Staff Catalogue


+357 22893573
Department of History and Archaeology
Archaeological Research Unit,
12, Gladstonos str.

Dr Theodora Moutsiou ( and ORCID 0000-0001-6150-5107) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Archaeological Research Unit at the Department of History and Archaeology if the University of Cyprus, as well as Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at James Cook University of Australia and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Dr Moutsiou holds a PhD in Palaeolithic Archaeology from Royal Holloway, University of London, an MA (Distinction) in the Archaeology of Human Origins from the University of Southampton and a BA (Distinction) in History and Archaeology from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Dr Moutsiou is currently the coordinator of project PLACe (CULTURE/AWARD-YR/0418/005, 2019-2021) and senior collaborator of project SaRoCy (EXCELLENCE/0918/0143, 2019-2021). Prior to these appointments, she was involved as postdoctoral researcher in a number of multidisciplinary research projects, including project PLEICY (POST-DOC 0916/0185, 2018-2020) from the Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus) and the highly prestigious EU funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (2015-2017, grant no. 656148).), for which she secured funding (> 1 Mio EUR in competitive grants in total). In 2018, she was awarded Young Scientist of the Year (CULTURE/AWARD-YR/0418/005 (2019-2021) by the Research and Innovation Foundation, Cyprus, for her scientific contributions to the field of Archaeology.

Her field of expertise is the study of prehistoric movement, mobility and exchange through the analysis of raw material circulation and selection. She combines traditional archaeological methods (excavation, survey, lithic analysis) with cutting-edge approaches (geochemistry, geospatial analysis, palaeoecology) to address major research questions in human cognitive and behavioural evolution. Geochemical and geospatial data is combined with exchange and evolutionary ecology theory to understand prehistoric social interaction and cognitive evolution. Ecological data is used to reconstruct the environmental and climatic context of past human activity. Starting with her post-doctoral research, she has also been focussing on island archaeology, investigating island colonisation, human-environment interaction, and impacts of climate change on Pleistocene hunter-gatherer communities. Her scientific approach combines regional engagement with global comparative perspectives providing significant new knowledge for the study of prehistoric phenomena of global importance. Dr Moutsiou applies innovative interdisciplinary methodologies that bridge the gap between STEM and HSS to test novel concepts and engage with questions in the broader field of social archaeology and human evolutionary studies as well as archaeological and environmental science.

Dr Moutsiou has been a collaborator in numerous national and international archaeological field projects covering a span of periods, with a focus on the Palaeolithic, and regions (Mediterranean, Europe, Africa, Australia) in the last twenty years, such as Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project (SNAP). Since 2018, she directs her own field research projects on Cyprus aimed at establishing new research themes on the island for the first time via the identification of Pleistocene localities on the island.
She has a track record of 15 first authored and co-authored international journal articles and book chapters, including a monograph (141 citations on Google Scholar, h-index of 5, i10-index of 4); two articles are currently in press. These include articles in high-ranking international journals such as Quaternary International, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, and Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology. She has participated in over 20 conferences and workshops around the world where she was invited to present her work and organise dedicated sessions. Dr Moutsiou is also a reviewer for peer-reviewed international journals and an evaluator for EU programmes where she also consults on cultural heritage policies. She is a full member of international associations, such as International Association for Obsidian Studies (IAOS), Quaternary Research Association (QRA), Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO), The Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG), European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) and serves as board member in committees, such as Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (CHNT) and Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA-GR). She also takes steps in connecting with the broader community and inspiring children/young adults to engage with archaeology and science more general.

Her research interests include: Palaeolithic archaeology, human origins, raw material movement and selectivity, obsidian, human cognitive and behavioural evolution, Quaternary science, island colonisation


Research Projects

Prehistoric Landscapes of Cyprus (PLACe), CULTURE AWARD-YR0418/05 funded by European Regional Funds and Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus (2019-2021)
Project Coordinator and Principal Investigator
The PLACe project aims at addressing the missing human presence on the island during the Pleistocene by generating a high quality and high-resolution record of the palaeo-environmental and climatic conditions the first humans would have encountered after reaching Cyprus. Multi-proxy reconstructions and field-related analytical techniques (coring, dating) will allow us a much-needed insight into (a) the spatio-temporal details of the environmental/climate conditions that would have formed the backdrop of early human activities, and (b) the impact of Pleistocene insular environments on human behaviour and vice versa.

