Mary Stiner (Sabbatical 2022–2023 Academic Year)

Regents' Professor, Anthropology

ASM Curator, Zooarchaeology

Mary Stiner Headshot

About Mary Stiner

MARY STINER is Regents' Professor of Anthropology in the School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson. She is also Curator of Zooarchaeology at the Arizona State Museum. She conducts archaeological research on human ancestors, paleoeconomics, and social evolution. She earned B.A. and B.F.A. degrees in Anthropology and Fine Arts, respectively, in 1980 from the University of Delaware. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1990. She has conducted archaeological fieldwork at Paleolithic sites in Italy, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, France, and Morocco, and sites of diverse ages in the United States. Her professional interests include co-evolutionary processes involving Paleolithic humans, forager economics and technology, Paleolithic decorative traditions, the forager-farmer transition, population ecology, behavioral ecology, zooarchaeology of vertebrates and mollusks, and taphonomy and bone diagenesis. A recent focus is the co-evolutionary basis of animal domestication. Awards over the years include the first Society of American Archaeology book prize in 1996 for Honor among Thieves: A Zooarchaeological Study of Neanderthal Ecology (1994, Princeton University Press). She held a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship at University College London in 2010. She became a UA Regents' Professor in 2014. She was awarded the Fryxell prize for her interdisciplinary scientific work by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) in 2021.

In a 2020 science-wide citation survey, Stiner ranked in the top 1% in archaeology (Ioannidis et al (2020) PLoS Biol 18(10) (

Stiner is also a visual artist ( 

Selected Publications


(in prep.) (co-editor & contributor) The Paleolithic Archaeology of Hatay. Edited by SL Kuhn, MC Stiner, and E Güleç. Sidestone Press, Leiden, Netherlands.

2018  (co-editor & contributor) The Early Settlement of Aşıklı Höyük: Essays in Honor of Ufuk Esin. Edited by M Özbaşaran, G Duru, and MC Stiner. Zero Books/Ege Yayinlari, Istanbul.

2010  (co-editor & contributor) Culture and Biology at a Crossroads: The Middle Pleistocene Record of Yarimburgaz Cave (Thrace, Turkey). Edited by FC Howell, G Arsebük, SL Kuhn, M Özbaşaran, MC Stiner. Ege Press, Istanbul.

2010  (co-editor & contributor) Klissoura Cave 1, Argolid, Greece: The Upper Palaeolithic Sequence. Special Issue of Eurasian Prehistory, edited by M Koumouzelis, JK Kozlowski, MC Stiner.

2005 (sole author). The Faunas of Hayonim Cave (Israel): A 200,000-Year Record of Paleolithic Diet, Demography & Society. American School of Prehistoric Research, Bulletin 48, Peabody Museum Press, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. (314 pp., 147 figures, 76 tables, 29 appendix tables).

1994  (sole author) Honor among Thieves: A Zooarchaeological Study of Neandertal Ecology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (447 pp., 148 figures, 113 tables, 8 appendix tables)

1991  (editor & contributor) Human Predators and Prey Mortality. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.  

Selected Journal Articles (Recent, and a few old favorites)

Stiner MC. 2021. The challenges of documenting coevolution and niche construction: The example of domestic spaces. Evolutionary Anthropology 30: 63-70.

Munro ND, Stiner MC. 2020. A zooarchaeological history of the Neolithic occupations at Franchthi Cave and Paralia in southern Greece. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 58(2020): 101162.

Kuhn SL, Stiner MC. 2019. How hearth and home made us human. Journal of Anthropological Research 75(3): 305-327.

Abell J, Quade J, Stiner MC, Mentzer SM, Uzdurum M, Duru G, Özbaşaran M. 2019. Urine salts elucidate Early Neolithic animal management at Aşikli Höyük, Turkey. Science Advances 17 Apr 2019: Vol 5 (no 4): eaaw0038. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw0038.

Munro ND, Bar-Oz G, Meier JS, Sapir-Hen L, Stiner MC, Yeshurun Y. 2018. The Emergence of Animal Management in the Southern Levant. Nature Scientific Reports 8(1): 1-11.

Stiner MC. 2017. Love and death in the Stone Age: What constitutes first evidence of mortuary treatment of the human body? Biological Theory 12(4): 248-261.

Stiner MC, Kuhn SL. 2016 Are we missing the "sweet spot" between optimality theory and niche construction theory in archaeology? Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 44: 177-184.

Grimstead DN, Quade J, Stiner MC. 2016. Isotopic evidence for long-distance mammal procurement, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, USA. Geoarchaeology: An International Journal 0 (2016): 1–20.

Munro ND, Stiner MC. 2015. Zooarchaeological evidence for early Neolithic colonization at Franchthi Cave (Peloponnese, Greece). Current Anthropology 56(4): 596-603.

