Geeske Langejans is a Stone Age or Palaeolithic archaeologist specialised in material culture studies. In 2009 she received het PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Before starting at Delft University of Technology in 2019, she worked at her alma mater, at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and Leiden University (the Netherlands). Over the years her work was funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO Veni Grant) and the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant).
Questions that fascinate her are: why did prehistoric people use the materials they did? What can their choices tell us about their technology and society, and when considering our early ancestors their cognitive functions? And also, what can their material and technological knowledge do for us today, consider archaeo-inspired renewable materials and tool use in robots?
To study these questions dr. Langejans and her team characterise prehistoric materials, using methods like gas chromatography and x-ray diffraction. Also, creating protocols for non-destructive analysis and reference collections. They also test the material properties using lab-based mechanical tests, and actualistic field experiments. This work also has an anthropological side because only through interviews and observations of craftspeople can we capture intangible aspects of materials and technologies. Finally, they express the production processes and use of tools/technology in computer models. Dr. Langejans work with mechanical and robotics engineers, archaeologists, craftspeople, historical reenactors, cognitive and comparative psychologists, and computer scientists.
Interests that rise from this work are connected to the core themes of the LDE Art, Heritage and Sciences cluster, for example technical analysis and application, multiperspective materiality, and capturing disappearing technologies.