UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, JOHANNESBURG

Senior Researcher Lucinda Backwell

Senior Researcher Lucinda Backwell
Position:Experimental Taphonomist
Qualifications:PhD., MSc. Palaeoanthropology, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Bordeaux
Phone:011 7176672
Fax:011 7176694
Email:lucinda.backwell@wits.ac.za
Organisational Unit:
 

Research Interests

Main fields of specialization

Current research

Field projects:                 

2011-14. Kalahari Bushman material culture read by community elders. 

2007-10. Xamkqa Project: Bone modification by Kalahari Bushmen, Botswana.

2005-12. Wonderkrater: excavation of a Middle Stone Age spring and peat mound site, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

2005-09. Heelbo: excavation of a fossil large mammal mass death assemblage, Free State Province, South Africa.

2008. Sibudu Cave Middle Stone Age site, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

1993-96. Gladysvale Cave early hominin site, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

Kromdraai early hominin site, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

Coopers early hominin site, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

Hoedjiespunt Pleistocene hominin site, Saldanha Bay, South Africa.

Pleistocene Research Project. Excavation and survey. Free State, South Africa.

Suikerbosrand Iron Age site, Gauteng, South Africa.

KwaMaza Iron Age site, Stoffberg, South Africa.

1995. Field Assistant: Palaeoanthropology Summer School, Department of Anatomy and Human Biology, Wits University. 

 

 

Publications

Journal articles:

Backwell, L.R., McCarthy, T., Wadley, L., Henderson, Z., Steininger, C., deKlerk, B., Barre, M., Lamothe, M., Chase, B.M., Woodborne, S., Susino, G., Bamford, M., Sievers, C., Brink, J., Rossouw, L., Pollarolo, L., Trower, G., Scott, L., d’Errico, F. 2014. Multiproxy record of late Quaternary climate change and Middle Stone Age human occupation at Wonderkrater, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews. 99: 42-59. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.06.017. www.researchgate.net/profile/Lucinda_Backwell

Taru, P. and Backwell, L.R.  2014. Hair morphology of some artiodactyls from southern Africa. Annals of the Transvaal Museum. 4: 26-32. PDF.

Taru, P. and Backwell, L.R. 2013. Identification of fossil hairs in Parahyaena brunnea coprolites from Middle Pleistocene deposits at Gladysvale cave, South Africa, Journal of Archaeological Science. 40(10): 3674-3685. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.04.031. PDF

Backwell, L.R., Parkinson, A., Roberts, E., d'Errico, F. & Huchet, J-B. 2012. Criteria for identifying bone modification by termites in the fossil record. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 337-338: 72-87. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.03.032. PDF

d’Errico, F., Backwell, L.R., Villa, P., Degano, I., Lucejko, J., Bamford, M., Higham, T., Colombini, M.P., Beaumont, P. 2012. Early evidence of San material culture represented by organic artifacts from Border Cave, South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109(33): 13214-13219: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1204213109. PDF

d’Errico, F., Backwell, L.R., Villa, P., Degano, I., Lucejko, J., Bamford, M., Higham, T., Colombini, M.P., Beaumont, P. 2012. Reply to Evans: use of castor bean for poison still the most parsimonious argument. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109(48): E3291–E3292. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1214711109. PDF

Villa, P., Soriano, S., Tsanova, T., Higham, T., d’Errico, F., Backwell, L.R., Lucejko, J., Beaumont, P. 2012. Border Cave and the beginning of the Later Stone Age in South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109(33): 13208-13213. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1202629109. PDF

d’Errico, F. Backwell, L.R. & Wadley, L. 2012. Indentifying regional variability in Middle Stone Age bone technology. The case of Sibudu Cave. Journal of Archaeological Science. 39: 2479-2495. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.01.040. PDF

Barré, M, Lamothe, M., Backwell, L.R. & McCarthy, T. 2012. Optical dating of quartz and feldspars: A comparative study from Wonderkrater, a Middle Stone Age site in South Africa. Quaternary Geochronology. 10: 374-379. DOI:10.1016/j.quageo.2012.01.009. PDF

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2010. Comment on Shipman 'The animal connection and human evolution'. Current Anthropology.51(4): 525-526. PDF