Quade J, Li,S, Stiner,MC. Clark,AE, Mentzer SM, Özbaşaran M. 2014. Radiocarbon dating, mineralogy, and isotopic composition of hackberry endocarps from the Neolithic site of Aşıklı Höyük, Central Turkey. Radiocarbon 56(4): S17-S25.

Stiner MC, Buitenhuis H, Duru G, Kuhn SL, Mentzer SM, Munro ND, Pöllath N, Quade J, Tsartsidou G, Özbaşaran M. 2014. A forager-herder trade off, from broad-spectrum hunting to sheep management at Aşıklı Höyük, Turkey. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(23): 8404-8409. 

Stiner MC. 2014. Finding a common band-width: Causes of convergence and diversity in Paleolithic beads. Biological Theory 9(1): 51-64.

Stiner MC. 2013. An unshakeable Middle Paleolithic? Trends versus conservatism in the predatory niche and their social ramifications. Current Anthropology 54(S8): S288-S304.

Stiner MC, Kuhn SL, Güleç E. 2013. Early Upper Paleolithic shell beads at Üçağizli Cave I (Turkey): Technology and the socioeconomic context of ornament life-histories. Journal of Human Evolution 64: 380-398.

Stiner MC, Munro ND, Sanz M. 2012. Carcass damage and digested bone from mountian lions (Felis concolor): Implications for carcass persistence as a function of prey age. Journal of Archaeological Science 39: 896-907.

Stiner MC, Munro ND. 2011. On the Evolution of Paleolithic Diet and Landscape at Franchthi Cave (Peloponnese, Greece). Journal of Human Evolution 60: 618-636.

Stiner MC, Barkai R, Gopher A. 2011. Hearth-side socioeconomics, hunting and paleocology during the late Lower Paleolithic at Qesem Cave, Israel. Journal of Human Evolution 60(2): 213-233.

Stiner MC, Kozlowski J, Kuhn SL, Karkanas P, Koumouzelis M. 2010. Klissoura Cave 1 and the Upper Paleolithic of Southern Greece. Eurasian Prehistory 7(2): 309-321.

Starkovich BM, Stiner MC. 2010. Upper Paleolithic animal exploitation at Klissoura Cave 1 in southern Greece: Dietary Trends and Mammal Taphonomy. Eurasian Prehistory 7(2): 107-132.

Stiner MC. 2010. Shell ornaments from the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic layers of Klissoura Cave 1 by Prosymnia, Greece. Eurasian Prehistory 7(2): 287-308.

Stiner MC. 2010. Prey choice, site occupation intensity and economic diversity across the Middle to early Upper Palaeolithic at Üçağızlı Caves I and II (Hatay, Turkey). Before Farming. [Online version 2009/3 (article 3).]

Stiner MC, Barkai R, Gopher A. 2009. Cooperative hunting and meat sharing 400-200 kya at Qesem Cave, Israel. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(32): 13207-13212.

Starkovich BM, Stiner MC. 2009. Hallan Çemi Tepesi: High-ranked game exploitation alongside intensive seed processing at the Epipaleolithic-Neolithic transition in Southeastern Turkey. Anthropozoologica 44(1): 41-61.

Kuhn SL, Stiner MC, Güleç E, Özer I, Yılmaz H, Baykara I, Açikkol A, Goldberg P, Martínez Molina K, Ünay E, Suata-Alpaslan F. 2009. The Early Upper Paleolithic occupations at Üçağızlı Cave (Hatay, Turkey). Journal of Human Evolution 56: 87-113.

Kuhn SL, Stiner MC. 2006. What’s a mother to do? A hypothesis about the division of labor and modern human origins. Current Anthropology 47(6): 953-980.

Stiner MC, Kuhn SL. 2006. Changes in the ‘Connectedness’ and Resilience of Paleolithic Societies in Mediterranean Ecosystems. Human Ecology 34(5): 693-712.

Stiner MC. 2001. Thirty years on the “Broad Spectrum Revolution” and Paleolithic demography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98(13): 6993-6996.

Stiner MC, Kuhn SL, Surovell TA, Goldberg P, Meignen L, Weiner S, Bar-Yosef O. 2001. Bone preservation in Hayonim Cave (Israel): a macroscopic and mineralogical study. Journal of Archaeological Science 28(6): 643-659.

Surovell TA, Stiner MC. 2001. Standardizing infra-red measures of bone mineral crystallinity: an experimental approach. Journal of Archaeological Science 28(6): 633-642.

Kuhn SL, Stiner MC, Reese DS, Güleç E. 2001. Ornaments in the earliest Upper Paleolithic: New results from the Levant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 98(13): 7641-7646.

