Francesco Berna

Francesco Berna joined the Department of Archaeology at SFU in January 2013 and expanded the Department’s Geoarchaeology Lab capabilities with petrographic thin sectioning instrumentation and Fourier transform infrared spectrometry and micro-spectrometry. The core of his research is focused on two main archaeological questions:

  • The origin of controlled use of re and its role in human evolution;

  • The Upper Paleolithic culture in the Middle East and its part in the origin of our species.

    These two lines of research see him conducting excavation and analytical work at Early Stone Age sites of Wonderwerk cave in South Africa and Koobi Fora FxJj20AB in Kenya, the L’Oscurusciuto Neanderthal rock-shelter in Southern Italy, and the Upper Paleolithic site of Manot Cave in Israel.

The Geoarchaeology Lab is also contributing to several other important issues in Old and New World Archaeology. These include: dating the earliest out-of-Africa evidence of Homo erectus at Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia; the origin of Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age in South Africa (Fauresmith level at Wonderwerk cave, Kathu Pan 1, and Bestwood farm) and in the Caucasus (Proto-levallois levels in Armenia); the site formation processes at the Final Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Beisamoun in the Upper Jordan Valley, Israel; ancient lime plaster technology during the classic Maya period in Guatemala and the Bronze Age in Cyprus; the nature of prehistoric sites on Calvert Island (EjTa-4) and Indian River in British Columbia. His research is sponsored by SSHRC and the Wenner-Gren Foundation and has been partially published in high impact journals such as PNAS, Science and Nature.