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Mathew Fox

About Mathew Fox

My research is largely interested in understanding the relationship that climatic variability shares with hominin evolution, ecosystem dynamics, and changes in Paleolithic technology. More specifically, I aim to understand how our ancestor, Homo erectus, left Africa, migrated across Eurasia, and eventually colonized East Asia. My research has a strong methodological focus, largely emphasizing paleoclimatic reconstructions and the application of organic (biomarker) and isotopic geochemistry to anthropological problems. Currently, my doctoral research aims to examine how variations in the East Asian Monsoon may have affected Mid-Pleistocene H. erectus environments in the Qinling Mountain region of central China.  




Courses Taught

Anth 160- Patterns of Prehistory (TA)

Anth 170- Genetic Diversity in the Modern World (TA)

Anth 260- The Human Machine (TA)

Anth 329- The History of Art in Cinema (TA)

Areas of Study

  • East Asia
  • China 
  • The Qinling Mountain Region, Southern Shaanxi Province 


From 2010-2014 I helped established a pilot geoarchaeology and site formation study at Yangguanzhai in Shaanxi, China under the guidance of Dr. Ye Wa and the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology. The aim of the study was to develop a preliminary site formation model of Neolithic refuse and "ash-pits" through the use of micromorphology, stable isotopes, and detailed lithostratigraphy. This project was in collaboration with Jennifer Kielhofer who worked extensively on the quantitative mapping of loess-paleosol stratigraphy unique to Yangguanzhai.  This project was also part of an archaeological field school that I both participated in and helped teach for several years.

2015- Under the guidance of Dr. Wang Shejiang (Institute for Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology) and Dr. Lu Huayu (Head of Geoscience department of Nanjing University), I have now joined an interdisciplinary research group investigating early to mid-Pleistocene sites in the Luonan and Hanzhong Basins of the Qinling Mountains. The aim of the project is to develop high-resolution reconstructions of the East Asian Monsoon and hominin environments. This group is particularly focused on loess-paleosol sequences, chronostratigraphy, the geomorphology of river terraces, and identification of paleoclimatic proxies (e..g, pollen records, phytoliths, isotopic signatures).  




Research Interests

  • Organic and isotopic geochemistry (with a particular focus on biomarkers)
  • Archaeological and soil micromorphology
  • Lithostratigraphy of Loess-Paleosols 
  • Evolution of the Asian and East Asian Monsoon
  • Soils and paleoenvironments of the early to mid Pleistocene in China
  • Site formation processes and sedimentology of paleolithic sites 
  • Hominin paleoecology
  • Behavioral and biological evolution of East Asian H. erectus and archaic H. sapiens 
  • The application of Variability Selection to hominin paleoenvironments 
Mathew Fox's picture

Contact Information

Telephone: 520.621.2585


Bachlors of Arts in Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno

Masters of Arts in Anthropology, University of Arizona