Dr Braun is an Associate Professor at George Washington University (U.S.A) and also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). He received a doctoral degree in Anthropology (Rutgers University), and was a post-doctoral fellow at the National Museums of Kenya (NSF-IRFP). He was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Dr Braun’s research interests centre around the basic question of how the production and use of stone artifacts relates to the ecology of our earliest ancestors. This research has three main foci: 1) The experimental determination of the signature of different behaviours as they are reflected in artifact and bone accumulations. This incorporates actualistic methods to parse out the meaning behind patterns in stone artifacts 2) The provenance of stone material collected by hominins for the production of stone artifacts. This research involves the collection and sampling of numerous rock outcrops and using geochemical as well as engineering methods to link sources to archaeological specimens 3) The excavation of large collections of prehistoric stone tools in various ecological settings. This research is driven by the question of how and why stone artifacts vary through time and across space. Further, what does this variation mean for the selective pressures driving early hominin behaviour and cognition?
Most of this research has been focused on some of the earliest occurrences of stone artifacts in East Africa. Dr Braun’s research has focused on localities in Kenya (Koobi Fora, Turkana Basin and Kanjera, Kavirondo Basin) as well as research in in South Africa in the Early Pleistocene (Elandsfontein, Western Cape, South Africa) and Ethiopia (Gademotta, Main Ethiopian Rift; Ledi-Geraru, Afar). Recent research endeavours include the investigation of Pleistocene localities in Mozambique and tool use among chimpanzees in West Africa (Bossou, Guinea-Conakry).