McCarthy, T.S., Ellery, W.N., Backwell, L.R., Marren, P., de Klerk, B., Tooth, S., Brandt, D., Woodborne, S. 2010. The character, origin and palaeoenvironmental significance of the Wonderkrater spring and peat mound, South Africa. Journal of African Earth Sciences58: 115-126. PDF

Backwell, L.R., Pickering, R., Brothwell, D., Berger, L.R., Witcomb, M., Martill, D., Penkman, K. & Wilson, A. 2009. Probable human hair found in a fossil hyaena coprolite from Gladysvale cave, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science36(6): 1269-1276. PDF

d'Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2009. Assessing the function of early hominin bone tools. Journal of Archaeological Science36: 1764?1773. PDF

de Ruiter, D.J., Pickering, R., Steininger, C.M., Kramers, J.D., Hancox, P.J., Churchill, S.E., Berger, L.R., Backwell, L.R. 2009. New hominin fossils from Cooper?s Cave (Gauteng, South Africa) and the first U-Pb date for Australopithecus robustusJournal of Human Evolution56(5): 497-513. PDF

Berger, L.R., Pickering, R., Kuhn, B., Backwell, L.R., Hancox, J. & Kramers, J.D. 2009. The first recorded occurrence of a fossil brown hyaena (Parahyaena brunnea) latrine (midden) in a cave setting in Africa from Gladysvale Cave, South Africa.Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology279(3-4): 131-236.PDF

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2008. Early hominid bone tools from Drimolen. Journal of Archaeological Science35(11): 2880-2894.PDF

Backwell, L.R., d'Errico, F. & Wadley, L. 2008. Middle Stone Age bone tools from the Howiesons Poort layers, Sibudu Cave, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science . 35(6): 1566-1580. PDF

Cukrowska, E., Pole, S., McCarthy, T.S., Backwell, L.R. & Steininger, C. 2005. The chemical removal of manganese dioxide coatings from fossil bones . South African Journal of Science . 101(1/2): 101-103. PDF

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2004. The first use of bone tools: a reappraisal of the evidence from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.Palaeontologia africana40: 95-158. PDF

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2003. Additional evidence on the early hominid bone tools from Swartkrans with reference to spatial distribution of lithic and organic artefacts. South African Journal of Science99(5/6): 259-267. PDF

d'Errico, F., Henshilwood, C., Lawson, G., Vanhaeren, M., Bresson, F., Soressi, M., Tillier, A.M., Maureille, B., Nowell, A., Lakarra, J., Backwell, L.R. & Julien, M. 2003. Archaeological evidence for the emergence of language, symbolism and music ? an alternative multidisciplinary perspective. Journal of World Prehistory. 17(1): 1-70. PDF

d'Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2003. Possible evidence of bone tool shaping from the early hominid site of Swartkrans, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science. 30: 1559-1576. PDF

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2001. Evidence of termite foraging by Swartkrans early hominids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. United States of America. 98(4): 1358-1363. PDF

d'Errico, F., Backwell, L.R., & Berger, L.R. 2001. Bone tool use in termite foraging by early hominids and its impact on understanding early hominid behaviour. South African Journal of Science97: 71-75. PDF

d'Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2001. Les premiers outils en os. Pour la Science. 284: 24.

Backwell, L.R., Dane, G. H., Gabamondi, K. J., Fenn, G.J., Names, C.M., Pennifer, P.M. 1996. Report on the Late Iron Age site of Twyfelpoort, Free State, South Africa. Journal of Field Archaeology5: 84-95.

Books: 

d’Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. (Eds) 2005. From Tools to Symbols. From Early Hominids to Modern Humans. Proceedings of a conference in honour of Professor Phillip Tobias. Wits University Press.

