Gilliane F Monnier

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395 Hubert H. Humphrey Center

301 19th Ave S

Dr. Gilliane Monnier is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. She is a Paleolithic archaeologist who studies Neanderthal behavior through their stone tools. She does this in the lab as well as in the field, using her expertise in lithic analysis and microarchaeology. Her current research investigates Neanderthals’ responses to climatic and environmental change around 40,000 – 35,000 years ago, during the millennia preceding their extinction. She tackles this subject using multi-disciplinary excavations at the site of Crvena Stijena in Montenegro, where she is co-Principal Investigator along with Dr. Gilbert Tostevin. Dr. Monnier uses her expertise in microarchaeology to coordinate a team of specialists whose analyses will help clarify how Neanderthals used fire as well as track paleo-environments, while controlling for chronology and site formation processes. Previously, she applied microarchaeological tools as co-PI of excavations at the early Upper Paleolithic site of Tvarožna, Czech Republic, as well as at the Bremer Site, a Middle Woodland site in Minnesota. Dr. Monnier also works to gain a better understanding of how Neanderthals used stone tools by developing new methods of lithic residue analysis. She uses the analytical techniques of chemistry, such as Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Raman microscopy, and mass spectroscopy, as well as light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, to obtain molecular and elemental data on residues. Her work has been funded by numerous sources, including three National Science Foundation grants since 2014 on which she has been PI or co-PI, a Fulbright Senior Scholar award, and a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant. She works closely with undergraduate and graduate students in the lab, the field, and the classroom, and regards this as one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling aspects of her job. As part of her commitment to bringing cutting-edge imaging instrumentation to researchers and creative scholars in the College of Liberal Arts, she co-founded the Advanced Imaging Service for Objects and Spaces (AISOS) with two grants from the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and learning new languages.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D: Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2000.
  • M. Phil.: Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K., 1992.
  • B. A.: Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1991.


  • Stone tool analysis
  • Lower and Middle Paleolithic in Western Europe
  • Neanderthal behavior
  • Microarchaeology
Courses Taught
  • Anth 1001: Human Evolution
  • Anth 3001: Introduction to Archaeology
  • Anth 3221: Archaeology Field School
  • Anth 4001: Advanced Method and Theory in Archaeology: Experimental Archaeology
  • Anth 4077: Neanderthals: Biology and Culture of Humanity's Nearest Relative
Research & Professional Activities


  • Developing FTIR microscopy for lithic residue analysis: funded by the National Science Foundation, grant # BCS-1420702, 9/1/14 - 8/31/18
  • Reconstructing Prehistoric Lifeways at the Bremer Site (21DK06), Dakota County, MN, through microarchaeology: funded by the Minnesota Historical Society, grant # 1307-00979, 1/21/14 - 6/1/15
  • Early modern human behavior in the Middle Danube region of Central Europe: Microarchaeology at Tvarozna-Za skolou, Czech Republic; funded by the National Science Foundation, grant # BCS-1354095, 9/1/14 - 9/1/18
  • Neanderthal Fire Use in Southeastern Europe: funded by the National Science Foundation, grant # BCS-1758285, March 2018 - March 2021
  • G. Monnier, E. Frahm, B. Luo, K. Missal, 2018. Developing FTIR microspectroscopy for the analysis of animal-tissue residues on stone tools. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. 25:1-44.
  • G. Monnier, E. Frahm, B. Luo, K. Missal, 2017. Developing FTIR microspectroscopy for analysis of plant residues on stone tools. Journal of Archaeological Science 78:158-178.
  • E. Frahm, J. Feinberg, G. Monnier, G. Tostevin, B. Gasparyan, D. Adler, 2016. Lithic raw material units based on magnetic properties: a blind test with Armenian obsidian and application to the Middle Paleolithic site of Lusakert Cave 1. Journal of Archaeological Science 74:102-123.
  • E. Frahm, G. Monnier, N. Jelinski, E. Fleming, B. Barber, J. Lambon, 2016. Chemical soil surveys at the Bremer Site (Dakota County, Minnesota, USA): Measuring phosphorous content of sediment by portable XRF and ICP-OES. Journal of Archaeological Science 75:115-138
  • S. Croft, G. Monnier, A. Radini, A. Little, N. Milner, 2016. Lithic residue survival and characterization at Star Carr: a Burial Experiment. Internet Archaeology 42:1-88.
  • G. F. Monnier and K. Missal, 2014. Another Mousterian Debate? Bordian facies, chaîne opératoire technocomplexes, and patterns of lithic variability in the western European Middle and Upper Pleistocene. Quaternary International 350 (2014):59-83.
  • G. F. Monnier and E. Bischoff, 2014. Size matters. An evaluation of descriptive and metric criteria for identifying cut marks made by unmodified rocks during butchery. Journal of Archaeological Science 50:305-317.
  • G. F. Monnier, Thomas C. Hauck, Joshua M. Feinberg, Bing Luo, Jean-Marie Le Tensorer, Heba al Sakhel, 2013. A multi-analytical methodology of lithic residue analysis applied to Paleolithic tools from Hummal, Syria. Journal of Archaeological Science 40:3722-3739.
  • G. F. Monnier, J. L. Ladwig, S. T. Porter, 2012. Swept under the rug: the problem of unacknowledged ambiguity in lithic residue identification. Journal of Archaeological Science 39:3284-3300.
  • G. F. Monnier, 2012. Neanderthal Behavior. Nature Education Knowledge 3(6):11.
  • G. F. Monnier and K. P. McNulty, 2010. Questioning the Link Between Stone Tool Standardization and Behavioral Modernity, pp. 61-82 in New Perspectives on Old Stones: Analytical Approaches to Palaeolithic Technologies, ed. by S. Lycett and P. Chauhan. Springer Press. Download
  • G. F. Monnier, 2007. Middle Paleolithic Scraper Morphology, Flaking Mechanics, and Imposed Form: Revisiting Bisson's "Interview with a Neanderthal." Cambridge Archaeological Journal 17:3:341-50. Download
  • G. F. Monnier, 2006. The Lower/Middle Paleolithic Periodization in Western Europe: An Evaluation. Current Anthropology 47:709-744. Download
  • G. F. Monnier, 2006. Testing Retouched Flake Tool Standardization during the Middle Paleolithic: Patterns and Implications, pp. 57-84 in Transitions before The Transition: evolution and stability in the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age, ed. by E. Hovers and S. L. Kuhn. New York: Kluwer Press.
  • G. Monnier, 2018. A review of infrared spectroscopy in microarchaeology: Methods, applications, and recent trends. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 18:806-823.