University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Department of Anthropology

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Professor Stanley H Ambrose PhD

Professor of Center for African Studies
Center for Global Studies

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Research Interests

Modern Human Origins

Stable Isotope Ecology and Paleoecology

Lithic Technology

Evolution of Human Diet

East Africa


  • PhD Berkeley, Anthropology, 1984
  • Post-doctoral Scholar, UCLA, 1984-85



  • Ambrose, Stanley H., Leslea Hlusko, and Mwanzia D. Kyule. Lemudong’o – Paleontology, Geology and Paleoecology of a Terminal Miocene Formation in Southwest Kenya. Cleveland: Kirtlandia (Cleveland Museum of Natural History), 2007.
  • Krigbaum, John, and Stanley H. Ambrose. Bone Chemistry and Bioarchaeology. 22 (3): 191-304: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 2003.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H., and M. A. Katzenberg. Biogeochemical Approaches to Paleodietary Analysis. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum, 2000.

Book Contributions

  • "Obsidian hydration dating and source exploitation studies in Africa." The Dating and Provenance of Obsidian and Ancient Manufactured Glasses. Alberquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2012. 56-72.
  • "The influence of environmental factors on enamel hypoplasia in domestic sheep and goats in southern Kenya Masailand." Tracking Down the Past; Ethnohistory meets archaeozoology. 2009.
  • WoldeGabriel, Giday, W. H. Gilbert, William K. Hart, Paul R. Renne, and Stanley H. Ambrose. "Geology and Geochronology." The Daka Member: A Unique Window into the Pleistocene of Africa. Comp. Berhane Asfaw. Ed. W. H. Gilbert. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. 13-43.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Raiders of the lost Art: Implications of rock art forgery at Lukenya Hill, Kenya, for cultural and natural heritage protection strategies." The Future of Africa’s Past: Proceedings of Rock Art Conference, 2004, Nairobi,. Nairobi: Trust for African Rock Art, 2007. 106-111.
  • Beehr, Dana, and Stanley H. Ambrose. "Were they what they cooked? Stable isotopic analysis of Mississippian pottery residues." We Are What We Eat: Archaeology, Food, and Identity. Ed. Katherine Twiss. Carbondale: Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University, 2007. 171-191.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Small things remembered: Origins of early microlithic industries in Subsaharan Africa.." Thinking Small: Global Perspectives on Microlithic Technologies. Ed. Robert Elston and Steven Kuhn. Washington, DC: Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, No 12, 2002. 9-29.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Middle and Later Stone Age settlement patterns in the central Rift Valley, Kenya: Comparisons and contrasts." Settlement Dynamics of the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age. Ed. Nicholas Conard. Tubingen: Kerns Verlag, 2001. 21-43.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Prospects for stable isotopic analysis of Later Pleistocene hominid diets in West Asia and Europe.." Origin of Neanderthals and Modern Humans in West Asia.. Comp. Takeru Akazawa, Kenichi Aoki, and Ofer Bar-Yosef. New York: Plenum, 1998. 277-289.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Isotopic analysis: Methodological and interpretive considerations." Investigations of Ancient Human Tissue: Chemical analyses in anthropology. Comp. Mary K. Sandford. New York: Gordon and Breach Scientific, 1993. 59-130.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H., and Lynette C. Norr. "Isotopic composition of dietary protein and energy versus bone collagen and apatite: purified diet growth experiments.." Molecular Archaeology of Prehistoric Human Bone. Comp. Joseph Lambert and Gisela Grupe. Berlin: Springer, 1993. 1-37.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H., and Karl G. Lorenz. "Social and ecological models for the Middle Stone Age in southern Africa." The Human Revolution: Behavioral and Biological Perspectives in the Origins of Modern Humans.. Comp. Paul Mellars. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990. 3-33.

