The ARCAN (Archaeology of Africa & Anthropology) laboratory succeeded the APA (Archaeology and Settlement of Africa) laboratory in 2022. Its members are developing studies and teaching aimed at understanding the history of human settlements, technical dynamics and ways of life in Africa, from ancient prehistory to the present day. Research into bioanthropology and the study of ancient funerary worlds is also carried out in Africa, Europe and Switzerland.

Inter-disciplinary and international research

Archaeological research is interdisciplinary and encompasses various scientific approaches, such as prehistoric archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, archaeo-materials analysis, biological anthropology, archaeozoology, etc. A number of archaeological digs are carried out on different sites. The material evidence uncovered is related to climatic, environmental, socio-cultural, economic, demographic and political factors.

Numerous research partnerships have been developed in Africa, Europe and Switzerland, with palaeo-environmentalists, date researchers, various specialists (geomorphology, organic chemistry, ancient DNA, etc.), museum directors and heritage managers.


A complete training course

The members of the ARCAN laboratory are involved in training students in prehistoric archaeology, following the Bachelor (3 years) - Master (2 years) - Doctorate (5 years) pathway. The University of Geneva is the only university in French-speaking Switzerland to offer a complete Faculty of Science course in this discipline.

Members of the laboratory also teach for the University of Geneva's Faculty of Arts, which allows students to take Prehistoric Archaeology as a complement to another discipline, and for the Global Studies Institute as part of the Master's programme in African Studies.

Management of the ARCAN laboratory


PhD Anne Mayor


Mrs Caroline Stemberger-Duri