• Dan Cabanes
  • Dan Cabanes
  • Acting Graduate Director July 1 2023 to June 30 2024
  • Associate Professor, Anthropology, SAS
  • Specialization: Microarchaeology, Site Formation Processes, Phytoliths, FTIR, Diagenesis, Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition, Neanderthals, Anatomically Modern Humans, Activity Areas, Urban Centres, Levantine Bronze and Iron Age; Europe, the Levant.
  • Degree and University: Ph.D. Universitat Rovira i Vigili, Tarragona, Spain, 2009
  • Office: BIO-203A
  • Office Hours: Spring 24 - Tuesday 11 am to noon or by appointment
  • Phone: 848-932-9393



University Rovira and Virgili (Tarragona), History degree, 2000
University Rovira and Virgili (Tarragona), History, MA, 2002
University Rovira and Virgili (Tarragona), Doctoral Thesis. 2009 Advisors: R.M. Albert and E. Carbonell. Title: The study of formation processes of archaeological sediments and paleosoils through the analysis of phytoilths, minerals and other microremains


Academic Appointments

Cabanesinfieldscaled1002015 – 2016: Plant Foods in Hominin Dietary Ecology Research Group, Department of Human Evolution. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany). Post-doctoral researcher.

2012 – 2015: Department of Prehistory, Ancient History and Archaeology, Universitat de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain). Juan de la Cierva Post-doctoral contract (Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Spanish government).

2010–2012: Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel). Beatriu de Pinós Post-doctoral fellowship (Agaur, Catalonian government).

2009–2010: Institute of Archaeology, Tel-Aviv University (Tel-Aviv, Israel). Post-doctoral fellowship FP-7 CORDIS European Research Council.

2006–2009: Prehistory Department, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain). Atapuerca Fundation pre-doctoral fellowship.

2001–2005: Prehistory Department, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain). Pre-doctoral fellowship Ministry of Science and Education (Spanish government).


Research Interest

Microarchaeology, Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition, Phytoliths, FTIR, Mineralogy, Fire Technology, Levantine Urban Centers, Paleodemography, Site Formation Processes, Human Evolution

As a microarchaeologist specialized in phytolith and FTIR analysis my capabilities lie halfway between Archaeobotany and Geoarcheology. My main research interest is the evolution of the anthropogenic impact in archaeological sediments as a proxy for biological, social, and economic changes. In other words, I try to understand how human activities had modified the microscopic sedimentary record, and what can this microscopic record tell us about site formation processes, human behavior, and adaptation strategies in the past. To investigate these questions, I focus on the minerals and micro-botanical remains preserved in the archaeological record. So far I studied three critical periods in human history: the emergence of the genus Homo in Africa, the transition from the Middle to Upper Paleolithic in Europe, and the evolution of the urban centers in the Levant. I also have lead ground-breaking research on phytolith preservation and collaborated in the development of a fast method for phytolith analyses.


Link to Lab


Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Esteban, I., De Vynck, J.C., Singels, E., Vlok, J., Marean, C.W., Cowling, R.M., Fisher, E.C., Cabanes, D., Albert, R.M. In press.  Modern soil phytolith assemblages used as proxies for Paleoscape reconstruction on the south coast of South Africa. Quaternary International.

Vergès, J.M., Burguet-Coca, A., Allué, E., Expósito, I., Guardiola, M., Martín, P., Morales, J.I., Burjachs, F., Cabanes, D., Carrancho, Á., Vallverdú, J. In press. The Mas del Pepet experimental programme for the study of prehistoric livestock practices: Preliminary data from dung burning. Quaternary International.

Sanz, M., Daura, J., Égüez, N., Cabanes, D. In press. On the track of anthropogenic activity in carnivore dens: Altered combustion structures in Cova del Gegant (NE Iberian Peninsula). Quaternary International.

Rodríguez, A., Cabanes, D. In press. Phytolith and FTIR studies applied to combustion structures: the case of the Middle Paleolithic site of El Salt (Alcoy, Alicante). Quaternary International.

Asscher, Y., Cabanes, D., Hitchcok, L., Maeir, A.M., Weiner, S., Boaretto, E. 2015. Radiocarbon Dating Shows an Early Appearance of Philistine Material Culture in Tell es-Safi/Gath, Philistia. Radiocarbon, 57 (5), pp 825-850.

Balbo, A.L., Cabanes, D., García-Granero, J.J., Bonet, A., Ajithprasad, P., Terradas, X. 2015.  A microarchaeological approach for the study of pits. Environmental Archaeology, 20 (4), pp. 390-405.

Regev, L., Cabanes, D., Homsher, R., Kleiman, A., Weiner, S., Finkelstein, I., Shahack-Gross, R. In press. Geoarchaeological Investigations in a Domestic Iron Age Quarter, Tel Megiddo, Israel. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. BASOR 374, pp. 1–24.

Stutz, A.J., Shea, J.J., Rech, J.A., Pigate, J.S., Wilson, J., Belmaker, M., Albert, R.M., Aprin, T., Cabanes, D., Clark, J.L., Hartman, G., Hourani, F., White, C.E., Nilsson Stuttz, L. 2015. Early Upper Paleolihtic chronology in the Levant: New ABOx-SC accelerator mass spectrometry results from the Mughr el Hamamah Site, Jordan. Journal of Human Evolution, 85, pp. 157-173.

Cabanes, D.; Shahack-Gross R. 2015. Understanding Fossil Phytolith Preservation: The Role of Partial Dissolution in Paleoecology and Archaeology. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0125532. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125532.