Richards MP, Pettitt PB, Stiner MC, Trinkaus E. 2001. Stable isotope evidence for increasing dietary breadth in the European mid-Upper Paleolithic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98(11):6528-6532.

Stiner MC, Munro ND, Surovell TA. 2000. The tortoise and the hare: small game use, the Broad Spectrum Revolution, and Paleolithic demography. Current Anthropology 41(1): 39-73.

Stiner MC, Munro ND, Surovell TA, Tchernov E, Bar­-Yosef O. 1999. Paleolithic population growth pulses evidenced by small animal exploitation. Science 283: 190-194.

Stiner MC, Arsebük G, Howell FC. 1996. Cave bears and Paleolithic artifacts in Yarimburgaz Cave: dissecting a palimpsest. Geoarchaeology 11(4): 279-327.

Stiner MC, Weiner S, Bar-Yosef O, Kuhn SL. 1995. Differential burning, fragmentation, and preservation of archaeological bone. Journal of Archaeological Science 22(2): 223-237. 

Stiner MC. 1993. Modern human origins--faunal perspectives. Annual Review of Anthropology 22: 55-82.

Stiner MC. 1992. Overlapping species "choice" by Italian Upper Pleistocene predators. Current Anthropology 33(4): 433-451.

Stiner MC, Kuhn SL. 1992. Subsistence, technology, and adaptive variation in Middle Paleolithic Italy. American Anthropologist 94(2): 12-46.

Stiner MC. 1991. Food procurement and transport by human and non-human predators. Journal of Archaeological Science 18(4): 455-482.

Stiner MC. 1991. The faunal remains from Grotta Guattari: a taphonomic perspective. Current Anthropology 32(2): 103-117 (with reply, 132-­135).

Stiner MC. 1990. The use of mortality patterns in archaeological studies of hominid predatory adaptations. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 9(4): 305-351.

Courses Taught

Origins of Human Diversity (ANTH 160D2)

Domestication: The Evolutionary Entanglements of Humans, Plants and Animals (ANTH 326)

Foundations of Archaeological Interpretation (ANTH 636)

Old World Prehistory (ANTH 456/556B)

Ecological Anthropology (ANTH 611)

Zooarchaeology and Taphonomy Laboratory (ANTH 472/572)

Quantitative Zooarchaeology and Taphonomy (ANTH 696A)

Areas of Study

Turkey & Anatolia

Mediterranean Europe and Southwest Asia

North Africa (Morocco)



2016-onward  Molluskan studies (food and ornament use) at Bizmoune Cave, Morocco, in collaboration with A. Bouzzouggar and S. Kuhn. 

2008-onward  Senior collaborator for zooarchaeology and site formation processes in new excavations at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Aşıklı HöyükCentral Anatolia, Turkey, with Dr. Mihriban Özbaşaran of Istanbul University. Visit the project at

2006-onward  Faunal analyst in collaboration with Dr. Natalie Munro on Paleolithic and Mesolithic faunas of Franchthi Cave, Greece, in collaboration with Prof. C. Perles and K.D. Vitelli, Museum of Nafplio, Nafplio, Greece.

2011-onward  Ornament analyst, radiometric dating and site formation processes in Paleolithic through Mesolithic at Kephalari Cave, Greece, in collaboration with Dr. Britt Starkovich, German Institute, Tyrins, Greece.


2005-2010 Senior faunal analyst and consultant on Paleolithic faunas and dating of Klisoura Cave, Greece, in collaboration with UA Ph.D. student, Britt Starkovich, and Prof. M. Koumouzeles and Dr. P. Karkanas, Ephoreia of Palaeoanthropology-Speleology, Athens.

2003-2010 Faunal analyst and taphonomist, Lower Paleolithic faunas, Qesem Cave, Israel, in collaboration with Drs. R. Barkai and A. Gopher, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv.

1998-2008 Senior faunal analyst and consultant on the Paleolithic faunas of Algarve Region, Portugal, in collaboration with UA Ph.D. students, Tiina Manne and Jessica Rowland, and with Prof. N. Bicho, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, Faro.

1997-2009  Senior faunal analyst and taphonomist, Upper and Middle Paleolithic faunas, Hatay coast, Turkey (with S. Kuhn and E. Güleç). Visit the Ucagizli project in Turkey at

1992-2003  Faunal analyst and taphonomist, Middle and Upper Paleolithic faunas, Hayonim Cave, Israel, (with O. Bar-Yosef). 

Research Interests

Her professional interests include the ever-changing relationship between human societies and Eurasian ecosystems, and she has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Italy, Israel, Turkey, Portugal, Greece, and France. She has published on a wide range of periods and topics in Paleolithic archaeology, hunter-gatherer ecology, predator co-evolution, the transition from foraging to early village societies, animal domestication, and the early evolution of art as media for visual communication. Her technical specialties include zooarchaeology and taphonomy.