Naomi Martisius - Faculty & Adjuncts

Naomi Martisius, PhD

Naomi Martisius, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow Researcher
College of Arts & Sciences


PhD – University of California, Davis AA – City College of San Francisco MA – University of California, Davis BS – University of California, Davis


Naomi L. Martisius is a Paleolithic archaeologist, specializing in zooarchaeological and osseous artifact analysis. She is currently an NSF SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellow developing 3D microscopic methods for studying modified bones using confocal microscopy. She does this by combining bone raw material properties analyses with microscopy in order to investigate the evolutionary development of osseous technologies. She is also investigating modified bones from the Terminal Pleistocene site of Kharaneh IV, Jordan.

Martisius has conducted research in Europe, southwest Asia, and South Africa, and is interested in questions related to human evolution and decision-making that span broad geographic regions and timescales. She integrates traditional methods with innovative approaches to answer questions related to raw material selection, manufacturing techniques, and use of bone tools.

Research Interests

Bone tool analysis
Microwear analysis
Old world archaeology

Teaching Interests

Bone tool analysis
Old world archaeology
Experimental archaeology


Journal Articles

  • Fewlass, H., Talamo, S., Wacker, L., Kromer, B., Tuna, T., Fagault, Y., Bard, E., McPherron, S.P., Aldeias, V., Maria, R., Martisius, N.L., Paskulin, L., Rezek, Z., Sinet-Mathiot, V., Sirakova, S., Smith, G.M., Spasov, R., Welker, F., Sirakov, N., Tsanova, T., and Hublin, J.J., 2020. A 14C chronology for the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition at Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria. Nature Ecology & Evolution.

  • Martisius, N.L., McPherron, S.P., Schulz-Kornas, E., Soressi, M., and Steele, T.E., 2020. A method for the taphonomic assessment of bone tools using 3D surface texture analysis of bone microtopography. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 12, 251.

  • Hublin, J.J., Sirakov, N., Aldeias, V., Bailey, S., Bard, E., Delvigne, V., Endarova, E., Fagault, Y., Fewlass, H., Hajdinjak, M., Kromer, B., Krumov, I., Marreiros, J., Martisius, N.L., Paskulin, L., Sinet-Mathiot, V., Meyer, M., Pääbo, S., Popov, V., Rezek, Z., Sirakova, S., Skinner, M.M., Smith, G.M., Spasov, R., Talamo, S., Tuna, T., Wacker, L., Welker, F., Wilcke, A., Zahariev, N., McPherron, S.P., and Tsanova, T., 2020. Initial Upper Palaeolithic Homo sapiens from Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria. Nature.

  • Martisius, N.L., Welker, F., Dogandžić, T., Grote, M.N., Rendu, W., Sinet-Mathiot, V., Wilcke, A., McPherron, S.P., Soressi, M., and Steele, T.E., 2020. Non-destructive ZooMS identification reveals strategic bone tool raw material selection by Neandertals. Scientific Reports 10:7746.

  • Martisius, N.L., Sidéra, I., Grote, M.N., Steele, T.E., McPherron, S.P., and Schulz-Kornas, E., 2018. Time wears on: assessing how bone wears using 3D surface texture analysis. PLoS ONE 13(11): e0206078.

  • Soressi, M., McPherron, S.P., Lenoir, M., Dogandžić, T., Goldberg, P., Jacobs, Z., Maigrot, Y., Martisius, N.L., Miller, C.E., Rendu, W., Richards, M., Skinner, M.M., Steele, T.E., Talamo, S., and Texier, J.-P., 2013. Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(35):14186–14190. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302730110

  • Martisius, N.L. (J.W. Eerkens and D.G. Smith, faculty mentors), 2011. Ancient DNA and genetic relations at a 4000-year-old archaeological site (CA-CCO-548) in the California Delta. Explorations: The UC Davis Undergraduate Research Journal, Vol. 14.

  • Sinet-Mathiot, V., Martisius, N.L., Schulz-Kornas, E., Van Casteren, A., Tsanova, T.R., Sirakov, N., Spasov, R., Welker, F., Smith, G.M., and Hublin, J.-J., n.d. Erasing the past: Testing the effect of eraser sampling for proteomic analysis on Palaeolithic bone surface microtopography. Scientific Reports (In Review)

  • Mackay, A., Armitage, S., Niespolo, E., Sharp, W., Stahlschmidt, M., Blackwood, A., Boyd, K., Chase, B.M., Lagle, S., Kaplan, C., Low, M.A., Martisius, N.L., McNeil, P., Moffat, I., Rudd, R., Orton, J., and Steele, T.E., n.d. Innovation, environmental variation, and behavioural diversity in southern Africa ~90-80 000 years ago. Nature Ecology & Evolution (In Review)

  • Smith, G.M., Spasov, R., Martisius, N.L., Sinet-Mahiot, V., Aldeias, V., Rezek, Z., Ruebens, K., Pederzani, S., McPherron, S.P., Sirakova, S., Sirakov, N., Tsanova, T., and Hublin, J.J. 2021. Subsistence behaviour during the Initial Upper Palaeolithic in Europe: Site use, dietary practice, and carnivore exploitation at Bacho Kiro Cave (Bulgaria). Journal of Human Evolution 161, 103074.

Book Chapters

  • Steele, T.E., Mackay, A., Blackwood, A., Lagle, S.E., Martisius, N.L., McNeill, P.J., Orton, J., and Stahlschmidt, M., n.d. Varsche Rivier (VR) 003, South Africa. Handbook of Pleistocene Archaeology of Africa: Hominin Behavior, Geography, and Chronology (Accepted)

Blog Posts

  • Martisius, N.L., 2020. If Neandertals had a bone to pick, which would they choose? Blog post for the Nature Ecology & Evolution Community blog, Behind the Paper (May 8th, 2020). if-neandertals-had-a-bone-to-pick-which-would-they-choose

Professional Affiliations

  • Paleoanthropology Society
  • Society for American Archaeology
  • Anthropology Club, UC Davis
  • Association of Archaeological Wear and Residue Analysts
  • European Society for the study of Human Evolution
  • International Council for Archaeozoology