skip to content

Department of Earth Sciences



Guest scientist at Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska - snow depth and ecology monitoring project (2020-21)

Visiting Assistant Professor in Geology at Middlebury College (2020)

Marie S Curie Fellow for the QUEST project, visiting research at Waikato University in New Zealand (2019-20)

PhD Earth Sciences - University of Cambridge, UK (2016-20)

MSc Climate Science - University of Bern, Switzerland  (2012-14)

BA Environmental Geology and Dance - Middlebury College, Vermont USA  (2007-11)



Paleoclimate reconstructions, geochemistry, stable isotopes, gypsum, marine sediments, speleothems

My research at Cambridge is part of the TwoRains ERC-funded project headed by Dr. Cameron Petrie at the Division of Archaeology. My research is supervised by Professor David Hodell (Earth Sciences).

My contribution to the TwoRains project consists of paleoclimatic research covering the period of the Indus Civilization (4600 - 3900 years BP) in northwestern India. Specifically I am looking at changes in precipitation that coincided with societal changes during and after the Mature Harappan urban phase. I am using proxies from a broad latitudinal gradient to investigate the timing and extent of the weakening of the Indian Summer Monsoon, which coincides with Indus de-urbanization. My research is based on geochemical analysis of marine foraminifera in the Arabian Sea, gypsum-rich paleolake sediments close to populous Harappan centers, as well as speleothems in Himalayan caves.      


Key publications: 

Giesche, A., Lombardo, U., Finsinger, W., and Veit, H (2020). Reconstructing landscape and environmental changes during the last 8000 years at Lago Rogaguado, Bolivian Amazon. Journal of Paleolimnology.

Angourakis, A., Bates, J., Baudouin, J., Giesche, A., Ustunkaya, M. C., Wright, N., Singh, R., Petrie, C. (2020) How to ‘downsize’ a complex society: an agent-based modelling approach to assess the resilience of Indus Civilisation settlements to past climate change. Environmental Research Letters, 15(11).

Giesche, A., Staubwasser, M., Petrie, C. A., and Hodell, D. A. (2019). Indian winter and summer monsoon strength over the 4.2 ka BP event in foraminifer isotope records from the Indus River delta in the Arabian Sea. Climate of the Past, 15: 73-90.

Dixit, Y., Hodell, D. A., Giesche, A., Tandon, S. K., Gázquez, F., Saini, H. S., Skinner, L., Mujtaba, S., Pawar, V., Singh, R. N., and Petrie, C. (2018). Intensified summer monsoon and the urbanization of Indus Civilization in northwest India. Scientific Reports.

Brügger, S.O., Gobet, E., van Leeuwen, J.F.N., Ledru, M., Colombaroli, D., can der Knaap, W.O., Lombardo, U., Escobar-Torrez, K., Finsinger, W., Rodrigues, L., Giesche, A., Modesto, Z., Veit, H., and Tinner, W. (2016). Long-term man-environment interactions in the Bolivian Amazon: 8000 years of vegetation dynamics. Quaternary Science Reviews, 132: 114-128.

Brönnimann, S., Giesche, A., Hunziker, S., Jacques-Coper, M. (2016). CLIMANDES Climate science e-learning course. Geographica Bernensia, DOI: 10.4480/GB2015.U27.

Munroe, J.S., Crocker, T.A., Giesche, A. M., Rahlson, L.E., Duran, L.T., Bigl, M.F., and Laabs, B.J.C., 2012: A lacustrine-based Neoglacial record for Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews, 53: 39-54.

Teaching and Supervisions


Visiting Assistant Professor in Geology at Middlebury College (2020)

Part 1A Teaching Assistant for Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge (2017-2019)

PhD Researcher
 Alena  Giesche


Collaborator profiles: