Alison S. Brooks
Professor of Anthropology
Bldg. X (2112 G St.) 204
Areas of Expertise
Early modern humans, Paleolithic archaeology, physical anthropology, paleoanthropology, ethnoarchaeology, geochronology. Regional foci: Africa, northern China.
Dr. Brooks is a paleoanthropologist and Paleolithic archaeologist who has worked at numerous localities in Africa, France, the Levant, and northern China. She teaches at GW in addition to working for the Smithsonian Institution as a Research Associate. Dr. Brooks is also a Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Brooks's recent field research has been on Africa's Middle Stone Age, and she has ongoing projects at MSA sites in the Middle Awash Valley, Ethiopia, and the Olorgesailie Basin, Southern Kenya Rift. She is an important figure in the debate over when, where, and why modern Homo sapiens originated.
- Field research at Paleolithic sites in Kenya
- Analysis of skeletal remains from Ishango, Zaire
- Dating by protein changes in ostrich eggshell
- Plant foods in human evolution
- The role of raw material toughness and wrist morphology in stone tool manufacture
GW Research report: Revealing a "More Complex" Neanderthal.
Doc. Letters honoris causae, 1999, Russian Academy of Sciences
Ph.D. 1979, Harvard University
M.A. 1967, Harvard University
B.A. 1965, Radcliffe College
2005 Sager, R.J., D.M. Helgren and A.S. Brooks. People, Places and Change. Holt, Rinehart and Winston 774 p. 4th ed., orig. published 2001. Also produced in Eastern Hemisphere, Western World, and annotated teacher's editions.
2000 Delson, E., I. Tattersall, J.A. Van Couvering and A.S. Brooks, eds. Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory. 2nd ed. New York: Garland Press.
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
2011 Henry, A., A.S. Brooks, and D. Piperno. "Microfossils in calculus demonstrate consumption of plants and cooked foods in Neanderthal diets (Shanidar III, Iraq; Spy I and II, Belgium)," PNAS 108(2): 486-491.
2009 Brooks, A.S. "Thoughts on transitions." In M. Camps and P.R. Chauhan, eds., Sourcebook of Paleolithic Transitions: Methods, Theories, and Interpretations, p. v-ix. New York: Springer.
2005 Yellen, J., A. Brooks, D. Helgren, M. Tappen, S. Ambrose, R. Bonnefille, J. Feathers, G. Goodfriend, K. Ludwig, P. Renne, and K. Stewart. "The archaeology of Aduma: Middle Stone Age sites in the Awash Valley, Ethiopia," PaleoAnthropology 3: 25-100.
2005 Brooks, A.S., J.E. Yellen, L. Nevell and G. Hartman. "Projectile technologies of the African MSA: Implications for modern human origins." In E. Hovers and S. Kuhn, eds., Transitions before the Transition: Evolution and Stability in the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age. New York: Kluwer Academics/Plenum.
2002 Brooks, A.S. "Cultural contact in Africa, past and present: Multidisciplinary perspectives on the status of African foragers." In S. Kent, ed., Ethnicity, Hunter-Gatherers, and the "Other": Association or Assimilation in Africa. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
2001 Mercader, J., and A.S. Brooks. "Across forests and savannas: Later Stone Age assemblages from Ituri and Semliki, Northeast Democratic Republic of Congo," Journal of Anthropological Research 57(2): 197-217.
2000 McBrearty, S., and A.S. Brooks. "The revolution that wasn't: A new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior," Journal of Human Evolution 39(5): 453-563.
Awarded the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Faculty Scholarship, 1994
To see syllabi, click on the course title.
Anth 284: Archaeology Field/Laboratory Research
Anth 1001 (old 001): Biological Anthropology
Anth 1003 (003): Archaeology
Anth 2008 (198): Foundations of Anthropological Thought
Anth 3411 (148): Primatology
Anth 3412 (147): Hominin Evolution
Anth 3508 (158): Art and Culture
Anth 3801 (181): African Roots from Australopithecus to Zimbabwe
Anth 3802 (183): Human Cultural Beginnings
Anth 3803 (184): Old World Prehistory: First Farmers to First Cities
Anth 3832 (114)/6832 (214): Paleoanthropological Field Program
Anth 3838 (118): Theory and Practice in Archaeology
Anth 6201 (201): Proseminar in Biological Anthropology
Anth 6203 (203): Proseminar in Archaeology
Anth 6412 (247): Paleoanthropology (various topics)
Anth 6801 (283): Paleolithic Archaeology (various topics)
Last updated March 30, 2014