Chargée de recherches FNRS & Fonds assoc.


Faculté de Philosophie et lettres
Département des sciences historiques
Art, Archéologie et Patrimoine (AAP)

Adresse ULiège
Bât. A4 TraceoLab
quai Roosevelt 1B
4000 Liège
Téléphone de service
+32 4 3665848
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Noora Taipale obtained her PhD at the University of Liège in 2020, and currently works at TraceoLab as a postdoc. With a Master's degree from the University of Helsinki (Finland), she was initially trained in use-wear analysis at Uppsala University (Sweden) by Prof. Kjel Knutsson. During her year there, she prepared her master's thesis on a functional study of quartz artefacts from two Mesolithic sites. In Liège, she has gained experience in the analysis of flint and flint-like rocks from Europe as well as African raw materials and expanded the scope of her research first to the European Upper Palaeolithic and then to the Middle Stone Age and Early Stone Age of Africa. Her main interest is to use lithic functional analysis to address general questions about technological strategies, their development through time, and their links to human evolution.

PhD project

Framed in the context of the ERC-funded project "Evolution of stone tool hafting in the Palaeolithic" led by V. Rots, Noora's PhD thesis "Hafting as a flexible strategy: variability in stone tool hafting and use at three European Upper Palaeolithic sites" represents the first large-scale application of the hafting wear method on Upper Palaeolithic assemblages. The work entailed the analysis of large samples of lithic artefacts, particularly domestic tools, from the cave site Hohle Fels, the open-air site Maisières-Canal, and the rock shelter Abri Pataud. The comparative analysis of datasets across sites and time periods allowed her to establish that while simple task mechanics explained some of the patterning in hafting, the remaining part required more complex explanations. Using contextual data on subsistence, seasonality, and mobility, she could propose initial hypotheses about the links between stone tool hafting and social division of work in the Upper Palaeolithic.

Postdoc project

After obtaining her PhD, Noora has been working as a postdoctoral fellow in the project "Investigating the Deep Roots of Human Behaviour". Led by Prof. Lawrence Barham (University of Liverpool, UK), V. Rots, and their co-investigators, this research project looks into the beginnings of hafted stone tool technologies and their evolutionary significance. As a member of an interdisciplinary team composed of researchers from several institutes in Zambia and Europe, Noora focuses on lithic material from Kalambo Falls. This famous site has been subject to new excavations since 2006, and contains both Early Stone Age and Middle Stone Age layers that are currently being dated. Noora's aim is to understand tool use and hafting at the site with the help of experiments carried out in collaboration with experimental archaeologists at TraceoLab and in the UK. She wishes to contribute to an improved understanding of the origins of hafting and the changes in technological strategies across the ESA/MSA transition. In addition, Noora's work will help adjust the existing functional analysis methods to the local raw material situation in Zambia.