARKENAS, Jakarta) to collaborate in a new excavation of this classical site. In August 2016, together we successfully conducted a pilot fieldwork in Trinil that provided a key fundament for further studies. In May 2017, I was awarded a prestigious NWO Vidi grant to continue our research in Trinil for 5 years. The Vidi project has started in January 2018 and is titled: Studying Homo erectus Lifestyle and Location (SHeLL): an integrated geo-archaeological research of the hominin site Trinil on Java.