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Mary C. Stiner

About Mary C. Stiner

MARY C. STINER (PhD 1990) 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. Her book, Honor among Thieves: A Zooarchaeological Study of Neanderthal Ecology (1994, Princeton University Press), won the first Society of American Archaeology book prize in 1996. Her most recent book, entitled The Faunas of Hayonim Cave ( Israel ): A 200,000-Year Record of Paleolithic Diet, Demography & Society, was published in 2005 with Peabody Museum Press of Harvard University. Some recent articles include "Changes in the 'connectedness' and resilience of Paleolithic societies in Mediterranean ecosystems" (Stiner & Kuhn, 2006, Human Ecology), "What's a mother to do? A hypothesis about the division of labor and modern human origins" (Kuhn & Stiner, 2006, Current Anthropology 47), "Hearth-side socioeconomics, hunting and paleoecology during the late Lower Paleolithic at Qesem Cave, Israel" (Stiner et al. J Human Evol 2011), "Finding a common band-width: Causes of convergence and diversity in Paleolithic beads" (2014, Biological Theory 9(1): 51-64), and "Love and death in the Stone Age: What constitutes first evidence of mortuary treatment of the human body?" (2017, Biological Theory 12(4): 248-261).

Stiner is also a visual artist. For more information see:

Selected Publications


(in preparation) (co-editor & contributor) Archaeology at Aşıklı Höyük: Essays in honor of Ufuk Esin. Edited by M Özbaşaran, G Duru, and MC Stiner. Ege Press, 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. Zero Books/Ege Publications, 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  Recent Journal Articles

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. [Special issue entitled Signs, Symbols and the Archaeological Record, ed. K. Sterelny and P. Hiscock]

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.

Zhang Y, Stiner MC, Dennell R, Wang C, Zhang S, Gao X. 2010. Zooarchaeological perspectives on the Chinese Early and Late Paleolithic from the Ma’anshan site (Guizhou, South China). Journal of Archaeological Science 37(8): 2066-2077.

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.

Courses Taught


Origins of Human Diversity (ANTH 160D2)

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 Höyük, Central 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.

Mary C. Stiner's picture

Contact Information

Regents' Professor of Anthropology (& ASM Curator of Zooarchaeology)
Telephone: 520.621.2694
Fax: 520.621.2088
Office: Emil W. Haury Building, Room 409B


University of New Mexico 1990, PhD Anthropology

Anthropology University of New Mexico 1983, MA Anthropology

Anthropology University of Delaware 1980, BA Anthropology

Anthropology University of Delaware 1980, BFA Fine Arts

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