Staff – University of Copenhagen

Tobias Richter

Tobias Richter

Associate Professor

My research focuses on the late Pleistocene and early Holocene societies of southwest Asia, covering the transition from the Epipalaeolithic to the Neolithic (c. 22,000 – 6,000 BCE). Areas of interest during this time frame include: the relationship between climatic and cultural change, lithic technology, landscapes, chronology, patterns of social interaction, burial practices, the meaning and use of architecture, social technologies and food cultures (the list keeps growing). More broadly, I am also interested in the relationship between archaeology and the present, e.g. with regards to heritage discourse, politics and identity, as well as broadly speaking archaeological theory and method. 

I obtained my BA and MPhil from the University of Wales Lampeter in 2002 and 2005 respectively. From 2002 to 2004 I was the Amman Scholar of the Council for British Research in the Levant,  based at the British Institute in Amman. I undertook my PhD research at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London from 2005-2009, funded by a Arts and Humanities Research Council doctoral fellowship. I submitted my thesis - supervised by Andrew Garrard, Louise Martin and Andrew Gardner - entitled Marginal Landscapes? The Azraq Oasis and the cultural landscapes of the final Pleistocene southern Levant in 2009. I joined the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen as an Assistant Professor in 2010, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014. 

I currently direct two major fieldwork projects in southwest Asia. The Shubayqa Archaeological Project ( investigates a number of late Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic sites in northeast Jordan and studies the effects of past climate change on prehistoric groups in that area, amongst other things. The project has led to a number of significant discoveries that affect the way we see the late Epipalaeolithic Natufian and the early Neolithic in the region. The Shubayqa project is funded by grants from the Frie Forskningsfond Denmark, the Danish Institute in Damascus and the H.P. Hjerl Mindefondet for Dansk Palæstinaforskning.

Together with Hojjat Darabi and Peder Mortensen I also co-direct the Tracking Cultural and Environmental Change: the late Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic in the Seimmareh Valley project ( This five-year project is funded by a generous grant from the Davids Samling and investigates the transition from the Epipalaeolithic to the early Neolithic in the central Zagros region of western Iran, and the role of climatic changes in that transition. The project is a collaboration between Razi University, the Iranian Centre for Archaeological Research and the University of Copenhagen. Work so far has focused on re-excavating the early Neolithic sites of Asiab and Ganj Dareh in the Kermanshah province.

For my PhD research I directed excavations at Ayn Qasiyya in the Azraq Oasis in Jordan. I am also a collaborator on the Epipalaeolithic Foragers in Azraq Project. From 2009 – 2012 I was deputy director of the University of Copenhagen’s archaeological mission to Qatar.

I direct the Centre for the Study of Early Agricultural Societies ( at the University of Copenhagen. This centre aims to be a research hub for archaeologists and other scholars with an interest in the emergence of agricultural societies around the world. It brings together a number of academics at KU and elsewhere with similar research interests.

I collaborate closely with colleagues at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, the SAXO Institute, Institute of Archaeology at University College London, University of Tübingen, University of Claifornia Berkeley, University of Nottingham, the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa and Razi University.

I currently serve on the editorial boards of the journal Levant and Neo-Lithics

At ToRS I teach courses on the prehistory of southwest Asia, lithic analysis, and contribute to method and theory courses in Near Eastern Archaeology.


PhD Students:

Agnieszka Bystron

Golnaz Ehadi (jointly with the Tübingen University)

Pia Nielsen (2nd supervisor) 

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