Delineating Probable Sea Routes between Cyprus and its Surrounding Coastal Areas at the Start of the Holocene : A Simulation Approach (SaRoCy), EXCELLENCE/0918/0143, funded by European Regional Funds and Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus, (2019-2021)
Special Scientist
The project seeks to offer novel insights, based on physical/environmental modelling and computer simulation, into the possible prehistoric maritime pathways between Cyprus and other Eastern Mediterranean coastal regions at the boundary between Terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene (Epipaleolithic/early Neolithic), a critical period for understanding the origins of the early visitors in Cyprus in connection with the Neolithic transition.

Synchrotron-based XRF Analysis of Picrolite from Cyprus: Sourcing and Characterisation of Prehistoric Artefacts, 20181478 funded by IPERION-CH and 20210357 funded by CALIPSOplus (2019-2021)
Project Coordinator and Principal Investigator
The main objectives of this experimental research project on raw material picrolite are to: a) refine the HH pXRF bulk analyses and capture (potential) key micro-differences that we may not have noticed in the bulk composition (correlate SR and pXRF results), b) define chemical and mineralogical composition of picrolite, c) define the trace constituent of the raw material and, d) detect potential correlation between elements. The expected outcomes of the study are to: a) achieve a detailed characterisation of picrolite sources/sub-sources, b) detect potential differences in the geological sources/sub-sources of picrolite and, c) correlate SR results with the bulk pXRF results (of the geological samples).

ArchaeoGLOBE: Global Collaborations to Assess Past Human Impacts
Regional Leader: Mediterranean
The ArchaeoGLOBE project ( is a massively collaborative online platform for the rapid assessment of past human impacts. The project was initiated in 2018 at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and has since produced the first online collaborative global assessment of archaeological knowledge on land use. Now based at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the project is entering a new phase and new research foci are being developed.

Water Routes in Human Island Dispersals: Modeling the Pleistocene Exploitation of Cyprus (PLEICY), DIDAKTOR - POST-DOC/0916/0185, funded by European Regional Funds and Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, (2018-2020)
Principal Investigator
Project PLEICY seeks to investigate the peculiar absence of Palaeolithic archaeology from the island of Cyprus by using predictive modeling to establish the potential early routes and prime exploitation locales during the earliest human visitations to the island. This two-year research project aims to lay the foundations for a systematic and long-term engagement with the earliest past of the island of Cyprus, which has the potential to contribute significant new knowledge to the field of island archaeology globally.

Eastern Mediterranean Science and Technology Centre for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (MedSTACH), WIDESPREAD, European Union, (2017-218), Special Scientist
Project MedSTACH aims to establish Cyprus as an excellence hub in archaeology and cultural heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean region, capitalising on multidisciplinary research and technological innovation. To this end, key Cypriot public academic institutions and national policy makers and stakeholders are teaming up with leading international research and academic institutions to lay the groundwork towards creating the Eastern Mediterranean Science and Technology Centre for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage.

PRENET Social Networking and Raw Material Selectivity in Early Prehistoric Mediterranean Seascapes. A Marie Proposal Number SEP-210192892. Call: H2020-MSCA-IF-2014 (2015-2017)

Experienced Researcher of this Marie Curie Individual Fellowship project ( The aim of the project is to investigate the geographical extent, directionality and intensity of social communication in the early prehistory of the Eastern Mediterranean seascape and the cognitive/behavioural factors behind the observed patterns. The specific scientific objectives of the proposal are: 1) the investigation of social interactions in Eastern Mediterranean through the examination of raw material movement in early prehistoric Cyprus, and 2) the determination of cognitive/behavioural elements behind our ancestors’ choices of specific raw materials, through the study of raw material selectivity.

SNAP: The Stélida Naxos Archaeological Project (2013-present)

Experienced Researcher at the geo-archaeological project directed by Dr. Tristan Carter of McMaster University with permission from the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades of the Hellenic Republic’s Ministry of Culture and Sports and under the auspices of the Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG).  The main aims of the project are: a) to characterise and date the prehistoric exploitation of the Stélida hill chert and, b) to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of the earlier prehistoric Cyclades, especially in the broader context of other recent discoveries of Palaeolithic activity on the Aegean Basin.