Chapters in books:

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2014. Palaeolithic bone tools. In C. Smith (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, Vol. 2. Springer, New York, pp. 950-962. Print: ISBN 978-1-4419-0426-3; Online: ISBN 978-1-4419-0465-2 (see researchgate)

Caruana, M., d’Errico, F., Backwell, L.R. 2013. Early hominin social learning strategies underlying the use and production of bone and stone tools. In: C. Sanz, C. Boesch, J. Call (Eds.). Tool Use in Animals: Cognition and Ecology. Cambridge University Press, pp. 242-285. (see researchgate)

d’Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2007. From Swartkrans to Arcy-sur-Cure. The use of bone tools in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic. In E. Baquedano (Ed.), El Universo Neanderthal, pp. 101-143. Fundación Duques de Soria, Spain. ISBN 978-84-95803-56-6 PDF

McCarthy, T.S. and Rubidge, B. 2005. The Story of Earth and Life. A South African Perspective on a 4.6 Billion Year Journey. Contributing author to Chapter 10, Arrival of Humans, pp. 274-295. Struik Publishers, Cape Town. ISBN 1 77007 148 2.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2005. The origin of bone tool technology and the identification of early hominid cultural traditions, pp. 238-275. In F. d'Errico & L.R. Backwell (Eds), From Tools to Symbols. From Early Hominids to Modern Humans. Wits University Press. ISBN 1-86814-417-8 PDF

d’Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2005. Searching for common ground in Palaeoanthropology, Archaeology and Genetics, pp. 1-8. In From Tools to Symbols. From Early Hominids to Modern Humans, F. d'Errico & L.R. Backwell (Eds). Wits University Press. ISBN 1-86814-417-8 PDF

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2004. Additional evidence of early hominid bone tools from Swartkrans. In C.K. Brain (Ed.), Swartkrans, a Cave's Chronicle of Early Man, 2nd edition, pp. 279-295. Transvaal Museum Monograph No. 8. ISBN 0-907990-01-0 (see researchgate)

Conference proceedings:

Backwell, L.R. Wadley, L., McCarthy, T.S., Chase, B.M., Scott, L. 2014. Wonderkrater peat mound: Middle Stone Age site amid a multiproxy record of climate change.Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference of the Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa. Johannesburg. 11-14 July. 49: x. (In press).

Val, A., Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F., Berger, L.R. 2012. Post-mortem in 3D: new methods to assess the spatial taphonomy of the Malapa early hominins. Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa 18th meeting, Cape Town, South Africa, 5-8 September. Palaeontologia Africana. 47: 55-56.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2009. Additional evidence of early hominid bone tools from South Africa. First attempt at exploring inter-site variability. Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa. Palaeontologia africana. 44: 91-94.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2008. Multifocus microscopy confirms bone tool utilisation by early hominids at Drimolen, South Africa. Microscopy Society of Southern Africa, 46th Annual Conference.  21-25 July, University of Botswana. 38: 80.

Backwell, L.R., Steininger, C.M, Brink, J., Neveling, J., Rossouw, L. & Pereira, L. 2007. Large mammal mass death accumulation in the Holocene of South Africa. Palaeontologia africana. 42: 118.

Mothupi, T. & Backwell, L.R. 2007. Taphonomy of the Late Pleistocene Plover’s Lake faunal assemblage. Palaeontologia africana. 42: 127-128.

Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F. 2004. Reassessing early hominid bone tool traditions through experimentation and microscopic analysis. Microscopy Society of Southern Africa, pg. 91.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2002. Microscopic evidence for deliberate shaping of bone tools by South African early hominids. 15th International Congress on Electron Microscopy. Proceedings 2. Biology and Medicine, Durban. September 1-5, pp. 625-626.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2002. Possible evidence of deliberate shaping on the Swartkrans early hominid bone tools.  Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, New York. April 10-14, pg. 39.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2000. A new functional interpretation of the Swartkrans early hominid bone tools. Abstract for the Paleoanthropology Society Meeting. Journal of Human Evolution. 38(3): A4-A5.

Conference abstracts:

Backwell, L.R. Wadley, L., McCarthy, T.S., Chase, B.M., Scott, L. 2014. Wonderkrater peat mound: Middle Stone Age site amid a multiproxy record of climate change. Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference of the Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa, 11-14 July.

Val, A., Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F., Berger, L.R. 2013. Spatial analysis of Australopithecus sediba fossils in 3D and taphonomic implications. 22nd meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society, Hawaii, 2-3 April.

