Home / Dr. Yonatan Sahle


Dr. Yonatan Sahle is an archaeologist. He specializes in Middle Stone Age cultures, and examines these mainly in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia. This period, and geography, is important in understanding the origin and dispersal of our species.

Dr. Sahle is currently involved in the study of Late Pleistocene adaptive behavior in the Middle Awash research area (Afar Rift, Ethiopia) where he collaborates in testing hypotheses about the role of culture in shaping critical events, such as the modern human Out-of-Africa dispersal. He is a research group leader at the center.

Educational Background
2013 – 2015 Postdoc, Human Evolution Research Center, University of California, Berkeley
2009 – 2013Ph.D. in Archaeology, University of Cape Town
2006 – 2008M.A. in Archaeology, Addis Ababa University
2000 – 2004B.Ed. in History, Alemaya University, Ethiopia
Field Research Experience
2010 – presentMiddle Awash Research Project, Afar Rift, Ethiopia
2010 – 2013Gademotta Formation, Main Ethiopian Rift
2012 – 2013Ledi‑Geraru Research Project, Afar Rift, Ethiopia
2010Koobi Fora Field School, East Turkana, Kenya
2010Elandsfontein, Western Cape, South Africa
2007Mochena Borago Rockshelter, southwestern Ethiopia
Research Grants
2015 - 2016Leakey Foundation (post-Ph.D. research grant)
2014Wenner-Gren Foundation (post-Ph.D. research grant)
2013Paleontological Scientific Trust (publication grant)
2012 – 2013Wenner-Gren Foundation (dissertation write-up grant)
2010 - 2012Paleontological Scientific Trust (fieldwork grants)
2009 – 2012Wenner-Gren Foundation (Wadsworth doctoral fellowship grant)
Professional Membership
Society of Africanist Archaeologists
Society for American Archaeology
East African Association of Paleontology & Paleoanthropology
Academic Reviewer
Quaternary International Journal
Paleoanthropology Journal
American Antiquity
The Leakey Foundation
The National Science Foundation of the USA
Papers in Peer-Reviewed Journals
2018Sahle Y, Reyes-Centeno H, Bentz C. Modern human origins and dispersal: current state of knowledge and future directions. Evolutionary Anthropology 27: 64-67.
Sahle Y. Eastern African Stone Age. Oxford Encyclopedia of Anthropology.
2017Sahle Y, S El Zaatari, TW White Hominid butchers and biting crocodiles in the African Plio–Pleistocene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/10/31/1716317114.full
Sahle Y, A Beyin . Archaeological reconnaissance of the Late Pleistocene Red Sea coast in the Danakil (Afar, Ethiopia). Antiquity 91, 1-6.
Sahle Y, DR Braun . A reply to Douze and Delagnes's 'The pattern of emergence of a Middle Stone Age tradition at Gademotta and Kulluletti (Ethiopia) through convergent tool and point technologies'. Journal of Human Evolution (2016) 91, 93-121. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.10.005
Shackley M, Y Sahle Geochemical characterization of four Quaternary obsidian sources and provenance of obsidian artifacts from the Middle Stone Age of Gademotta, Main Ethiopian Rift. Geoarchaeology: An International Journal 32, 302-310.
2016Sahle Y, A Negash. An ethnographic experiment of endscraper curation rate among Hadiya hideworkers, Ethiopia. Lithic Technology 41, 154-163 DOI:10.1179/2051618515Y.0000000022
2014Sahle Y, LE Morgan, DR Braun, B Atnafu, WK Hutchings. Chronological and behavioral contexts of the earliest Middle Stone Age in the Gademotta Formation, Main Ethiopian Rift. Quaternary International 331: 6-19.
2013Sahle Y, WK Hutchings, DR Braun, JC Sealy, LE Morgan, A Negash, B Atnafu. Earliest stone-tipped projectiles from the Ethiopian Rift date to >279,000 years ago. PLoS One. 8(11) e78092. News National Geographic Sciencenews.org
2012Sahle Y, A Negash, DR Braun. Variability in ethnographic hidescraper use among the Hadiya of Ethiopia: Implications for reduction analysis. African Archaeological Review 29 (4): 383-397.
Gossa T, Y Sahle, A Negash. A reassessment of the Middle and Later Stone Age lithic assemblages from Aladi Springs, Southern Afar Rift, Ethiopia. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa 47 (2): 210-222.
2011González-Ruibal A, Y Sahle, XA Villa. A Social Archaeology of colonial war in Ethiopia. World Archaeology 43 (1): 40-56.
Published Abstracts, Talks, Documentaries
2016Netflix Original. Into the Inferno. By Werner Herzog. Y Sahle as himself Netflix
The Science of Human Evolution in Africa. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) symposium. Washington, DC.
SA Brandt, Y Sahle, H Groucutt (2016). Parting the Red Sea: Late Pleistocene lithic variability and human dispersals in the Horn of Africa and Arabia. The SAA 81st Annual Meeting
Sahle Y, Y Beyene, Late Pleistocene Behaviors: Perspectives from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Abstracts of the SAA 81st Annual Meeting
2015Sahle Y Assessment of projectile use at Aduma (Middle Awash, Ethiopia). Abstracts of the SAA 80th Annual Meeting, sp. 860.
2014BBC Two. Human Universe: Apeman–Spaceman (BBC TWO). By Brian Cox. Y Sahle as himself. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0276pc3
Sahle Y, DR Braun, JC Sealy Technological Behavior in the Middle Stone Age of the Gademotta Fm., Ethiopia: Insights from the Levallois method. Abstracts of the SAA 79th Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, p. 659.
M Kay, Sahle Y, J Kappelman, L Todd Ethiopian MSA production chains early and late: Gademotta, Aduma, and Shinfa. Abstracts of the SAA 79th Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, p. 386.
2011Sahle Y, DR Braun The context of early Middle Stone Age occupations in the Main Ethiopian Rift: Renewed excavations at Gademotta. Paleoanthropology Society Meeting Abstracts, Minneapolis, MN. p. A33.

Contact Information

  • Position Title: Leader, Junior Research Group
  • Location: DFG Center for Advanced Studies, Rümelinstrasse 23, Room 603, 72070 Tübingen
  • Telephone number: +49 7071 29-74070
  • E-mail address: yonatan.sahle [at ]ifu.uni-tuebingen.de
  • ResearchGate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yonatan_Sahle

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