Journal Articles

  • "Kangaroo tooth enamel oxygen and carbon isotope variation on a latitudinal transect in southern Australia: implications for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction." Oecologia 171 (2013):
  • "Seasonal variation in kangaroo tooth enamel oxygen and carbon isotope ratios in southern Australia." Quaternary Research (2012):
  • "Early MIS 3 occupation of Mochena Borago rockshelter, southwest Ethiopian highlands: Implications for Late Pleistocene archaeology, paleoenvironments and modern human dispersals." Quaternary International (2012):
  • "Reply to the Comment on ‘Environmental impact of the 73 ka Toba super-eruption in South Asia." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (2010):
  • "The 74 ka Toba super-eruption and southern Indian hominins: archaeology, lithic technology and environments at Jwalapuram Locality 3." Journal of Archaeological Science (2010):
  • "Environmental impact of the Toba mega-eruption inferred from paleosol carbonate stable isotopes in central India." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (2009):
  • Coleman, Magen E., Jeffrey R. Ferguson, David J. Robertson, and Stanley H. Ambrose. "A new look at the geochemistry of obsidian from East Africa." International Association of Obsidian Studies Bulletin 39 (2008): 11-14.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "A tool for all seasons." Science 314 (2006): 930-931.
  • White, Tim D., Giday WoldeGabriel, Berhane Asfaw, Stanley H. Ambrose, Yonas Bayene, Raymond L. Bernor, Jean-Renaud Boisserie, Brian Currie, Henry Gilbert, Yohannes Haile-Selassie, William K. Hart, Leslea J. Hlusko, F. C. Howell, Reiko T. Kono, Thomas Lehmann, Antoine Louchart, C. O. Lovejoy, Paul R. Renne, Haruo Saegusa, Elisabeth S. Vrba, Hank Wesselman, and Gen Suwa. "Asa Issie, Aramis, and the origin of Australopithecus." Nature 440 (2006): 883-889.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Howiesons Poort lithic raw material procurement patterns and the evolution of modern human behavior: A response to Minichillo (2006)." Journal of Human Evolution 50 (2006): 365-369.
  • Jim, Susan, Vickie Jones, Stanley H. Ambrose, and Richard P. Evershed. "Quantifying dietary macronutrient sources of carbon for bone collagen biosynthesis using natural abundance stable carbon isotope analysis." British Journal of Nutrition 95 (2006): 1055-1062.
  • Balasse, Marie, Anne Tresset, and Stanley H. Ambrose. "Stable carbon and oxygen isotope evidence for winter foddering of sheep with seaweed in the Neolithic of Scotland." Journal of Zoology 270 (2006): 170-176.
  • Hu, Yaowu, Stanley H. Ambrose, and Changsui Wang. "Stable isotopic analysis of human bones from Jiahu site, Henan, China: Implications for the transition to agriculture." Journal of Archaeological Science 33 (2006): 1319-1330.
  • Pechenkina, Ekatarina A., Stanley H. Ambrose, Xaolin Ma, and Robert A. Benfer. "Dietary changes in the Late Neolithic of northern China (Yangshao culture) based on carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios." Journal of Archaeological Science 32 (2005): 1176-1189.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Evidence of long-term seasonal climate forcing in rhizolith isotopes during the last glaciation." Geophysical Research Letters 31.13 (2004):
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Geoscience methods lead to paleo-anthropological discoveries in Afar Rift, Ethiopia." EOS Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 85.20 (2004): 273-280.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Mio-Pliocene mammals from the Middle Awash." Ethiopia Geobios 37 (2004): 536-552.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Stable carbon isotopic evidence for differences in the dietary origin of bone cholesterol, collagen and apatite: implications for their use in palaeodietary reconstruction." Acta 68 (2004):
  • Balasse, Marie, Stanley H. Ambrose, Andrew B. Smith, and Steven R. Leigh. "Determining birth seasonality of prehistoric sheep by analysis of tooth enamel oxygen isotope ratios." Journal of Archaeological Science 30 (2003): 205-215.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Did the super-eruption of Toba cause a human population bottleneck? Reply to Gathorne-Hardy and Harcourt-Smith." Journal of Human Evolution 45 (2003): 231-237.
  • "Paleolithic Technology and Human Evolution." Science 291 (2001): 1748-1753.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Chronology of the Later Stone Age and food production in East Africa." Journal of Archaeological Science 25 (1998): 377-392.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Late Pleistocene human population bottlenecks, volcanic winter, and the differentiation of modern humans." Journal of Human Evolution 34 (1998): 623-651.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H., and Nancy E. Sikes. "Soil carbon isotope evidence for Holocene habitat change in the Kenya Rift Valley." Science 253 (1991): 1402-1405.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Effects of diet, climate and physiology on nitrogen isotope abundances in terrestrial foodwebs.." Journal of Archaeological Science 17 (1990): 431-451.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Preparation and characterization of bone and tooth collagen for stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis." Journal of Archaeological Science 17 (1990): 431-451.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "Reconstruction of African human diet using bone collagen carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios." Nature 319 (1986): 321-324.
  • Ambrose, Stanley H., and Michael J. DeNiro. "The isotopic ecology of East African mammals.." Oecologia 69 (1986): 395-406.

Encyclopedia Entries

  • Ambrose, Stanley H. "East African Neolithic." Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Vol. 1, Africa. New York: Kluwer Academic, 2001.