Brian Stewart

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Brian Stewart

Assistant Professor, Anthropology; Assistant Curator, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology

4005A Ruthven, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, 1009 Geddes Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48108-1079

Office Location(s): 4013 Museums
Phone: 734.763.9864
bastew@umich.edu
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  • Affiliation(s)
    • Museum of Anthropological Archaeology
  • About

    Brian Stewart’s research focuses on the archaeology of prehistoric hunter-gatherers in Africa, especially southern Africa. He is particularly interested in the evolution of the profound adaptive flexibility that is the hallmark of our species. Southern Africa is an great place to explore this because it has yielded some of the world’s earliest evidence for behavioral complexity on par with recent and extant human foragers. His current project, Adaptations to Marginal Environments in the Middle Stone Age (Project AMEMSA), investigates and compares human adaptive responses to two challenging landscapes in southern Africa: the Lesotho Highlands and the Namaqualand coastal desert. In both research areas he is conducting rockshelter excavations and open-air landscape archaeological and geomorphological surveys. The aim is to resolve when, why, and how humans learned to cope with challenging environments over the past ~300,000 years. By reconstructing the foraging strategies involved in learning to exploit such habitats within Africa, he hopes to better understand how our species was eventually able to colonize and rapidly adapt to the full range of global ecosystems.

  • Education
    • B.A., University of Vermont
    • M.St., University of Oxford
    • D.Phil., University of Oxford
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Paleolithic social and spatial organization
    • Middle and Later Stone Age Africa
    • Evolution of adaptive flexibility
    • Lithic and ceramic technologies
    • Southern African foragers