Home / Dr. Yonatan Sahle


Dr. Yonatan Sahle is a broadly-trained archaeologist. His research interests revolve around understanding behavioral and ecological contexts across the origin of our species; prehistoric hunting technologies; hominin foraging adaptation (esp. carnivory); and ethnographic stone tool use.

Dr. Sahle leads a field project in the Lower Awash Basin (Afar Rift, Ethiopia), where he collaboratively investigates the evolution of hominin paleobiology and adaptive behavior across the later Middle Pleistocene. He has recently discovered hominids as well as faunal and archaeological assemblages that promise unique insights into the evolutionary contexts of the period.

Dr. Sahle is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Human Evolution and 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
Field Research Experience
2016 - presentPI, Megenta West Paleoanthropological Research Project, Afar Rift
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
2018Paleontological Scientific Trust (Post-Ph.D. field research grant)
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
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Quaternary International Journal
Paleoanthropology Journal
American Antiquity
The Leakey Foundation
The National Science Foundation of the USA
Papers in Peer-Reviewed Journals
2019Sahle Y, AS Brooks. Assessment of complex projectiles in the early Late Pleistocene at Aduma, Ethiopia. PLOS ONE 14(5), e0216716.
Sahle Y, Y Beyene, A Defleaur, B Asfaw, G WoldeGabriel, WK Hart, LE Morgan, PR Renne, J Carlson, TD White. Revisiting Herto: New evidence of Homo sapiens from Herto. In: Modern human origins and dispersal. Sahle et al. (Eds.). Tübingen: Kerns Verlag (pp. 73–104).
Sahle Y, Y Beyene, A Defleaur, B Asfaw, G WoldeGabriel, WK Hart, PR Renne, J Carlson, TD White. Human emergence: Perspectives from Herto, Afar Rift, Ethiopia. In: Modern human origins and dispersal. Sahle et al. (Eds.). Tübingen: Kerns Verlag (pp. 105-136).
Sahle Y, H Reyes-Centeno, C Bentz (Eds). Modern human origins and dispersal: current state of knowledge and future directions. Tübingen: Kerns Verlag.
Sahle Y. Ethnoarchaeology of compound adhesive production and tool hafting: implications from Hadiya (Ethiopia). Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 53, 43-50.
Sahle Y. Eastern African Stone Age. Oxford Encyclopedia of Anthropology. DOI:10.1093/acrefore/9780190854584.013.53
2018Sahle Y, H Reyes-Centeno, C Bentz. Modern human origins and dispersal: current state of knowledge and future directions. Evolutionary Anthropology 27: 64-67.
Sahle Y, DR Braun. A reply to Douze and Delagnes’s ‘The pattern of emergence of a Middle Stone Age tradition at Gademotta and Kulkuletti (Ethiopia) through convergent tool and point technologies’. J. Hum. Evol. [2016] 91, 93–121. Journal of Human Evolution 125, 201–206.
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.
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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