Prof. Dr. Ingmar Unkel

Ingmar Unkel


Olshausenstraße 75, 24118 Kiel, Raum: 130
Phone: +49 431 880-5241
Telefax: +49 431 880-4083

Research interests

  • Human-climate interaction, with special focus on the development during the last 10000 years and with a regional focus on the Eastern Mediterranean and South America
  • Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction as a basis for modeling future climate development
  • environmental reconstruction based on sedimentary analyses, radiocarbon dating and faunal assemblages
  • carbon cycle and hydrological cycle, groundwater renewal

Professional experience

since 09/2015
Associate Professor for Environmental History, Director of the Institute for Ecosystem Research, Kiel University

09/2009 – 08/2015
Junior Professor (Assistant Professor) for Environmental History – Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes”, Kiel University.

05/2008 – 08/2009
Postdoc – Department of Physics, Divison of Nuclear Physics, Lund University
Research topic: AMS-14C analysis of occupational contamination in modern human tissues from people working at nuclear facilities, industries and laboratories.

06/2006 – 08/2009
Postdoc – GeoBioSphere Centre, Quaternary Geology, Lund University, Sweden
Research topic: AMS-14C dating and age-depth-modelling, geochemical (XRF, CNS, LOI) analyses of lake sediments and peat bogs from Isla de los Estados (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina) to reconstruct the deglacial and Holocene climate record of the region in the context of interhemispheric climate relations.

03/2006 – 05/2006
Postdoc – Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, research centre for radiometric dating, 14C-laboratory

Educational data

PhD Studies
Title of the PhD thesis: AMS-14C analyses for the reconstruction of the geomorphological and cultural development of the Palpa region (S-Peru).

02/2003 – 02/2006
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, research centre for radiometric dating, 14C-laboratory.
Studies of Geology
Title of diploma thesis: European seismic zone Gulf of Corinth: Geological-hydrogeological investigations of the Aigion area, in connection with the international continental deep drilling project (ICDP) AIG 10 (NW-Peloponnes, Greece).

10/1999 – 12/2002
University of Karlsruhe (KIT), Germany
Main subjects: hydrogeology, engineering/applied geology, tectonics, water chemistry zum Anfang

Competitions and awards

“Wilke-Award” for the scientific publication of a young author

“Jugend forscht” – German „Young Researchers Contest“, 4th prize at the all-German finals, section geo- & space-sciences. Contribution title: „The micro-mammal fauna of the Mauer Sands – investigations on the environment of the Homo heidelbergensis“


Publciations (peer-reviewed)

Avramidis, P., Barouchas, P., Dünwald, T., Unkel, I., & Panagiotaras, D. (2019). The Influence of Olive Orchards Copper-Based Fungicide Use, in Soils and Sediments—The Case of Aetoliko (Etoliko) Lagoon Western Greece. Geosciences, 9(6), 267.
doi: 10.3390/geosciences9060267

Seguin, J., Bintliff, J. L., Grootes, P. M., Bauersachs, T., Dörfler, W., Heymann, C., … Unkel, I. (2019). 2500 years of anthropogenic and climatic landscape transformation in the Stymphalia polje, Greece. Quaternary Science Reviews, 213, 133–154.
doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.04.028

von Scheffer, C., Lange, A., De Vleeschouwer, F., Schrautzer, J., & Unkel, I. (2019). 6200 years of human activities and environmental change in the northern central Alps. E&G Quaternary Science Journal, 68(1), 13–28.
doi: 10.5194/egqsj-68-13-2019

Unkel, I. (2019). Nature and Perception of a Greek Landscape : Stymphalos. In A. Haug, L. Käppel, & J. Müller (Eds.), Past Landscapes. The Dynamics of Interaction between Society, Landscape and Culture (pp. 311–322). Leiden: Sidestone Press. Retrieved from

Fritz, M., Unkel, I., Lenz, J., Gajewski, K., Frenzel, P., Paquette, N., … Wetterich, S. (2018). Regional environmental change versus local signal preservation in Holocene thermokarst lake sediments: A case study from Herschel Island, Yukon (Canada). Journal of Paleolimnology, 60(1), 77–96.
doi: 10.1007/s10933-018-0025-0

Weiberg, E., Unkel, I., Kouli, K., Holmgren, K., Avramidis, P., Bonnier, A., … Heymann, C. (2016). The socio-environmental history of the Peloponnese during the Holocene: Towards an integrated understanding of the past. Quaternary Science Reviews, 136, 40–65.
doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.10.042