Val, A., Dirks, P., Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F. and Berger, L. 2013. A forensic approach to understand the taphonomy of the hominins from the Malapa site. Fourth East African Association of Palaeoanthropology and Palaeontology  (EAAPP) conference, Mombasa, Kenya, 28 July-2 August.

d’Errico, F., Backwell, L.R., Villa, P., Degano, I., Lucejko, J., Bamford, M., Higham, T., Colombini, M.P., Beaumont, P. 2012. Organic artefacts from Border Cave: earliest evidence of San material culture. European Society for the study of Human Evolution. Bordeaux, France, 21-22 September.

Taru, P., Backwell, L., 2011. Taxonomic identification of fossil hairs in Parahyaena brunnea coprolites from Middle Pleistocene deposits at Gladysvale Cave, South Africa. Third East African Asssociation of Palaeoanthropology and Palaeontology (EAAP) conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 8-12 August.

Val, A., Conforti, D., Sgrenzaroli, M., Backwell, L., d'Errico, F., and Berger, L. 2011. A 3D approach to understanding the depositional context of australopithecines from the Plio-Pleistocene cave site of Malapa, South Africa. Third East African Asssociation of Palaeoanthropology and Palaeontology (EAAP) Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 8-12 August.

Barre, M., Lamothe, M., Backwell, L. 2011. A comparative study of two luminescence dosimeters from a Middle Stone Age site in South Africa. 13th  International Conference on Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance Dating. Toru?, Poland. 10-14 July.

Backwell, L.R., McCarthy, T., Wadley, L., Henderson, Z., Lamothe, M., Barre, M., Scott, L., Steininger, C., Sievers, C., Woodborne, S., Chase, B.M., Pollarolo, L., Brink, J., deKlerk, B., Sukumar, R., Rossouw, L., Sheshashayee, M.S. 2010. Report on excavations at Wonderkrater, a late Pleistocene spring and peat mound site in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa meeting. Howick, 5-8 August.

Caruana, M., Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F. 2010. Learning strategies among early hominins. Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa meeting. Howick, 5-8 August.

d’Errico, F., Henshilwood, C., Vanhaeren, M., Backwell, L.R., Garcia Moreno, R., Rifkin, R. 2010. The origin of symbolic material culture. Models, methods, data, and research perspectives. Pleistocene Art of the World Congress 2010. International Federation of Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO). Tarascon-sur-Ariège and Foix, France. 6-11 September.

Parkinson, A., Backwell, L.R., Roberts, E., d’Errico, F., Huchet, J-B. & Val, A. 2010. The effects of termites on mammal and bird bone. International Council for Zooarchaeology (ICAZ) Conference. Paris, 23-28 August.

Parkinson, A., Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F., Huchet, J.-B., Roberts, E. 2010. The microscopic effects of termite damage on mammal and bird bone. 48th Annual Conference of the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa. Bela-Bela, 26- 29 October.

Val, A., Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F. 2010. Hunting or Scavenging? Assessing subsistence strategies in the Middle Stone Age through 3D analysis of cut marks. International Council for Zooarchaeology (ICAZ) Conference. Paris, 23-28 August.

Backwell, L.R., Witcomb, M.J., Berger, L.R., Pickering, R. & Brothwell, D. 2009. Scanning electron microscopy reveals oldest known hominin hair from Gladysvale Cave, South Africa. Microscopy Society of Southern Africa. Durban, 3-6 December.

d’Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2009. Early hominin bone tools: archaeological reflection of different eco-cultural niches? Understanding Tool Use. Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Cognition and Ecology of Tool Using Behaviors. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. 3-5 December.

Backwell, L.R., d’Errico. 2009. Early hominids: bone tools and behaviour. Association of Southern African Indexers and Bibliographers International Conference. Maropeng.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2008. Additional evidence of early hominid bone tool use and modification. First attempt at exploring inter-site variability. Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa Meeting, Matjiesfontein. 11-15 September.

Backwell, L.R. 2008. Africa as the Cradle of Humankind: fossil evidence of human evolution. South African Association of Science and Technology Educators (SAASTE) 4th Biennial Conference, University of the Witwatersrand. 1-4 July.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2006. Early hominid bone tool technology and utilisation in eastern and southern Africa. Abstract for the Paleoanthropology Society Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 24-26 April.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2006. Bone tools and the cultural adaptations of early hominids from South and East Africa. African Genesis Conference, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School. 8-14 January.