Ackermann, O., Greenbaum, N., Ayalon, A., Bar-Matthews, M., Boaretto, E., Bruins, H.J., Cabanes, D., Howkitz, L.K., Neumann, F.H., Porat, N., Weiss, E., Maeir, A.M. 2014 Using palaeo-environmental proxies to reconstruct natural and anthropogenic controls on sedimentation rates, Tell es-Safi/Gath, eastern Mediterranean. Anthropocene, 8, pp. 70-82.

Shahack-Gross, R., Boaretto, E., Cabanes, D., Katz, O, Finkelstein, I. 2014. Subsistence Economy in the Negev Highlands: The Iron Age and the Byzantine/Early Islamic Period. Levant, 46, 1, pp. 98-117.

Mallol, C., Hernández, C., Cabanes, D., Machado, J., Sistiaga, A., Pérez, L., Galván, B., 2013. Human Actions Performed on Simple Combustion Structures: An Experimental Approach to the Study of Middle Paleolithic Fire. Quaternary International, 315, pp. 3-15.

Mallol, C., Hernández, C.M., Cabanes, D., Sistiaga, A., Machado, J., Rodríguez, A., Pérez, L. Galván, B., 2013. The black layer of Middle Palaeolithic combustion structures, interpretation and archaeostratigraphic interpretations. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40, pp. 2515-2537.

Albert, R.M., Cau, M.Á., Cabanes, D., 2012. Editorial: The international workshop on site formation and post-depositional processes in archaeology (Barcelona, 2-4 June 2010). Quaternary International, 275, 1-3.

Cabanes, D., Gadot, Y., Cabanes, M., Finkelstein, I., Weiner, S., Shahack-Gross, R., 2012. Human impact around settlement sites: a phytolith and mineralogical study for assessing site boundaries, phytolith preservation, and implications for spatial reconstructions using plant remains. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39, 2607-2705.

Cabanes, D., Weiner, S., Shahack-Gross, R., 2011. Stability of phytoliths in the archaeological record: a dissolution study of modern and fossil phytoliths. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38, 2480-2490.

Namdar, D., Zukerman, A., Maeir, A.M., Katz, J.C., Cabanes, D., Trueman, C., Shahack-Gross, R., Weiner, S., 2011. The 9th century BCE destruction layer at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel: integrating macro- and microarchaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38, 3471-3482.

Cabanes, D., Albert, R.M., 2011. Microarchaeology of a collective burial: cova des Pas (Minorca). Journal of Archaeological Science, 38, 1119-1126.

Katz, O., Cabanes, D., Weiner, S., Maeir, A.M., Boaretto, E., Shahack-Gross, R., 2010. Rapid phytolith extraction for analysis of phytolith concentrations and assemblages during an excavation: an application at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37, 1557-1563.

Cabanes, D., Mallol, C., Expósito, I., Baena, J., 2010. Phytolith evidence for hearths and beds in the late Mousterian occupations of Esquilleu cave (Cantabria, Spain). Journal of Archaeological Science, 37, 2947-2957.

Mallol, C., Cabanes, D., Baena, J., 2010. Microstratigraphy and diagenesis at the upper Pleistocene site of Esquilleu Cave (Cantabria, Spain). Quaternary International, 214, 70-81.

Albert, R.M., Cabanes, D., 2009. Fire in prehistory: An experimental approach to combustion processes and phytolith remains. Israel Journal of Earth Sciences, 56, 175-189.

Cabanes, D., Burjachs, F., Expósito, I., Rodríguez, A., Allué, E., Euba, I., Vergés, J.M., 2009. Formation processes through archaeobotanical remains: The case of the Bronze Age levels in El Mirador cave, Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. Quaternary International, 193, 160-173.

Albert, R.M., Bamford, M.K., Cabanes, D., 2009. Palaeoecological significance of palms at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, based on phytolith remains. Quaternary International, 193, 41-48.

Albert, R.M., Shahack-Gross, R., Cabanes, D., Gilboa, A., Portillo, M., Sharon, I., Boaretto, E., Weiner, S., 2008. Phytolith-rich layers from the Late Bronze and Iron Ages at Tel Dor (Israel): Mode of formation and archaeological significance. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35, 57-75.

Bamford, M.K., Albert, R.M., Cabanes, D., 2006. Plio-Pleistocene macroplant fossil remains and phytoliths from Lowermost Bed II in the eastern paleolake margin of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Quaternary International, 148, 95-112.

Albert, R.M., Bamford, M.K., Cabanes, D., 2006. Taphonomy of phytoliths and macroplants in different soils from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) and the application to Plio-Pleistocene palaeoanthropological samples. Quaternary International, 148, 78-94.


Edited Journal Special Issues

Rosa Maria Albert, Miguel Ángel Cau and Dan Cabanes (Eds.) 2012. Site Formation and Postdepositional Processes in Archaeology (International Workshop, Barcelona, 2–4 June 2010). Quaternary International, 275, pp. 1-136.


Book Chapters

Allué, E., Cabanes, D., Solé, A., Sala, R. 2012. Hearth Functioning and Forest Resource Exploitation Based on the Archeobotanical Assemblage from Level J in: Carbonell E., (Ed.), High Resolution Archaeology and Neanderthal Behavior. Time and Space in level J of Abric Romaní (Capellades, Spain). Springer Netherlands, Dordretch, pp. 373-385.

Cabanes, D., Allué, E., Vallverdú, J., Cáceres, I., Vaquero, M., Pastó, I., 2007. Hearth structure and function at level J (50kyr, bp) from Abric Romaní (Capellades, Spain): phytolith, charcaoal, bones and stone-tools in: Madella, M., Zurro, D. (Eds.), Plant People and Places - Recent Studies in Phytolith Analysis  Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 98-106.