Lucy to Language: The Archaeology of the Social Brain (2005-2010)

Post-graduate (PhD) Student at the British Academy Centenary Research Project directed by Professor R.I.M. Dunbar FBA, Professor C.S. Gamble FBA and Professor J.A.J. Gowlett. The project aimed to explore how the early hominid brain evolved from its essentially apelike beginnings among the earliest australopithecines (circa 5 million years ago) to the modern human potential of the “Upper Palaeolithic Revolution” (circa 50,000 years ago) and its final expression in the dramatic social and economic changes of the last 10,000 years in order to answer what makes us human. Dora’s contribution was her PhD thesis entitled “The Obsidian Evidence for the Scale of Social Life during the Palaeolithic”.

Moutsiou, T. (2014). The Obsidian Evidence for the Scale of Social Life during the Palaeolithic. British Archaeological Reports International Series 2613. Oxford: Archaeopress. 
Refereed Journal Articles
Moutsiou, T., Reepmeyer, C., Kassianidou, V.,  Zomeni, Z., Agapiou, A. (2021). Modeling the Pleistocene Colonisation of Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean. PLOS ONE.
Moutsiou, T. (2021). Climate, Environment and Cognition in the Colonisation of the Eastern Mediterranean Islands during the Pleistocene. Quaternary International 577: 1-14.
Moutsiou, T. and Agapiou, A. (2019). A least cost pathway analysis of obsidian circulation in Early Holocene – early Middle Holocene Cyprus. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 26: 101881. 
Moutsiou, T. and Kassianidou, V. (2019). Geochemical Characterisation of Carnelian beads from Aceramic Neolithic Cyprus using portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (pXRF). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 25: 257-265.
Moutsiou, T. (2019). A compositional study (pXRF) of Early Holocene obsidian assemblages from Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean. Open Archaeology 5(1): 155-166. 
Moutsiou, T. (2018). The obsidian evidence for trans-maritime interactions in the Eastern Mediterranean: The view from Aceramic Neolithic Cyprus. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 31(2): 232-251. 
Pearce, E. and Moutsiou, T. (2014). Using obsidian transfer distances to explore social network maintenance in late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 36: 12-20. 
Carter, T., Contreras, D.A., Mihailoviç, D.D., Moutsiou, T., Skarpelis, N. and Doyle, S. (2014). The Stélida Naxos Archaeological Project: New Data on the Mesolithic and Middle Palaeolithic Cyclades. Antiquity, Project Gallery 341. 
Gamble, C. and Moutsiou, T. (2011). The time revolution of 1859 and the stratification of the primeval mind. Notes and Records of the Royal Society 65 (1): 43-63. 
Refereed Conference Papers
Moutsiou, T. (2019). Raw material circulation and the Early Holocene social landscape of Cyprus. In: Astruc, L., McCartney, C., Briois, F., Kassianidou. V. (Eds.), Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology Volume 150, Near Eastern Lithic Technologies on the Move. Interactions and Contexts in Neolithic Traditions, 8th International Conference on PPN Chipped and Ground Stone Industries of the Near East, Nicosia, November 23rd–27th 2016, pp. 119-132.
Moutsiou, T. (2017). Long-distance obsidian distribution and the organization of Palaeolithic societies. In Pereira, T., X., Terradas, and N., Bicho (Eds.), Raw materials exploitation in Prehistory: sourcing, processing and distribution, pp. 305-319. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Moutsiou, T. (2012). Changing scales of obsidian movement and social networking, In: Ruebens, K., Bynoe, R. and I., Romanowska (Eds.), Unravelling the Palaeolithic: ten years of research at the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO, University of Southampton) pp.85-96. Southampton: University of Southampton Series in Archaeology No 8. 
Scholarly Book Chapters
Moutsiou, T. (2020). Colour in the Palaeolithic. In Wadburton, D. and Thavapalan, S. (Eds.), The Value of Colour in Antiquity. Berlin: Edition TOPOI. 
Carter, T., Contreras, D., Holcomb, J., Mihailoviç, D., Skarpelis, N., Campeau, K., Moutsiou, T. and Athanasoulis, D. (2017). The Stélida Naxos Archaeological Project: New Studies of an Early Prehistoric Lithic Quarry in the Cyclades. Canadian Institute in Greece 40th Anniversary Conference Proceedings. 
Moutsiou, T. (2016). Η αρχαιολογία στην Κύπρο (Archaeology in Cyprus). Νέα Εστία (Nea Estia) 1871: 352-357.