Backwell, L.R., Steininger, C.M., Brink, J., Neveling, J., Rossouw, L. & Pereira, L. 2006.

Large mammal mass death accumulation in the Holocene of South Africa. Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa Meeting, Albany Museum and Rhodes University, Grahamstown. 7-10 September.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2005. The earliest use of elephant bone. A reappraisal of the Olduvai evidence. “The World of Elephants” 2nd International Congress, Hot Springs, South Dakota, USA. 22-25 September.

Pole, S., Cukrowska, E., McCarthy, T.S., Backwell, L.R. & Steininger, C. 2005. The chemical removal of manganese dioxide coatings from fossil bones from the Cradle of Humankind. Fifth International Bone Diagenesis Conference. University of Cape Town. 28-31 August.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2004. Reassessing early hominid bone tool traditions through experimentation and microscopic analysis. Microscopy Society of Southern Africa 43rd Annual Conference. University of Pretoria. 30 November-3 December.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2004. New data on the early hominid bone tools from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, GeoScience Africa Conference, Johannesburg. 12-16 July. 

Pole, S., Cukrowska, E., McCarthy, T. S., Backwell, L.R. & Steininger, C. 2004. The chemical removal of manganese dioxide coatings from fossil bones from the Cradle of Humankind, GeoScience Africa Conference, Johannesburg.  12-16 July.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2003. The origin of bone tool technology and the identification of early hominid cultural traditions. From Tools to Symbols. From Early Hominids to Modern Humans conference. Johannesburg. 16-18 March.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 2002. What the bones tell us. New information on the Swartkrans early hominid bone tools. Palaeontological Society 12th Biennial Meeting. Bloemfontein. 3-7 October.

d’Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2001. Early hominid cultural traditions and technical systems: the full picture. Possible evidence of bone tool shaping from Swartkrans, South Africa. Knapping stone.  A Unique Hominid Behaviour?  International Workshop, Abbaye des Prémontrés, Paris. 21-24 November.

d’Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2000. Bone tool use and the identification of early hominid cultural traditions. New data from Swartkrans and Sterkfontein. 11th Biennial Conference of the Palaeontological Society of southern Africa. Transvaal Museum, Pretoria. 4-8 September.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 1999. A reassessment of ‘bone tools’ from the early hominid sites of Swartkrans and Sterkfontein. Archaeological Sciences 99 Conference, University of Bristol, United Kingdom. 20-22 September.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. 1999. The application of SEM, confocal microscopy and image analysis to assess the first use of bone by early hominids. Microscopy Society of Southern Africa 38th Annual Conference. University of the Free State, South Africa. 1-3 December.

Research reports:

Backwell, L.R. 2008. Report on 2005 ' 2007 excavations at Wonderkrater, a late Quaternary spring and peat mound site in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Submitted to South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA).

Backwell, L.R. 2008. Report on 2005 ' 2007 excavations at Heelbo I, a large mammal mass death assemblage in Free State Province, South Africa.Submitted to South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA).

Theses:

Backwell, L.R. 2004. Early Hominid Bone Tool Industries. PhD. submitted by publications. University of the Witwatersrand and University of Bordeaux I.

Backwell, L.R. 2000. A Critical Assessment of Southern African 'Early Hominid Bone Tools'. Unpublished MSc. University of the Witwatersrand.

Other outputs:

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2009. Additional evidence of early hominid bone tools from South Africa. First attempt at exploring inter-site variability. Palaeontologia africana extended abstract44: 91-94.

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2009. Bone tools and early hominin diet. Society of Archaeological Sciences (SAS) Bulletin, USA. 32(2): 8-12.

d'Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. 2009. Les outils en os des hominid's d'Afrique australe. Analyse de collections in'dites et nouvelle 'tude fonctionnelle. Eurasie, Eurafrique: quels premiers peuplements avant l'OIS 15' Meeting of the Institut de Prehistoire et de Geologie de Quaternaire, University of Bordeaux.

