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Schwarcz Henry, University Professor Emeritus

Henry Schwarcz

University Professor Emeritus

Associate Members
Department of Anthropology


Research & Supervisory Interests

I am a geochemist interested in the applications of scientific methods in archaeology and anthropology. My two principal areas of research are: dating of prehistoric sites; and paleodiet inferred from studies of stable isotopes and other data.

Using stable isotopes, I am studying paleodiet of ancient populations. I am also using tetracycline in human bone as an indicator of foddering and dometication. By studying stable isotopes in teeth of goats and gazelles from sites in Israel, we are learning about the relation between climate and human evolution. Studies of modern human bone by transmission electron microscopy are revealing new ultrastructural features of apatite crystals.

I am dating prehistoric sites in Egypt and Spain. using electron spin resonance (ESR) analysis of  tooth enamel and sedimentary layers from open-air sites, and uranium series dating of travertine.


PhD Cal Tech, 1960


Selected Publications

Schwarcz, H.P and Stafford, T. (2008) Radiometric dates. in Philip G. Chase, André Debénath, Harold L. Dibble, and Shannon P. McPherron (ed.’s) The Cave of Fontéchevade. Cambridge, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008, p. 117-126.

Schwarcz H,P., Szkudlarek, R., Kleindienst, M.R. and Evensen, N. (2008) Fire in the desert: The occurrence of a high-Ca silicate glass near the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt. in M. Wiseman, ed. AThe Oasis Papers II: Proceedings of the Second Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project. : Oxford, David Brown Book Co. 55-71.

Smith J R., Kleindienst M R, Schwarcz H P,  Churcher C S, Kieniewicz J M , Osinski G R  and Haldemann A F. (2009 Potential consequences of a Mid-Pleistocene impact event for the Middle Stone Age occupants of Dakhleh Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt. Quaternary International, 195:38–149

Osinski G R., Kieniewicz , J.,  . Smith J.R., Boslough, M. B.E., Eccleston, M.,. Schwarcz H. P , Kleindienst M.R.,. Haldemann, A. F. C., and  Charles S. Churcher (2009) The Dakhleh Glass: Product of an impact airburst or cratering event in the Western Desert of Egypt? Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 43: 2089–2107

Goodman, B N.,  Reinhardt, E G., Dey, H W., Boyce, J. I., Schwarcz, H. P., Sahog˘ lu, V.,Erkanal H., and Artzy, M. (2009) Multi-proxy geoarchaeological study redefines understanding of  the paleocoastlines and ancient harbours of Liman Tepe (Iskele, Turkey).Terra Nova, 21: 97–104

van Hengstum, Peter J, Reinhardt, Eduard G., . Beddows, Patricia A., Schwarcz, H. P.and Gabriel, J. J. (2009) Foraminifera and testate amoebae (thecamoebians) in an anchialine cave: surface distributions from Aktun Ha (Carwash) cave system, Mexico. Limnology and Oceanography 54(1), 2009, 391–396

Goodman, B., Reinhardt, E., Dey , H., Boyce, J., Schwarcz, H., Sahoglu ,V., Erkanal, H., and Artzy, M. (2008) Evidence for Holocene Marine Transgression and Shoreline Progradation due to Barrier Development in Iskele, Bay of Izmir, Turkey. J. Coastal Res., 24:1269-1280

Keenleyside, Anne, Schwarcz, H.P., Stirling, L. and  Lazreg, Nejib Ben  (2008) Stable isotopic evidence for diet in a Roman and late Roman population from Leptiminus, Tunisia. J. Archaeol. Sci.. 36: 51-63

Thompson, J and Schwarcz, H.P (2007) Electron spin resonance dosimetry and dating potential of whewellite (calcium oxalate monohydrate). Radiation Measurements, 43 (2008) 1219– 1225

Prowse, T., Saunders, S.R., Schwarcz, H.P., Garnsey, P., Machiarelli, R. and Bondioli, L..(2008) Isotopic and Dental Evidence for Weaning and Infant Feeding Practices in an Imperial Roman Skeletal Sample. Am. J. Phys Anth., 137: 294-308

Zhang, R.,  Schwarcz, H.P, Ford , D.C., Serefiddin Schroeder, F., and Beddows, P.A. (2008) An absolute paleotemperature record from 10 to 6 ka inferred from fluid inclusion D/H ratios of a stalagmite from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta,  72 :1014–1026

Rink, W.J.,  Bartoll, J, Schwarcz, H.P. and Shane, P. , and Bar-Yosef, O (2007) Testing the reliability of ESR dating of optically exposed buried quartz sediments. Radiation Measurements, 42: 1618 – 1626

Muñoz-García , M. B. , Martín-Chivelet, J., Rossi, C. , Ford, D. C. and Schwarcz, H. P. (2007) Chronology of Termination II and the Last Interglacial Period in North Spain based on stable isotope records of stalagmites from Cueva del Cobre (Palencia). Journal of Iberian Geology 33 (1) 2007: 17-30

