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Anthropology Department
New York University
25 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003

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Claire Heckel


Ph.D. Candidate in Archaeological Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, New York University


M.A. 2009, New York University
B.A. 2005, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College

Contact Information:

  • E-mail: claire.heckel@nyu.edu

Downloadable CV

Research Interests:

The Upper Paleolithic of Europe, specifically personal ornamentation and symbolic behavior in the Aurignacian; mammoth ivory technologies; the anthropology of art and technology; materials science approaches to rigid biological raw materials (i.e. ivory, antler, bone); quantitative approaches to studying standardization in the archaeological record; experimental archaeology, especially ivory work with Aurignacian tools; science studies and the social production of knowledge.

Current Research:

My dissertation research centers on objects of personal ornamentation, their production, and the byproducts of their production. Specimens will be studied from Aurignacian deposits at a number of French cave and rock shelter sites and include beads made of mammoth ivory, steatite, and shaped and pierced teeth. I am in the process of exploring software applications for the collection and analysis of data related to the standardization of form, which is a significant aspect of the ornamental material culture of the Aurignacian.

I am currently pursuing research at the Materials Research Center at New York University aimed at comparing the mechanical properties of a number of raw materials common in the Upper Paleolithic (i.e., bone, antler, ivory, tooth).

For the past three years, I have been excavating during the summer at Abri Castanet in France under the direction of Randall White (New York University) and at the sites of Vogelherd and Höhle Fels in Germany under the direction of Nicholas Conard (University of Tübingen).

Past Research:

Past research has focused largely on the chemical, structural and mechanical properties of mammoth ivory, as well as on minor research projects on Aurignacian lithic technologies and faunal assemblages.


  • Heckel, C. 2009. The physical characteristics of mammoth ivory and their implications for ivory work in the Upper Paleolithic. Mitteilungen der Gesellchaft für Urgeschichte 18: 71-91.