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2008. Bone tools and the cultural adaptations of early hominids in Africa. Wits Nano News. DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials, University of the Witwatersrand.

Backwell, L.R. 2007-09.Department of Education Teacher Training Lecture Series.' Syllabus and tips on teaching human evolution as part of the new school curriculum.

Steininger, C., Hardy, Y. & Backwell, L.R. 2005. Walking Tall. The Story of Human Evolution.' An Educator Booklet for Senior Learners. Published by the Palaeontology Scientific Trust.

Backwell, L.R. & d'Errico, F. 2001. First evidence of termite foraging by Swartkrans early hominids. Dart. Newsletter of the Institute for the Study of Man in Africa2(2): 2-4.

Documentaries:

2014 San ostrich trap http://vimeo.com/90326902

2013 A Shaman's Journey. The last elders [Le voyage de Kgonta Bo, le chaman].

Documentary film produced by MC4, with the participation of France Télévisions and Planète Thalassa for France 5 Television.

2012 San material culture PNAS  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIClywV2Brk

2008 Department of Science and Technology. Progress of Science, Human Origins Education (SABC 1)  

2004 National Geographic Society

2003 African Solutions (SABC 3)  

2002 Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site (Discovery Channel, Canada)

2001 Discovery Channel (Canada)

Technologic (Summit TV)

Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site

2001 Odyssey of Mankind (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen)

In preparation:

Zhang, S., d’Errico, F., Backwell, L.R., Zhang, Y., Stiner, M.C., Chen, F., Gao, X.  Early evidence of complex bone tool technology from the Late Pleistocene site of Ma’anshan, southern China. Journal of Archaeological Science.

Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F. & Brooks, A. Osseous projectile weaponry from Early – Late Middle Stone Age Africa.  In "Osseous Projectile Weaponry: Towards an Understanding of Pleistocene Cultural Variability", M.C. Langley (Ed.), Cambridge University Press.

Backwell, L.R., Harrison, J.G., Roberts, E., Sym, S., Witcomb, M., Erasmus, R. Nhauro, G., Penkman, K., d’Errico, F., Tawane, M., Val, A. & Berger, L.R. Invertebrate modification of Australopithecus sediba and fauna from Malapa.

Backwell, L.R., Harrison, J.G., Roberts, E., Kruger, A., Engelbrecht, M. & Berger, L.R. Taphonomy of hominin and faunal remains from the Rising Star early hominin site, South Africa.

Backwell, L.R., d’Errico, F. & Wadley, L. Bone tools from Middle Stone Age deposits at Sibudu Cave.

Backwell, L.R., Wadley, L., d’Errico, F., Carlson, K., Jashashvili, T. Modern San hunters, experimental replication, micro ct-tomography and the use of bone arrow points in the Middle Stone Age.

Backwell, L.R., Val, A. & Porraz, G. Bone tools from Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age levels at Bushman Rock Shelter.

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. Origins of ritual mortuary practice: a reappraisal of the fossil evidence. 

Backwell, L.R. & d’Errico, F. Kalahari Bushmen material culture read by community elders. Book recording modern San elders describing in their own words and demonstrating the use of traditional artefacts housed at Museum Africa.

Backwell, L.R., Brink, J., Steininger, C., Neveling, J., Abdala, F., Pereira, L., Rossouw, L. & Shipman, P. Drought-induced fossil mass death assemblage in the interior of South Africa.

Churchill, S.E., Berger, L.R., Pettitt, P.B., de Ruiter, D.J., Hall, G., Skinner, A.R., Pike, A.W.G., Gilmore, M.A., Hancox, P.J., Backwell, L.R., Rhodes, J.A. Excavation of Middle Stone Age Levels and new hominin remains from Plovers Lake, Gauteng Province, South Africa.

d’Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. Bone percussors from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

d’Errico, F. & Backwell, L.R. The Border Cave infant burial and associated Conus shell.

Backwell, L.R. and Martínez, J.G. Taphonomy of primary and secondary Holocene burials in the Argentine Puna. Ecology, cultural transmission and change.

d’Errico, F. Backwell, L.R. & Lesnik, J. Refining the functional interpretation of early hominin bone tools: new experiments and texture analyses.

