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Ancient skeleton shows leprosy may have spread to Britain from Scandinavia

An international team, including archaeologists from the University of Southampton, has found evidence suggesting leprosy may have spread to Britain from Scandinavia. The team, led by former Southampton PhD student Sarah Inskip, now at the University of Leiden, and including researchers from Historic England and the Universities of Southampton, Birmingham, Surrey, and Swansea, examined a 1500 year old male skeleton, excavated at Great Chesterford in Essex, England during the 1950s. Continue reading →

New BA (hons) Archaeology and Anthropology degree at Southampton University

Now recruiting for 2015 entry, the University of Southampton is pleased to announce our new BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology. Based in the Department of Archaeology, this exciting programme draws from Social Sciences and Humanities and gives students the opportunity to understand human social organization and behaviour both past and present, using wide ranging methods from ethnography to the study of artefacts. Continue reading →

Earliest Cave Paintings feature on Human Universe with Brian Cox

Hand stencils and other cave art, in El Castillo Cave, Spain features in the BBC Two documentary Human Universe, to be broadcast on 4th November. Some of the art in El Castillo Cave was recently dated by my team, showing it to be the earliest in Europe, dating to at least 40,800 years ago. In the show, Brian Cox suggests the art demonstrates the ability of these early painters to envision not just the past and the present, but also the future. Continue reading →

Hands Across The Globe

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 →

Neanderthal culture: Old masters

Nature have published a News Feature on our work on dating cave art in Spain and the debate surrounding the symbolic capabilities of Neanderthals. Last October Nature Journalist Tim Appenzeller accompanied me and my collaborators from Spain on a sampling trip to El Castillo cave in Cantabria, Northern Spain. We were collecting samples from calcite that has formed on top of the hundreds of ice-age paintings in the cave. Continue reading →