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Dr Annabell Zander
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow



Annabell is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow with more than 12 years’ international experience in analysing Palaeolithic and Mesolithic lithic technology and climate change archaeology. She is particularly interested in human responses to prehistoric climate change using a wide range of sources, including lithics and faunal remains. Annabell is keen to integrate traditional archaeological datasets with multidisciplinary datasets, including Bayesian statistics and data from climate and environmental science.

2023 – present: British Academy-funded Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of York. Project: “Exploring human-environment interactions across the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in northwestern Europe”, mentored by Prof Nicky Milner

2016-2021 WRoCAH (AHRC) and German Academic Scholarship-funded PhD at the University of York (including maternity leave and part-time since 2018). Project: “’Lost in transition’ – tracing human responses to climatic and environmental change in the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in north-western Europe”, supervised by Prof Nicky Milner. Viva passed with no corrections in 2021 (examined by Prof Clive Gamble and Prof Geoff Bailey)

2013-2016: MA Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Cologne, Germany (2-year MA programme). Overall Grade: 1.0 (highest grade possible), Top of the School of Humanities. Dissertation: “Heek-Nienborg and Werl-Büderich: Human responses to environmental change at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in Westphalia”, supervised by Prof Andreas Zimmermann and Dr Birgit Gehlen

2010-2013: BA Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Nottingham. Class: First Class (80% average, Top of the School of Humanities, Winner of the University Prize for Academic Excellence). Dissertation: “An investigation of the faunal and lithic assemblages of the European Mesolithic sites with antler frontlets”, supervised by Prof Mark Pearce.


Annabell has won 27 international grants, awards and prizes worth in sum >£500,000:

Prizes and Awards:
2023: Winner of the Johannes Zilkens PhD prize 2023 for the best PhD thesis in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Germany

2021/22: Humanities Research Centre Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, York (awarded to recent outstanding doctoral graduates)

2019: European Association of Archaeologists’ Student Award for best PhD thesis

2013-2015: Deutschlandstipendium (University of Cologne), awarded to the top 0.5% of students in Germany for academic, social and personal achievements (£7,000)

2013-2015: Research Master Programme, University of Cologne, awarded to the top Masters students at Cologne University

2013: The University Prize for Academic Excellence, University of Nottingham for achieving the highest overall mark in the School of Humanities

2013: Edward Thompson Prize, University of Nottingham awarded to the student in Classics with the highest overall average mark

2013: Runner up for the Prehistoric Society Undergraduate Award

2013: Shortlisted for the Professional Development Prize, University of Nottingham

2012-2013: The Nottingham Advantage Award, University of Nottingham

Teaching Awards:
2018: Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award, York

2017: PGWT (Postgraduates who teach) of the Year Award, York

2017: Highly commended at the York University Student Union’s PGWT of the Year Award



British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship 2023


2023-present: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship: An award made to an annual cohort of outstanding early career researchers in the humanities or social sciences (£345,000)

2016-2021: German Academic Scholarship Foundation. Doctoral training for students ‘with outstanding academic talents’ who are expected to make ‘an exceptional contribution to society’ (£105,000)

2016-2021: WRoCAH (AHRC - White Rose College of the Art and Humanities). Tuition fee waiver (£13,000 per annum)

2020: University of Cologne: covering costs of edited volume (£2000)

2019: EAA Travel Grant (£350)                 

2017: University of Cologne: organising Annual German Mesolithic Conference in Wuppertal (£2000)

2016-2019: 4x WRoCAH Small Awards for conference attendances (£2000)

2017: Kiel University Conference Grant (£200)

2017: Prehistoric Society Conference Grant (£200)

2015-2016: University of Cologne: to lead research project on lithics (£15,000)

2014-2015: 3x a.r.t.e.s Research Master Travel Grants (Cologne University) (£1000)

External activities


Elected member of the UISPP Commission “The Final Palaeolithic of Northern Eurasia” (since 2023)

Invited talks and conferences

Conference/Session organisation:

2022: Prehistoric Society Europa Conference in Bournemouth (attended by 140+)

2021: Prehistoric Society Europa Conference in Leicester

(held virtually and attended by 350+)

2019: EAA (Bern) session organiser: Untangling the Final Palaeolithic and Early Mesolithic in Europe

2019: Prehistoric Society Europa Conference in Jersey (co-organiser) (attended by 120+)

2018: Prehistoric Society Europa Conference in York (co-organiser)  (attended by 140+)

2017: Annual Meeting of the German Mesolithic Workgroup, Wuppertal, Germany: organiser and chaired a workshop (attended by 80+)

Selected conference presentations (7 invited talks and 6 presentations):

2019: The Lateglacial puzzle. By-invitation-only Workshop on Palaeolithic taxonomies, Aarhus University, Denmark

2019: Lost in Transition EAA Annual Meeting, Bern

2016: The Final Palaeolithic of Northern Eurasia, Session 3, International Prehistoric Conference organised by U.I.S.P.P. Commission, Amiens (invited)

2016: Research Seminar, Monrepos, Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, Germany (invited)

2015: Bonn-Oberkassel Federmesser Burial, International Symposium on Palaeolithic Archaeology, Bonn (co-speaker with Dr Martin Street) (invited)

Annabell Zander stood in front of old ruins

Contact details

Dr Annabell Zander
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
University of York
King's Manor Exhibition Square
YO10 5DD