Dr. G.H.J. (Geeske) Langejans

Dr. G.H.J. (Geeske) Langejans



As a researcher-lecturer in archeological materials I am affiliated with the Materials Science & Engineering department (Faculty of 3mE). I work primarily with stone, shell and glues from the European and African Palaeolithic (250.000 – 15.000 years old). I characterise materials using a range of methods, and through experimental archaeology I validate how prehistoric objects were produced, used and preserved. I have done a lot of research into early hunter-gatherers and the interaction between climate and behavioural changes in southern Africa.

I am fascinated by prehistoric adhesives, they are a wonderful example of very early "garden-variety chemistry" where the end product cannot be predicted from the initial ingredients. The core of my current project (ERC Ancient Adhesives) also touches on another major interest: the development of technology. My team and I characterise glue ingredients and we examine the material choices. We are also developing a computer method to measure the complexity of adhesive technology. To compare the technological capabilities and unique solutions of Neandertalers with those of modern people.

Other projects and interests:


        • Why is birch tar a better glue than pine resin in an Ice Age?
        • What does ocher do in a prehistoric composite glue?
        • Can you identify tar with SEM-EDS?
        Are you looking for a research question for your MSE internship or final project? Come visit or mail for a project about glue characterization or the testing of physical properties of prehistoric adhesives.

        Take a look behind the scenes of the Ancient Adhesives Project

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