People

The Yamnaya Impact project team is essentially international, welcoming researchers from Helsinki, Mainz, London, Bristol and Budapest Universities. Besides the core team members, the project closely collaborates with Czech, Slovak and Polish colleagues as well as with local partners from Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia.

Volker Heyd is a Prehistoric Archaeologist and the PI of the YMPACT project. His research has advanced in two main directions in the last decade. Whilst he still sees himself as a prehistoric archaeologist undertaking his own long-term fieldwork projects in France, Turkey, Hungary, Romania and soon in Bulgaria, and focusing current prehistoric top themes such as mobility, identity, ethnicity, ideology etc., he regularly incorporates scientific methods into his research. Here the study of human and animal mobility, and the application of 87Sr/86Sr and δ18O isotopes, has particularly kept his attention since first publishing on the topic in 2003. He has continued designing and successfully running his own isotope projects, often in cooperation with colleagues in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland and Russia. Beside the isotopes, he is always keen to promote other multi/cross-discipline approaches, for example making use of evidence from chemistry, physical anthropology, biology, and – more recently – genetics, for a better understanding of our own prehistoric records, material culture and cultural traits.

A significant part of Heyd's research has centred on the third millennium BC, a period for which he is mostly credited. More recently, his interests have broadened to include publications and seminars, now encompassing the seventh millennium BC Neolithisation of Europe to the first millennium BC Iron Age and first millennium AD Vikings, and geographically from Central Europe to the wider Continent.

Address:

Department of Cultures
University of Helsinki
P.O. Box 59 (Unioninkatu 38)
00014 University of Helsinki
Finland

E-mail:
volker.heyd@helsinki.fi

Ádám Braun is a PhD student under Dr. Ákos Pető in the Environmental Sciences doctorate school at the Szent István University, Hungary. He is an analytical chemist, he will help Ákos Pető with the sampling, analysis and assessment of the burial mounds investigated in the scope of the YMPACT project.

Address:
Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology
Szent István University
Páter Károly u. 1.
Gödöllő, 2100
Hungary

E-Mail:
braunadam95@gmail.com

Joachim Burger is a pioneer in the field of prehistoric human population genetics. His research group found that the first farmers were not the descendants of the hunter-gatherer population that previously lived in Europe (Bramanti et al. 2009 Science). In a study on ancient Anatolian and Greek genomes, he and his team were able to establish ancient "Aegeans" as a robust genomic proxy for the ancestors of early European farmers (Hofmanová et al. 2016 PNAS) thereby extending our understanding of the chain of Neolithic migrations back to southwest Asia. Subsequently his team sequenced the first Neolithic genome from the Fertile Crescent providing evidence that the earliest agriculturists of the Middle East were not contributing to the ancestry of Neolithic Europeans (Broushaki et al. 2016 Science). 

In Heyd's Ympact project, Burger together with Mark Thomas and Yoan Diekmann will analyze ancient genomes of the 4th and 3rd millennium BC along the Danubian corridor and make  inference on the expansion and demography of prehistoric people.

Joachim Burger is based at the Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. His research group is the Palaeogenetics Group.

Address:

Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Fachbereich 10 (1050)
55099 Mainz

E-mail:
jburger@uni-mainz.de

Yoan Diekmann is a postdoctoral research associate focussing on the computational analysis of ancient and modern genomes.

Before joining the Yamnaya impact project team, he studied the impact of the Neolithic migrations into Britain, finding farming populations replaced resident foragers with little introgression from the latter (Brace*, Diekmann*, Booth*, et al., Nat. Ecol. Evol., 2019 [* contributed equally]).

In addition to genome data analysis, Yoan's interests include computational methods development, for example in the fields of medical genetics (Radian, Diekmann, et al., Hum. Mutat., 2017), Anthropology (Diekmann, et al., PNAS, 2017), and Zooarchaeology (in preparation).

Yoan is based at the Palaeogenetics Group headed by Prof. Joachim Burger at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He is also affiliated with the MACE lab headed by Prof. Mark Thomas at University College London, UK.

Address:
Palaeogenetics Group
Johannes Gutenberg University
Anselm-Franz-von-Bentzel-Weg 7
55128 Mainz, Germany

E-mail:
ydiekman@uni-mainz.de

Dr. Enikő Magyari's main research focuses on the environmental history of the Carpathian-Balkan Region during the last 30,000 years. Using pollen, plant macrofossil, and multi-proxy paleoecological methods she studies how rapid climate change events and human impact have shaped the forest and steppe environment, what was the amplitude of climate change during the last glacial termination and Holocene, and what are the region’s climate change characteristics.

In scope of the YMPACT project Magyari works as paleoenvironment/paleoclimate specialist and - together with Professor Heikki Seppä and Dr. María Ramos - studies the environmental conditions during the Yamnaya westward expansion period in Romania and in the wider region of East-Central Europe. They are particularly interested in any rapid climate change event within the Yamnaya migration period and longer term shifts in atmospheric circulation that might have led to antagonistic moisture changes in the eastern vs. western margin of this zone. Magyari, Seppä and Ramos use multi-proxy paleoecological techniques complemented by the study of lipid biomarkers in lake sediments (brGDGT).

 
Address:
 
Dept. of Physical and Applied Geology
Eötvös University
1117 Budapest
Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C
Hungary
 
E-mail:

Ákos Pető’s research focuses on environmental issues involving pedological and phytolith analyses of buried soil profiles of the Holocene. He has participated in several kurgan excavations and studies, and he is engaged in the geoarchaeological research of Bronze Age fortified settlements.

Within the frames of the YMPACT project he will focus on the geoarchaeological survey of selected burial mounds in the South-East European region. Geochemical and pedological analyses will be used to understand the building process of the mounds, to reconstruct geochemical and soil formation processes that occurred after the mounds were erected. Soil and sediment data retrieved within the course of these examinations will hopefully provide complementary and background geological information for the environmental reconstruction of the subjected time period.

Address:
 
Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology

Szent István University
Páter Károly u. 1.
Gödöllő, 2100
Hungary

E-mail:
peetoako@gmail.com

Bianca Preda-Bălănică is a Romanian archaeologist who spent the last eight years studying Yamnaya burials in Romania. She participated in several preventive archaeological excavations of Bronze age burials mounds as a team member of the Prahova County Museum of History and Archaeology. In 2017 she defended the PhD thesis Bronze Age burial mounds between the Argeş and Buzău rivers. She is co-author to several papers and books approaching the topic of Yamnaya burials (Frînculeasa, Preda, Heyd 2015, PZ; Frînculeasa et al. 2017, Smeeni).

In the YMPACT project she will study the funerary archaeology, burials customs and material culture of the Yamnaya populations, as well as their interactions with and impact on local societies. She will also take part in fieldwork in all the regions studied by the project.

 

Address:
Department of Cultures
University of Helsinki
P.O. Box 4 (Fabianinkatu 24, 121C)
00014 University of Helsinki
Finland

E-mail:
bianca.preda@helsinki.fi

María J. Ramos-Román is a postdoctoral researcher who mainly focuses on paleoenvironmental reconstruction, vegetation dynamics and its response to climate change, and human impact during the Holocene. One of the central topics of her research is trying to disentangle the interactions between climate-human-environment during the last millennia. During the last five years she has worked on the environmental reconstruction of sedimentary records from lake and wetlands in southern Spain using multidisciplinary analysis (i.e. pollen, charcoal, inorganic and organic geochemistry, and sedimentological analysis). In 2018 she defended the PhD thesis Holocene paleoenvironmental change, climate and human impact in Sierra Nevada, southern Iberian Peninsula. As a result of the PhD thesis she is author of several papers related with paleoenvironmental reconstruction, climate change, and human impact during the Holocene (Ramos-Román et al., 2016, QSR; Ramos-Román et al., 2018, Clim.Past; Ramos-Román et al., 2018, Gloplacha).

Address:

Department of Geosciences and Geography
University of Helsinki
P.O. Box 64 (Gustav Hällströmin katu 2)
00014 University of Helsinki
Finland

E-mail:
maria.ramosroman@helsinki.fi

Heikki Seppä is a professor of Quaternary Geology at the Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Finland. He is a palaeoecologist and palaeoclimatologist, investigating changes in climate, species, populations and ecosystems over the last two million years. His special focus is on the climate changes during the Holocene and the preceding glacial period, and their impacts on biotic communities and human populations. He uses various proxy methods mostly based on microscopic remains, such as pollen and charcoal, preserved in organic sediment records, and combines these data with records from other fossil datasets and outputs of climate and vegetation models to better understand the  links between past climates in their impacts on populations and ecosystems, mostly in the terrestrial domain. Throughout his career, he has been working on quantitative reconstructions of past climates using pollen and other proxy methods, and he has been involved in many projects aiming at developing and improving different quantitative reconstructions techniques and datasets used in such reconstructions. His work also involves collaboration with palaeontologists and archaeologists to reconstruct past animal and human population size trends from the last glacial to the present.

In YMPACT, he works in the group investigating the climatic and other environmental changes that may have influenced the spreading of the Yamnaya culture and people in the study region in eastern Europe during the mid Holocene.

Address:
 
Department of Geosciences and Geography
University of Helsinki
P.O. Box 64 (Gustav Hällströmin katu 2)
00014 University of Helsinki
Finland
 
E-mail:

Martin Trautmann is a biological anthropologist and archaeologist from Germany, working freelance as forensic and anthropological expert. His main field of interest is the reconstruction of past lives based on the examination of skeletal remains. This includes markers of life history, indicators of workload, activities and stress, pathological conditions and injuries, dietary habits and phenotypical appearance.

The aim of Trautmann's work is to describe past populations and their interaction with the environment, based on the comparison of these data and demographic characteristics.

While Martin Trautmann had the necessary methods applied to thousands of skeletal individuals from dozens of different times and sites, from the Neolithic to the Early Industrial Era, from Amazonian Bolivia to urban Berlin, he is especially thrilled to work on the Yamnaya-related populations as required by the YMPACT project.

 
Address:
 
A und O – Anthropologie und Osteoarchäologie

Dall’Armistraße 16
D-80638 München
Germany

E-mail:
ao.anthropologie@googlemail.com