Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau


Ph.D (Geochronology/Geochemistry/Environmental Sciences) December 2010, Australian National University (Australia)

M.Sc in Applied physics to Archaeology (Cum laude) June 2006, University of Bordeaux III, (France)

BA in Archaeology and Applied physics to Archaeology, June 2004, University of Bordeaux III (France)

Research interests / background

Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau’s research focuses on the development and application of direct dating methods and micro-analytical techniques to key questions in archaeological sciences, such as the timing of human evolution, interaction with the surrounding environment and ecological niche, as well as hominids diet and early life history. Specifically, his research is concerned with the understanding of mobilization, incorporation and diffusion of isotopes and radionuclides into animal and human fossil remains, as well as the constant improvement of analytical techniques, such as enhancing methodology, protocols and accuracy of ESR and U-series methods or elemental and isotopic imaging of archaeological remains. Investigating the use of geochemical technique in living humans especially for medical research is also of prime and growing interest.

Key words:

  • Human evolution
  • Archaeometry, geochronology & geochemistry
  • Multimodal imaging of human tissues
  • Reconstruction of early life history of hominids

Portrait of Renaud Joannes-Boyau with a skullSelected research grants and awards

  • ARC Discovery grant (2016) Visualizing evolving South African landscapes & the evolution of early Homo
  • AINSE Research Awards (2015) Understanding the Human Journey: non-destructive elemental mapping of hominin fossil teeth using high-resolution microPIXE analyses
  • Excellence in Research Award (early to mid-career researcher, 2014) in recognition for excellence in field of research.
  • ARC Discovery grant (2013) A new timeline for human evolution using a pioneer non-destructive direct dating method.
  • VC Post-doc Fellowship (2013) Investigation of the mobilisation, incorporation and migration of stable isotopes and radionuclides into animal and human fossil remains for reconstruction of palaeoenvironment, diet and migration patterns.

Post Graduate student supervision


Marie Orange (completed), Andrea Yates (completed), Jonathan Avaro (completed)


Stan Kinis (completed)

Publications (selection)

Richter, D., Grün, R., Joannes-Boyau, R., Steele, T., Amani, F., Rué, M., Fernandes, P., Raynal, J-P., Geraads, D., Ben-Ncer, A., Hublin, J-J., McPherron, S., (2017). The Age of the Jebel Irhoud (Morocco) hominins and the origins of the Middle Stone Age. Nature 546, 293–296.

Dirks, P., Roberts, E., Hilbert-Wolf, H., Kramers, J., Hawks, J., Dosseto, A., Duval, M., Elliott, M., Evans, M., Grün, R., Hellstrom, J., Herries, A., Joannes-Boyau, R., Makhubela, T., Placzek, C., Robbins, J., Spandler, C., Wiersma, J., Woodhead, J., Berger, L. (2017). The age of Homo naledi and associated sediments in the Rising Star Cave, South Africa. Elife 6, e24231.

Smith, T.M.*, Austin, C.*, Green, D.R.* Joannes-Boyau, R.* Bailey, S., Dumitriu, D., Fallon, S., Grün, R., James, H.F., Moncel, M-H., Williams, I.S., Wood, R., Arora, M. (2018) Wintertime stress, nursing, and lead exposure in Neanderthal children. Science Advances 4: eaau9483

Westaway, K.E., Louys, J., Due Awe, R., Morwood, M.J., Price, G.J., Zhao, J.-x., Aubert, M., Joannes-Boyau, R., Smith, T., Skinner, M.M., Compton, T., Bailey, R.M., van den Bergh, G.D., de Vos, J., Pike, A.W.G, Stringer, C., Saptomo, E.W., Rizal,Y., Zaim, J., Santoso, WD., Trihascaryo, A., Kinsley, L., Sulistyanto, B. (2017). An early modern human presence in Sumatra at 72-62 kyr. Nature 548, 322–325.

Joannes-Boyau, R., Duval, M., Bodin, T. (2018) MCDoseE 2.0. A new Markov Chain Monte Carlo program for ESR dose response curve fitting and dose evaluation. Quaternary Geochronology.

Herries, A., Murszewski, A., Pickering, R., Mallett, T., Joannes-Boyau, R., Armstrong, B., Adams, J., Baker, S., Blackwood, A., Penzo-Kajewski, P., Kappen,  P., Leece, A., Martin, J., Rovinsky, D., Boschian, G. (2018) Geoarchaeological and 3D visualisation approaches for contextualising in-situ fossil bearing palaeokarst in South Africa: A case study from the 2.61 Ma Drimolen Makondo. Quaternary International 483, 90-110.

Price, G., Cramb, J., Louys, J., Feng, Y., Hocknull, S., Webb, G., Zhao, J-X., Joannes-Boyau, R. (2015). Temporal overlap of humans and giant lizards (Varanidae; Squamata) in Pleistocene Australia. Quaternary Science Review 125, 98-105.

Joannes-Boyau, R., Bodin, T., Scheffers, A., Sambridge, M., May, S.M. (2015). Using Benford's law to investigate Natural Hazard dataset homogeneity, Scientific report 5, 12046.

Austin, C., Smith, T., Bradman, A., Hinde, K., Joannes-Boyau, R., Bishop, D., Hare, D., Doble, P., Eskenazi, B., Arora, M. (2013) Barrium distributions in teeth reveal early life dietary transitions in primates. Nature 498, 216-219.

Joannes-Boyau, R. (2013). Detailed protocol for accurate non-destructive direct dating of human remains. Geochronometria 40, 322-333.