Palaeo-Research Institute Palaeo-Research Institute

Palaeo-Research Institute

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​​Centre for Anthropological Research and The University of Johannesburg logos

The Palaeo Research Institute (P-RI) in the Faculty of Humanities is the hub for Palaeo-Research and Training at the University of Johannesburg. Our research staff and associates conduct and disseminate high-quality research focused on the following research themes:

  • The physiological evolution of hominins and other animals who shared their landscape (fossil research);
  • The genetic evolution of Homo sapiens and the reconstruction of the African population history (ancient and living DNA research);
  • The cognitive evolution of hominins since our split from non-human primates (neuro-archaeology, palaeo-neurology, cognitive archaeology);
  • The evolution of indigenous knowledge systems (techno-behavioural studies associated with hominins and early humans);
  • The development of novel, state-of-the-art approaches to the dating of fossils in Africa.


The P-RI maintains a large collaborative, inter-disciplinary network that stimulates creative research approaches and expose post-graduate students to an international, multi-disciplinary research environment. The Research Institute boasts a dedicated microscopy unit that specialises in training post-graduate students in use-trace analyses and taphonomic identifications.


The main projects hosted at the centre currently include:

  • Palaeo-TrACKS (Tracing Ancient Cognition and Knowledge Systems), with Marlize Lombard as project director, and funded through an African Origins Grant awarded by the National Research Foundation of South Africa
  • Reconstructing the transition from Australopithecus to Homo in South Africa with Andy Herries based at Latrobe University (Australia) as project director, and funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant
  • Finding resolution for the Middle to Later Stone Age transition, directed by Gerrit Dusseldorp based at Leiden University (the Netherlands), and funded through a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research


Contact Dr Dipuo Winnie Kgotleng on 011 559 1938
​Physical Address
Palaeo-Research Institute
House 10, Humanities Research Village
University of Johannesburg
Bunting Road Campus
Auckland Park
Postal Address
Palaeo-Research Institute
House 10, Humanities Research Village
University of Johannesburg
P. O. Box 524
Auckland Park