Webb, E.A.,  Schwarcz, H.P., Jensen, C.T., Terry, R.E., Moriarty, M. and Emery, K. (2007) Stable Carbon Isotope Signature of Ancient Maize Agriculture in the Soils of Motul de San José, Guatemala..Geoarchaeology, 22 (3): 291–312

Osinski, G R., Schwarcz, H. P., Smith, J. R., Kleindienst, M. R., Haldemann, A. F.C. and Churcher C. S. (2007) Evidence for a ~200–100 ka meteorite impact in the Western Desert of Egypt. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 253:(3-4)378-388

Prowse, T., Schwarcz, H.P., Garnsey, P., Knyf, M, Machiarelli, R. and Bondioli, L.. (2007) Isotopic Evidence for Large Scale Immigration to Imperial Rome. Am Jour. Phys. Anthrop.,132:510–519.

Webb, E.A., Schwarcz, H.P., Jensen, C.T., Terry, R.E., Moriarty, M. and Emery, K. (2005) Stable carbon isotope signature of ancient maize agriculture in the soils of Motul de San José, Guatemala. Geoarchaeology. 22 (3): 291–312

Peros, M C.,. Reinhardt, E G, Schwarcz, HP and Davis, AM (2006) High-resolution paleosalinity reconstruction from Laguna de la Leche, north coastal Cuba, using Sr, O, and C isotopes. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology , Palaeoecology 245: 535-550

Chase, P., Debénath, A., McPherron, S., Dibble, H., Schwarcz, H.P., Stafford, T. and Tournepiche. F. (2005) New dates for the Fontéchevade (Charente, France) Homo remains. Journal of Human Evolution, 52 :217-221

Keenleyside, A. , Schwarcz, H.P. and Panayotova, K. (2005) Stable Isotopic Evidence of Diet in a Greek Colonial Population from the Black Sea. Journal of Archaeological Science, 33: 1205-1215.

Serefiddin, F., Schwarcz, H. and Ford, D. (2005) Use of hydrogen isotope variations in speleothem fluid inclusions as an independent measure of paleoclimate. in Isotopic and Elemental Tracers of Cenozoic Climate Change (G. Mora and D. Surge, Eds) Geological Society of America, Special Publication 395, p.43-53.

Rink W.J and Schwarcz H.P (2005) ESR and Uranium Series Dating of Teeth from the Lower Palaeolithic Site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel: Confirmation of palaeomagnetic age indications. Geoarchaeology 20:57–66

Grün, R. and Schwarcz, H.P. (2000) Revised open system U-series/ESR age calculations for teeth from Stratum C at the Hoxnian interglacial type locality, England. Quaternary Geochron., 19: 1151-1154

Emery, K., Wright, L. E., and Schwarcz, H.P. (2000) Isotopic analysis of ancient deer bone: Biotic stability in collapse period Maya land-use. Jour. Archaeol. Sci., 27: 537-550.

Schwarcz, H.P. and Rink, W.J. (2000) ESR dating of the Die Kelders archaeological site. Jour. Human Evol., 38:121-128

Churcher, C.S., Kleindienst, M.K. and Schwarcz, H.P. (1999) Faunal remains from a Middle Pleistocene marl in Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt: palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. Paleogeog., Paleoclim., and Paleoecol.,154:301-312

Julig, P., Long, D.G.F., Schroeder, B., Rink, W.J., Richter, D., and Schwarcz, H.P. (1999) Geoarchaeology and new research at Jerf al-Ajla Cave. Geoarchaeology, 14:821-848

Schwarcz, H.P., Dupras, T. and Fairgrieve, S.I. (1999) 15N enrichment in the Sahara: In search of a global relationship. Jour. Archaeol. Science, 26:629-636

Wright, L. and Schwarcz, H.P. (1998) Correspondence between stable carbon, oxygen and nitrogen isotopes in human tooth enamel and dentine:infant diets and weaning at Kaminaljuyú. Jour. Archaeol. Sci., 26:1159-1170.

Kleindienst, M. E., Churcher, C.S., McDonald, M.C. and Schwarcz, H.P. (2000) Geography, geology, geochronology and geoarchaeology of the Dakhleh Oasis region: An interim report. in Churcher, R. and Mills, A.J. (ed.'s) (1999) Reports from the Survey of Dakhleh Oasis, Western Desert of Egypt, 1977-1987. Pp. 1-54. Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph 2/ Oxbow Monograph 99. Oxford, Oxbow Press.

Coyston, S., White, C. and Schwarcz, H.P. (1999) Dietary carbonate analysis of bone and enamel for two sites in Belize. in White, C.D. (ed.), Reconstructing Ancient Maya Diet. Salt Lake, University of Utah Press., 221-243

Schwarcz, H.P. (1997) Uranium series dating. in Taylor, R. E. and Aitken, M. J., Chronometric Dating in Archaeology, Plenum, New York, p. 159-182.

Schwarcz, H.P. (1999) Some biochemical aspects of carbon isotopic paleodiet studies. in Ambrose, S. and Katzenberg, M.A., ed.'s., Isotopic Aspects of Paleodiet, Plenum Press, in press.