Block, S., Saltré, F., Rodríguez-Rey, M., Fordham, D. A., Unkel, I., & Bradshaw, C. J. A. (2016). Where to Dig for Fossils: Combining Climate-Envelope, Taphonomy and Discovery Models. PLOS ONE, 11(3), e0151090.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151090

Xue, J., Zhong, W., Xie, L., & Unkel, I. (2015). Vegetation responses to the last glacial and early Holocene environmental changes in the northern Leizhou Peninsula, south China. Quaternary Research, 84(2), 223–231.
doi: 10.1016/j.yqres.2015.08.001

Xue, J., Zhong, W., Xie, L., & Unkel, I. (2015). Millennial-scale variability in biomass burning covering the interval ~41,000–7050cal BP in the tropical Leizhou Peninsula (south China). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 438, 344–351.
doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.08.037   

Unkel, I., Schimmelmann, A., Shriner, C., Forsén, J., Heymann, C., and Brückner, H. (2014). The environmental history of the last 6500 years in the Asea Valley (Peloponnese, Greece) and its linkage to the local archaeological record. Zeitschrift Für Geomorphologie, Supplementary Issues, 58(2), 89–107.
doi: 10.1127/0372-8854/2014/S-00160 

Fernández, M., Björck, S., Wohlfarth, B., Maidana, N. I., Unkel, I. & Putten, N. (2013). Diatom assemblage changes in lacustrine sediments from Isla de los Estados, southernmost South America, in response to shifts in the southwesterly wind belt during the last deglaciation. Journal of Paleolimnology 50 (4), 433-446.
doi: 10.1007/s10933-013-9736-4

Heymann, C., Nelle, O., Dörfler, W., Zagana, H., Nowaczyk, N., Xue, J., Unkel, I., (2013, in press). Late Glacial to mid-Holocene palaeoclimate development of Southern Greece inferred from the sediment sequence of Lake Stymphalia (NE-Peloponnese). Quaternary International 302, 42-60.
doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2013.02.014    

Unkel, I., Ehret, D., Rohn, J., (2013). Recurrence analysis of the massmovement activity at Stambach (Austria) based on radiocarbon dating. Geomorphology 190, 103-111.
doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.02.020

Haenssler, E., Nadeau, M., Vött, A., & Unkel, I. (2013). Natural and human induced environmental changes preserved in a Holocene sediment sequence from the Etoliko Lagoon, Greece: New evidence from geochemical proxies. Quaternary International, 308-309, 89–104. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.06.031

Unkel, I., Reindel, M., Gorbahn, H., Isla Cuadrado, J., Kromer, B., Sossna, V., 2012. A comprehensive numerical chronology for the pre-Columbian cultures of the Palpa valleys, south coast of Peru. Journal of Archaeological Science 39, 2294-2303,

Björck, S., Rundgren, M., Ljung, K., Unkel, I., Wallin, Å., (2012). Multi-proxy analyses of a peat bog on Isla de los Estados, easternmost Tierra del Fuego: a unique record of the variable Southern Hemisphere Westerlies since the last deglaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews 42, 1-14,

Unkel, I., Heymann, C., Nelle, O., Zagana, H., (2011). Climatic influence on Lake Stymphalia during the last 15 000 years, in: Lambrakis, N., Stournaras, G., Katsanou, K. (Eds.), Advances in the Research of Aquatic Environment. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 75-82.
Link extlink     

Unkel, I., Fernandez, M., Björck, S., Ljung, K., and Wohlfarth, B. (2010). Records of environmental changes during the Holocene from Isla de los Estados (54.4ºS), southeastern Tierra del Fuego. Global and Planetary
Change 74, 99-113.
doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.07.003

Stenström, K., Unkel, I., Nilsson, C., Rääf, C., and Mattsson, S. (2010). The use of hair as an indicator of occupational 14C contamination. Radiation and Environmental Biophysics 49, 97-107.
doi: 10.1007/s00411-009-0245-9

Mächtle, B., Unkel, I., Eitel, B., Kromer, B., and Schiegl, S. (2010). Molluscs as evidence for a Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene humid period in the northern Atacama desert, southern Peru (14.5°S). Quaternary Research 73, 39-47.
doi: 10.1016/j.yqres.2009.05.007

