Team Members

Tom Higham

Professor and Principal Investigator

Tom Higham is Professor of Scientific Archaeology at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Vienna. He was, until August 2021, the Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford, where he was based for 20 years. Prior to this he was Deputy Director of the Waikato Radiocarbon Laboratory at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He held an ERC Advanced grant (PalaeoChron) from 2013-2019 which focused on the age of Neanderthal disappearance and the onset of the Early Upper Palaeolithic. His interests are in radiocarbon pretreatment chemistry, archaeological chronology building, the Palaeolithic and Bayesian chronometric modelling. He is the author of the book “The World Before Us: How Science is Revealing a New Story of our Human Origins” (Penguin)

Photo: © University of Vienna / Der Knopfdrücker

Katerina Douka

Associate Professor

Katerina was a doctoral student of Robert Hedges in Oxford. She specialises in radiocarbon dating, in particular the development of new protocols for decontaminating archaeological material, as well as the statistical interpretation of AMS results using Bayesian modelling.
She is also interested in the application of biomolecular tools, such as collagen peptide fingerprinting (also known as ZooMS), to better understand the archaeological record. She is the Principal Investigator of the FINDER project, and ERC starter grant project that is using ZooMS to identify new hominin remains in prehistoric sites.

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Dr Laura van der Sluis

Senior Scientist

Laura is a graduate of Queen’s University of Belfast (PhD) and the University of Amsterdam (BA in Arch. and Anth.). She was a post-doctoral scientist on the PalaeoCet project at the Musee d’Naturelle Histoire in Paris prior to coming to the University of Vienna.

Photo: © University of Vienna / Der Knopfdrücker

Maddalena Giannì

Lab Technician

Maddalena joined the Higham lab in November 2022, taking care of pretreatment chemistry of samples for radiocarbon dating. 

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Dora Kosak

Project Administrator

Dora is filling in for Viktoria Neuhold- Erben while she is on maternity leave. She takes care of all personnel, financial and general matters for the Higham lab. 

Viktoria Neuhold-Erben

Project Administrator (currently on maternity leave)

Viktoria joined the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology in September 2021. She takes care of all personnel, financial and general matters for the Higham lab. 

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Emily Pigott

PhD student

Emily finished her MSc in Geobiology and Paleobiology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich before she joined us in Vienna in April 2023. She is working in several parts of Europe on radiocarbon AMS dating and ZooMS, using refined pretreatment methods to improve our understanding of final Neanderthal populations in eastern Europe. 

Andreas Pfemeter

MSc student

Andreas is an MSc student in the Life Sciences faculty working on understanding the contamination mechanisms in open air Palaeolithic sites. He is applying a series of different pretreatment chemistries to determine the most robust approaches to reliable AMS dating. 

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Alisa Redtenbacher

MSc student

Alisa studied Anthropology and Archaeology at Durham University before coming to Vienna in late 2022 for her MSc. She is currently working for her MSc dissertation on the sequence from the Palaeolithic site of Geissenklösterle (Swabian Jura). 


Katharina Luftensteiner

MSc student

Katharina finished her BSc in Biology at the University of Vienna in 2022 and is now doing her MSc in Evolutionary Anthropology. She is involved in projects at the Natural History Museum (Department of Anthropology) and works on her MSc dissertation in the Higham lab.



Alma Kotevski

MSc student

Alma is a Masters student at Higham lab. She finished her BSc in Evolutionary Anthropology in 2017 at the University of Vienna. At the moment she is an MSc Student focused on Neanderthals, radiocarbon dating and human evolution.


Leslie Lodge

MSc student

Leslie finished his Bachelors degree in general biology from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich before moving to Vienna in 2021 for the Master program in Evolutionary Anthropology. He is working on his dissertation which concerns applying radiocarbon dating and ZooMS to material from the key site of Cavallo in southern Italy. 

Past Team Members

Dr Emese Vegh

Post-Doctoral Lab Technician

Emese finished her DPhil in Archeological Science at the University of Oxford in 2022 before she joined us in Vienna. Emese’s expertise is in bone diagenesis and taphonomy, bone histology and broader archaeological science. She was a post-doctoral scientist in the Douka lab as well and is now a post-doctoral researcher in the Vrije Universitat Brussel with Dr Christophe Snoeck. 

Photo: © University of Vienna / Der Knopfdrücker