Eduard Pop

Eduard Pop

As a Palaeolithic Archaeologist I am studying the behaviour of early hominins like Homo erectus and Neanderthals. Apart from their fossils, the sedimentary record contains the material remains of their behaviour, like the tools to carry out tasks, the remains of the food that they ate, and in some cases the material reflection of social and symbolic behaviour. Although I am specialized in stone tool technology, I study the archaeological record from a contextual perspective: considering the relationships between finds and the geological context in which they are found.


Palaeolithic Archaeology, Palaeoanthropology, Human evolution, Geoarchaeology, Lithic technology, Digital archaeology, Taphonomy,


Hominin evolution and behaviour in Pleistocene Southeast Asia

In the early 1890s Eugène Dubois found the first fossils of Homo erectus at the site of Trinil in East Java, Indonesia. In 2018/2019, we carried out new excavations at this ‘flagship’ site of palaeoanthropology, solving some longstanding issues that affected the understanding of this site ever since Dubois’ first finds (the SHeLL project). Interestingly, neither Trinil, nor the many other Homo erectus sites on Java have yielded convincing stone tools—contrary to African and continental Eurasian sites. Our preliminary field observations from Middle Pleistocene lake deposits in Central Java suggest that we may have searched in the wrong places. In the BASINS project, we are going to follow up on our first findings by carrying out systematic excavations and surveys.

Trinil and the Lawu volcano
Trinil fieldwork


A selection of the topics I am working on currently.

Research in Trinil

Homo erectus fossils in Trinil

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…
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  • Roebroeks, W., MacDonald, K., Scherjon, F., Bakels, C., Kindler, L., Nikulina, A., Pop, E., & Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S. (2021). Landscape modification by Last Interglacial Neanderthals. Science Advances7(51), eabj5567.
  • Berghuis, H. W. K., Veldkamp, A., Adhityatama, S., Hilgen, S. L., Sutisna, I., Barianto, D. H., Pop, E. A. L., Reimann, T., Yurnaldi, D., Ekowati, D. R., Vonhof, H. B., van Kolfschoten, T., Simanjuntak, T., Schoorl, J. M., & Joordens, J. C. A. (2021). Hominin homelands of East Java: Revised stratigraphy and landscape reconstructions for Plio-Pleistocene Trinil. Quaternary Science Reviews260, 106912.
  • Pop, E., Reidsma, F. H., Reimann, T., Sier, M. J., Arps, C. E. S., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., & Roebroeks, W. (2021). Identifying Heated Rocks Through Feldspar Luminescence Analysis (pIRIR290) and a Critical Evaluation of Macroscopic Assessment. Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology4(2), 13.
  • Kindler, L., Smith, G., Garcia-Moreno, A., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., Pop, E., & Roebroeks, W. (2020). The Last Interglacial (Eemian) lakeland of Neumark-Nord (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany): Sequencing Neanderthal occupations, assessing subsistence opportunities and prey selection based on estimations of ungulate carrying capacity, biomass production and energy values. In A. Garcia-Moreno, J. Hutson, G. Smith, L. Kindler, E. Turner, A. Villaluenga, & S. Gaudzinski-Windheuser (Eds.), Human behavioural adaptations to interglacial lakeshore environments. (pp. 67–104). Propyleum.
  • Milano, S., Pop, E., Kuijper, W., Roebroeks, W., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., Penkman, K., Kindler, L., & Britton, K. (2020). Environmental conditions at the Last Interglacial (Eemian) site Neumark-Nord 2, Germany inferred from stable isotope analysis of freshwater mollusc opercula. Boreas
  • Pop, E., Charalampopoulos, D., Arps, C. S., Verbaas, A., Roebroeks, W., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., & Langejans, G. (2018). Middle Palaeolithic Percussive Tools from the Last Interglacial Site Neumark-Nord 2/2 (Germany) and the Visibility of Such Tools in the Archaeological Record. Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology1, 81–106.
  • Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., Noack, E. S., Pop, E., Herbst, C., Pfleging, J., Buchli, J., Jacob, A., Enzmann, F., Kindler, L., Iovita, R., Street, M., & Roebroeks, W. (2018). Evidence for close-range hunting by last interglacial Neanderthals. Nature Ecology & Evolution2(7), 1087–1092.
  • Pop, E., Kuijper, W., Hees, E. van, Smith, G., García-Moreno, A., Kindler, L., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., & Roebroeks, W. (2016). Fires at Neumark-Nord 2, Germany: An analysis of fire proxies from a Last Interglacial Middle Palaeolithic basin site. Journal of Field Archaeology41(5), 603–617.
  • García-Moreno, A., Smith, G. M., Kindler, L., Pop, E., Roebroeks, W., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., & Klinkenberg, V. (2016). Evaluating the incidence of hydrological processes during site formation through orientation analysis. A case study of the middle Palaeolithic Lakeland site of Neumark-Nord 2 (Germany). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports6, 82–93.
  • Pop, E., & Bakels, C. (2015). Semi-open environmental conditions during phases of hominin occupation at the Eemian Interglacial basin site Neumark-Nord 2 and its wider environment. Quaternary Science Reviews117, 72–81.
  • Pop, E. (2015). Neandertal adaptations to Interglacial conditions – a case study from the Eemian site Neumark-Nord 2 (Germany). (Doctoral dissertation) Leiden University.
  • Pop, E., Bakels, C., Kuijper, W., Mücher, H., & van Dijk, M. (2015). The Dynamics of Small Postglacial Lake Basins and the Nature of Their Archaeological Record: A Case Study of the Middle Palaeolithic Site Neumark-Nord 2, Germany. Geoarchaeology30(5), 393–413.
  • Pop, E. (2014). Analysis of the Neumark-Nord 2/2 lithic Assemblage: Results and Interpretations. In S. Gaudzinski-Windheuser & W. Roebroeks (Eds.), Multidisciplinary Studies of the Middle Palaeolithic Record from Neumark-Nord (Germany). Volume I (pp. 143–196). Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt.
  • Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., Kindler, L., Pop, E., Roebroeks, W., & Smith, G. (2014). The Eemian Interglacial lake-landscape at Neumark-Nord (Germany) and its potential for our knowledge of hominin subsistence strategies. Quaternary International331, 31–38.

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