Unkel, I., Björck, S., and Wohlfahrt, B. (2008). Deglacial environmental changes on Isla de los Estados (54.4ºS), southeastern Tierra del Fuego. Quaternary Science Review, 27, 1541-1554.
doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.05.004

Unkel, I., Kadereit, A., Mächtle, B., Eitel, B., Kromer, B., Wagner, G. A., and Wacker, L. (2007). Geomorphic evidence of palaeo-environmental changes at the eastern margin of the South Peruvian coastal desert (14°30' S) before and during the Little Ice Age. Quaternary International, 175.
doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2007.03.006

Unkel, I., Kromer, B., Reindel, M., Wacker, L., and Wagner, G. A. (2007). A chronology of the pre-Columbian Paracas- and Nasca-culture in South Peru based on AMS-14C-dating. Radiocarbon, 49(2), 551-564.

Mächtle, B., Eitel, B., Kadereit, A., and Unkel, I. (2006). Holocene environmental changes in the northern Atacama desert, southern Peru (14°30’S) and their impact on the rise and fall of Precolumbian cultures. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie Suppl. Vol. 142, 47-62.

Eitel, B., Hecht, S., Mächtle, B., Schukraft, G., Kadereit, A., Wagner, G., Kromer, B., Unkel, I., and Reindel, M. (2005). Geoarchaeological evidence from desert Loess in the Nasca-Palpa Region, Southern Peru: Palaeoenvironmental changes and their impact on pre-Columbian cultures. Archaeometry 47, 137-158.

Giurgea, V., Rettenmaier, D., Pizzino, L., Unkel, I., Hötzl, H., Förster, A., and Quattrocchi, F. (2004). Preliminary hydrogeological interpretation of the Aigion area from the AIG10 borehole data. CR Geoscience 336, 467-475.

Lemeille, F., Chatoupis, F., Foumelis, M., Rettenmaier, D., Unkel, I., Micarelli, L., Moretti, I., Bourdillon, C., Guernet, C., and Müller, C. (2004). Recent syn-rift deposits in the hangingwall of the Aigion Fault (Gulf of Corinth, Greece). CR Geoscience 336, 425-434.

Löscher, M., and Unkel, I. (1997). Zur Kleinsäugerfauna der Mauerer Sande. Jh. geol. Landesamt Baden-Württemberg 36, 199-204.

Publciations (non-peer-reviewed)

Unkel, I., Heymann, C., Nelle, O., and Zagana, H. (2011). Climatic influence on Lake Stymphalia during the last 15 000 years. In "Advances in the Research of Aquatic Environment." (N. Lambrakis, G. Stournaras, and K. Katsanou, Eds.), pp. 75-82. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. (peer-reviewed)

Unkel, I. and Kromer, B. (2008). The clock in the corn cob - on the development of a chronology of the Paracas and Nasca period based on radiocarbon. In: New Technologies for Archaeology: Multidisciplinary Investigations in Palpa and Nasca, Peru. (Reindel M, Wagner G, Eds.), 231-244, Heidelberg: Springer.

Löscher, M., Maul, L.C. and Unkel, I., (2008). Kleinsäugerfaunen in frühmittel-pleistozänen Flussablagerungen an Neckar, Main und Rhein. In Der erste Mensch in Mitteleuropa. 600 000 Jahre Zeitgeschichte am Neckar W. Hansch and W. Rosendahl (Eds.), museo 24. Heilbronn.

Unkel, I. (2008). Klimaküche Feuerland. Spektrum d. Wissenschaft 02/2008, 14-19.

Schreiber, D., Löscher, M., Maul, L.C., and Unkel, I. (2007). Die Tierwelt der Mauerer Waldzeit. In "Homo heidelbergensis - Schlüsselfund der Menschheits-geschichte." (G. A. Wagner, H. Rieder, L. Zöller and E. Mick, Eds.), 127-159, Theiss, Stuttgart.

Unkel, I. (2006). "AMS-14C-Analysen zur Rekonstruktion der Landschafts- und Kulturgeschichte in der Region Palpa (S-Peru)." HGA volume 121, Universität Heidelberg, 226 p. –

Unkel, I. (1998a). Die Kleinsäugerfauna der Mauerer Sande - Untersuchungen im Umfeld des Homo erectus heidelbergensis. Aufschluss 48, 34-47.

Unkel, I. (1998b). Von Mäusen und Menschen aus Mauer. Junge Wissenschaft 49, 33-38.