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Social history (including human origins and later prehistory)

Archaeologists discover evidence of prehistoric gold trade route

Archaeologists at the University of Southampton have found evidence of an ancient gold trade route between the south-west of the UK and Ireland. A study suggests people were trading gold between the two countries as far back as the early Bronze Age (2500BC). The research, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, used a new technique to measure the chemical composition of some of the earliest gold artefacts in Ireland. Continue reading →

Clive Gamble interviewed by Matt Pope on BBC Radio Four

Clive Gamble was interviewed by Matt Pope for the BBC Radio Four “History of Ideas”. Matt is a member of the AHRC Project: Crossing the Threshold: Dynamic transformation in human societies of the Late Middle Pleistocene project. The audio is available on the BBC Radio Four website. It was broadcast on Friday 30 Jan 2015. Clive’s section begins at around 2 minutes 40s in, where he talks about the evolutionary trade off between larger brains and smaller intestines. Continue reading →

Clive Gamble interviewed by Matt Pope on BBC Radio Four

Clive Gamble was interviewed by Matt Pope for the BBC Radio Four “History of Ideas”. Matt is a member of the AHRC Project: Crossing the Threshold: Dynamic transformation in human societies of the Late Middle Pleistocene project. The audio is available on the BBC Radio Four website. It was broadcast on Friday 30 Jan 2015. Clive’s section begins at around 2 minutes 40s in, where he talks about the evolutionary trade off between larger brains and smaller intestines. Continue reading →

Hands Across The Globe

A figurative painting of a pig-deer or babirusa and hand stencil from one of the caves in Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Maxime Aubert) Are hand stencils, older than 40,000 years in Sulawesi, the visual relic of Humans’ journey out of Africa? A paper published in Nature today (Aubert et al. 2014) reveals U-Th dates on calcite deposits formed over painted hand stencils and shows the stencils are older than 39,900 years old along with figurative art that is older than 35,400 years old. Continue reading →

Another post card from Százhalombatta , Hungary

Excavators at Százhalombatta For 3 weeks in July students from the University of Southampton were working alongside those from Budapest, Cambridge, and Pecs excavating the Middle Bronze Age Tell at Százhalombatta, Hungary. This season’s work focused on understanding the next phase in the settlement history, marked by the disappearance of the major houses (that we first found some years ago) and the road through the settlement. Continue reading →

Fun and Games at Southampton Archaeology Activities Day

Studying bones at Southampton Archaeology Activities Day (David Wheatley) As part of the British Festival of Archaeology, people of all ages (from 3 to over 70) enjoyed a series of archaeological activities in the department on Saturday! While younger children excavated a coffin ‘burial’ complete with grave goods such as jewellery and Roman ceramics, older children explored the use of virtual reality and CGI within museums and the heritage industry. Continue reading →

Postcard from Hungary

Students on top of the Iron Age rampart Greetings from Hungary! Students from the University of Southampton have begun excavating for 3 weeks at the important Bronze Age tell settlement at Százhalombatta, 30km south of Budapest on the River Danube. They form part of an Anglo-Hungarian project directed by Magdolna Vicze (Director of the Matrica Museum), Joanna Sofaer (University of Southampton) and Marie Louise Stig Sørensen (University of Cambridge). Continue reading →

Postcard #4 from the CAHO trip to France – John McNabb

This morning we visited the famous site of La Ferrassie. Like Le Moustier, it is one of those names to conjour with, it takes you back to undergraduate essays and assignment deadlines just made by the skin of your teeth. New work is going on there at the moment under a joint French and American team. They certainly have their work cut-out for them as they try to get to grips with conflicting stratigraphies and a sequence that is meters deep – actually sounds like great fun. Continue reading →

Recording the Folkton Drums at the British Museum – results

Considerable evidence of working on drum 1 My last blog post concerned the recording and data capture of the three Neolithic artefacts known as the Folkton Drums at the British Museum. Thanks to the hard work and computing genius of Lena Kotoula and Marta Díaz-Guaramino, since then we have had time to process the data and have had some spectacular results. Continue reading →

Scanning the Folkton Drums

Scanning the Folkton Drums I am currently working on a project looking at the art of portable Neolithic artefacts from Britain and Ireland. One of the remarkable findings so far is the degree to which markings on these artefacts have been erased and reworked. This is especially true of chalk artefacts. These processes of reworking provide important information about craft techniques, and the significance of art and imagery in this period of prehistory. Continue reading →