Animating ancient trade routes through primate lifeways

June 12th-14th 2023 in Konstanz, Germany

We are delighted to host the workshop "Animating ancient trade routes through primate lifeways", generously funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation.

The ancient trade of nonhuman primates is a topic at the intersection of Near Eastern archaeology, Egyptology, and primatology––three fields that rarely interact due to the nature of our disciplinary silos. Yet, there is great promise to working across these subdivisions of anthropology, of merging the study of primate lifeways and afterlives. New knowledge related to primate ecology and life history can inform our understanding of ancient trade networks, whereas archaeological findings and investigations can put new light on primate population structures and behaviors. Recent years have witnessed rapid advances in these topic areas, but always in isolation of the other, and progress of knowledge integration is slow. In this three-day workshop at the Institute for Advanced Study (Zukunftskolleg) in Konstanz, Germany, we will  assemble primatologists, biogeographers, and archaeologists, energize scholarly exchange and foster collaborations. Our overarching objective is to take strides toward a new, integrated research program in anthropology that pivots around primates in antiquity.


Gisela Kopp

Hector Pioneer Fellow, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany

Dr. Kopp is a primatologist and geneticist. Her research program is focused on the behavioral drivers of population structure and speciation. She is an expert on the phylogeography of baboons (Kopp et al. 2014) and she is examining the ancient DNA (aDNA) of mummified baboons from Egypt (Kopp et al. in preparation).

Nathaniel Dominy

Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, USA

Professor Dominy is a primatologist and functional ecologist. His research program is focused on the evolution and foraging ecology of nonhuman primates. He has used stable isotopes to determine the geoprovenance of mummified baboons imported into ancient Egpyt (Dominy et al. 2020).

Invited Speakers

Gabe Bowen

Professor of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA

Professor Bowen is a geologist and biogeochemist. He has been a leading voice in the development of stable isotope landscapes, or ‘isoscapes’, for tracking animal movements over large spatial scales. 

Sarah Elton

Professor of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK

Professor Elton is biological anthropologist. Her research program is focused on the evolution, ecology, and biogeography of cercopithecoid monkeys, especially highly terrestrial species such as baboons and some macaques.

Sireen El Zaatari

Research Group Leader, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany

Dr. El Zaatari is a dental anthropologist and paleoanthropologist. She is active in archaeological fieldwork, using teeth for taxonomic identification, dietary reconstruction, and life history documentation.

Laura Epp

Professor for Environmental Genomics, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany

Professor Epp is a a molecular paleoecologist. She uses environmental DNA (eDNA) in ancient sedimentary deposits and other environmental archives to analyze ecosystems and their history, an approach that has the potential to revolutionize the study of animal burial sites.

Mélanie Flossmann-Schütze

Ludwig Maximilians University Munich & Institute for Egyptology and Coptology, Munich, Germany

Dr. Flossmann-Schütze is an Egyptologist. She is Director of German excavations at Tuna el-Gebel, a Ptolemaic site with extensive animal catacombs, including galleries dedicated to baboons.

Renee Friedmann

Director of the Hierakonpolis Expedition, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK

Dr. Friedmann is an Egyptologist. She directs excavations at Hierakonpolis, a pre-dynastic cemetery with numerous baboons.

Salima Ikram

Professor of Egyptology, Department of Sociology, Egyptology and Anthropology, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Professor Ikram is a distinguished zooarchaeologist and Egyptologist. She is well known for her work on mummified animals (baboons, ibises, dogs, cats, etc.).

Claudia Minniti

Professor of Cultural Heritage, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy

Professor Minniti is a zooarchaeologist and taphonomist. She described the juvenile macaque found at Shahr-i Sokhta (see Minniti and Sajjadi 2019).


George H. (“PJ”) Perry

Professor of Anthropology and Biology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, USA

Professor Perry is an anthropological geneticist. He has wide-ranging interests, but he specializes, in part, on using ancient DNA (aDNA) to explore the effects of hunting pressures and anthropogenic habitat disturbances on primate population structures.

Christian Roos

Professor for Primate Genetics, University of Göttingen, & Head, Primate Genetics Laboratory, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany

Professor Roos is a primate population geneticist. He has published key papers on the evolution, biogeography, and population genetics of macaques (see Roos et al. 2019).

Wim Van Neer

Professor of Biology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven & Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Leuven, Belgium

Professor van Neer is a distinguished zooarchaeologist. He has published more than 300 papers on animals recovered from archaeological excavations, including aspects of taphonomy, diet, and stable isotopes (see van Neer et al. 2004, 2017).

Dietmar Zinner

Senior Scientist, Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Gottingen, Germany

Dr. Zinner is a primatologist and geneticist. His research program is focused on the taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeography of cercopithecoid monkeys, with a particular focus on baboons.

Location & Venue

The workshop is hosted at the Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.

The Zukunftskolleg is located in building Y, and the workshop will take place in room Y326.


Konstanz can be conveniently reached via train with the main train station (Konstanz Hauptbahnhof) being located in the city center. Searching and booking of connections can be done via the DB Navigator App of the German railway.

Air travel

The closest international airport to Konstanz is Zürich (Switzerland), with fast direct train connections (45min) to Konstanz main station. Other international airports are Stuttgart (3h), Frankfurt (4h), and Munich (5h).

Within Konstanz

Konstanz has a good public bus system, bus line 9 runs from the city center to the University every 15min. Tickets can be purchased online, at machines at the bus stations or directly in the bus. There are also various public bike and eScooter options available, which can be booked via the respective apps.

Participation & Registration

We invite scholars from all career stages and backgrounds who are interested in the topic of the workshop to participate. Participation is possible in person or virtually (hybrid format) to permit optimal accessibility and inclusion.

To register, please email your details (Name, Institution, Career Stage) to the organizers by April 30th and indicate if you will participate in person or virtually.

For in person participation there is a registration fee, which will allow you to participate in the full 3 day workshop including coffee breaks, lunch, and dinner (excluding accomodation and travel). The registration fee needs to be transferred to the workshop account by April 30th:

  • Pre-PhD: €60
  • Post-PhD (non-tenured): €120
  • Post-PhD (tenured): €180

Bank account

Account holder:          Universität Konstanz

                                   BW-Bank Konstanz

Account number:        7486501274

Bank code (BLZ):       60050101

IBAN:                          DE92 6005 0101 7486 5012 74

BIC:                            SOLADEST

Reason for Payment: Primate Antiquity

We offer bursaries of up to €800 to cover the registration, travel and accommodation costs of early career researchers from underrepresented regions. To apply for the bursary, please email your motivation letter and CV to the organizers by April 30th.

Registered participants may contribute a talk or poster to the workshop. Please submit your abstract to the organizers by April 30th.

It is our goal to make this workshop as inclusive a possible. We therefore encourage all participants to inform us about specific needs (e.g. child care, mobility, dietary restrictions) during registration.



Dr. Gisela Kopp
Hector Pioneer Fellow
Zukunftskolleg/Department of Biology
University of Konstanz
Room: Y216

This project is part of the overall strategy "University of Konstanz - creative.together" and
is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Ministry of
Science Baden-Württemberg in the framework of the German Excellence Strategy.