 

Review articles of my work:            

Balter, M. 2012. Ice Age tools hint at 40,000 years of Bushman culture. Science. 337: 512.

Balter, M. 2009. Oldest human hair found? Science. 323 (5922): 1651b.

Shipman, P. 2001. What can you do with a bone fragment? Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 98(4): 1335-1337.

Gilliatte, K. 2001. Experiments suggest ancient bone tools used for termite-hunting. Athena Review. Quarterly Journal of Archaeology, History, and Exploration. 3(1): 7-9.

Teaching

Higher degree supervision:  

Doctor of Philosophy of Science (PhD.)

Ashley Kruger. Ongoing. Site formation processes at two early hominin cave sites in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa: 3D reconstruction and taphonomy of Malapa and Rising Star. Co-supervisor. Registered November 2014.

Gary Trower. Ongoing. Assessing the function of MSA lithics from Sibudu Cave. Co-supervisor. Registered January 2014.

Aurore Val.  2013. A 3D approach to understanding the site formation process and taphonomy of hominin remains from the Plio-Pleistocene site of Malapa, South Africa”. Supervisor.

Phillip Taru, PhD. 2012. Identification of mammalian species represented by fossil hairs in Parahyaena brunnea coprolites from Middle Pleistocene deposits at Gladysvale Cave, South Africa. Supervisor.

Mirriam Tawane, PhD. 2012. Dental size and frequency of pathologies in the teeth of a small-bodied population of Mid-Late Holocene Micronesians, Palau Micronesia. Co-supervisor.

Ryan Franklin, PhD. 2010. The Recognition, Frequency, and Taxonomic Association of Skeletal Pathology from Selected Plio-Pleistocene-Aged Sites from the Cradle of Humankind, Witwatersrand, South Africa. Co-supervisor.

Stephen Pole, PhD. 2008. The chemical removal of manganese dioxide coatings from fossil bone. Co-supervisor.

Master of Science (MSc.)

Alexander Parkinson, MSc. 2013. Dermestes maculatus and Periplaneta americana: bone modification criteria and establishing their potential as climatic indicators. Supervisor.

Godwin Nhauro, MSc. 2010. Characterization of the elemental deposits in fossils from the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa and modern bones from the same geological area. Co-supervisor.

Bonita De Klerk, MSc. 2008 (cum laude). An osteological documentation of hybrid wildebeest and its bearing on black wildebeest evolution. Co-supervisor.

Nonhlanhla Vilakazi, MSc. 2008. An osteological comparison between bontebok, Damaliscus pygargus pygargus, and blesbok, Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi and its bearing on the evolution of bontebok. Co-supervisor.

Ryan Franklin, MSc. 2006. The Recognition, Frequency, and Taxonomic Association of Skeletal Pathology from the Plio-Pleistocene-Aged Site of Cooper's D, Witwatersrand, South Africa. Upgraded to PhD. 

Honours (Hons.)

Megan Andrew, Hons. 2013. Supervisor.

Erica da Silva Mbatha, Hons. 2013. Co-supervisor.

Alexander Parkinson, Hons. 2010. Supervisor.

Nonhlanhla Vilakazi, Hons. 2005. Supervisor.

Tebogo Mothupi, Hons. 2005. Supervisor.

Gina Ramage, Hons. 2004. Supervisor.

Postdocs:

2013 Val, Aurore (French)

2012 Taru, Phillip (Zimbabwean)

2007 Pollarolo, Luca (Italian)

 

Teaching:            

Lecture undergraduate Palaeoanthropology: 2006 - present

School of Geosciences (1st year Geology: GEOL1000)

Current Lecturer Performance rating: 8.87  (95 students) 

 

2006-2013 Lecture undergraduate Palaeoanthropology:

School of Animal Plant and Environmental Studies (3rd year Zoology: APES3029).

Lecturer Performance rating: average 9.0  (10 students) 

 

Lecture postgraduate Honours course for Evolutionary Studies Institute: Topics include Vertebrate Taphonomy, Lab Techniques: microscopy, photography and related computer software like Adobe Photoshop, and delivering PowerPoint presentations.

 

Student evaluation of lecturer performance:

Year

 

Course

 

Core items

 

Free choice

 

Science Faculty

                     
       

Lecturer

Univ.

 

Lecturer

Univ.

 

rating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     

2014

 

GEOL1000

 

8.99

7.77

 

8.84

7.83

 

Top 10%

2013

 

APES3029

 

8.98

7.75

 

8.86

7.82

 

Top 15%

2013

 

GEOL1000

 

9.05

7.73

 

8.93

7.75

 

Top 15%

2012

 

GEOL1000

 

8.79

7.66

 

8.59

7.74

 

Top 20%

2011

 

APES3029

 

9.30

7.65

 

9.35

7.67

 

Top   5%

2011

 

GEOL1000

 

9.14

7.64

 

9.22

7.87

 

Top   5%

2010

 

GEOL1000

 

8.72

7.61

 

8.54

7.67

 

Top 10%

2009

 

GEOL1000

 

9.20

7.61

 

9.25

7.67

 

Top   5%

2009

 

APES3029

 

8.58

7.61

 

8.86

7.66

 

Top 15%

2008

 

GEOL1000

 

8.84

7.59

 

8.80

7.88

 

Top 15%

2007

 

APES3029

 

9.10

7.57

 

9.02

7.85

 

Top   5%

2007

 

GEOL1000

 

8.98

7.56

 

8.81

7.56

 

Top   5%

2006

 

APES301T

 

9.10

7.53

 

9.24

7.82

 

Top   5%

2006

 

GEOL104

 

9.10

7.53

 

9.24

7.82

 

Top   5%

2005

 

GEOL122

 

8.68

7.51

 

8.68

7.79

 

Top 10%

2004

 

GEOL122

 

8.65

7.48

 

8.63

7.71

 

Top 10%

                     

 

Awards/recognition:

2014 Voted “Best 1st year Lecturer” by Wits University School of Geosciences Geological Student Society.

2012 Journal of Archaeological Science Top cited article 2007-2011.

2011 NRF rating: C1 (valid 2012 - 2017).

Promoted to Senior Researcher.

2010 Voted “Best Lecturer for 1st year”, by Wits University School of Geosciences Geological Student Society. Voted “Coolest Lectures for 1st year”, by Wits University School of Geosciences Geological Student Society.

2009 Voted “Best 1st year Lecturer”, by Wits University School of Geosciences Geological Student Society.

FEI Prize (Life Sciences) for the best paper on electron microscopy published in an international journal. “Probable human hair found in a fossil hyaena coprolite from Gladysvale cave, South Africa.”

Science Direct 6th most downloaded paper in first quarter for Journal of Archaeological Science.

2008 Top 100 Science Stories Discover Magazine.

2004 First South African woman to be awarded a PhD. in Palaeoanthropology at a local institution.

2003 University Postgraduate Local Merit Scholarship.

2002 University Council Postgraduate Scholarship. University Postgraduate Merit Award.

2001 S2A3 Medal. Presented by the South African Association for the Advancement of Science: Most distinguished Masters Degree in the Faculty of Science for 2000.

Top 100 Science Stories Discover magazine: “Evidence of termite foraging by Swartkrans early hominids”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

University Council Postgraduate Scholarship.

Postgraduate Merit Award.

2000 MSc. in Palaeoanthropology (cum laude), University of the Witwatersrand Medical School.

Postgraduate Local Merit Scholarship.

University Postgraduate Merit Award. Category A Award for 2000.

Lystrosaurus Shield: Best student paper presented at the 11th Biennial Conference of the Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa.

 

Membership of Societies:

Academy of Science of South Africa

Royal Society of South Africa 

Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa (secretary)

Microscopy Society of Southern Africa

South African Archaeological Society

Society of Africanist Archaeologists

Palaeoanthropology Society

Leakey Foundation Alumni Society

Jane Goodall Institute

European Society for the study of Human Evolution 

 

Reviewer for the following journals:          

African Journal of Ecology

American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Journal of African Archaeology

Journal of Archaeological Science

Journal of Field Archaeology

Journal of Human Evolution

Palaeoanthropology

Quaternary International

South African Archaeological Bulletin

Southern African Humanities

South African Journal of Science


Associate Editor: 

Palaeontologia africana