Professor Clive Gamble
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Professor Clive Gamble is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton.
I lead research projects and publish widely on the archaeology of human origins. I undertake pioneering research into the social life of our earliest ancestors. I have a particular interest in when, and why, we became a global species? To answer these questions my research has led me into many parts of the world, some of them remote. The key to understanding why this remarkable process that settled the earth took place so late in human evolution involves building and leading teams of Palaeolithic archaeologists, evolutionary psychologists, geneticists, quaternary scientists and anthropologists. The central issue is the evolutionary relationship between an expanding hominin brain, selected by the benefits of larger group sizes, and its extension across time and space by material means.
I am a Trustee of the British Museum, Fellow of the British Academy, Fellow and former Vice President of the Society of Antiquaries and Fellow and former President of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
I have supervised thirty one PhD students, many of whom are now Professors, Associate Professors, Senior lecturers and Lecturers in UK and International Universities.
I am currently working on two funded projects. Crossing the threshold: dynamic transformation in hominin societies during the Late Middle Pleistocene is supported by a major AHRC grant (2013-16) and has at its heart a re-imagining of the long sequence of lithics and fauna at La Cotte de St Brelade in Jersey. The Research Fellows on the project are Dr Andy Shaw and Dr Marie-Anne Julien. Other project members are Dr Matt Pope, Dr Beccy Scott and Dr John McNabb. Seasonality, Mobility and Storage in Palaeolithic hunting societies is supported by a Leverhulme Trust grant (2014-2017). Here I am testing a model with Dr Alex Pryor and Dr Alistair Pike to determine food storage using seasonality data from charcoal and bone isotopes. We are collaborating with colleagues in Cambridge, Professor Martin Jones, Dr Tamsin O’Connell, Dr Rhiannon Stevens, Dr Philip Nigst and Dr David Beresford-Jones
Reviews of my recent books
Thinking Big (2014) "is like the Big Bang: it probably isn't the total answer, but there is no doubt that it answers a large number of observable phenomena, and it will serve as the dominant model for debating and refining our ideas about the origins and evolution of human cognition for decades to come" SALON May 2014.
"The triumphant result of seven years collaborative research, this provocative, thoughtful book focuses on what the authors call the ‘social brain'. It has much to tell us not only about human behaviour in the past, but also about the importance of networking in our complex world today. Thinking Big is destined to become a classic" Brian Fagan
"Forget the tweets, blogs and PDFs; big ideas need books, and this one reminds us exactly why palaeoanthropology is the most exciting science of the 21st Century. This Curiosity Rover of the mind explains the major developments that made us human. The result is effervescent, compelling, and certainly required reading for anyone with an interest in our origins" Paul Pettitt
Settling the Earth (2013) “further establishes Clive Gamble’s reputation as one of the most imaginative, well-informed and sophisticated writers about the deep past” Martin Porr Antiquity 2015.
"In this book Clive Gamble reconfirms his status as the finest mind working in Palaeolithic studies. He presents a radical re-imaging of the global sweep of human history by rejecting the progress-bound divisions of previous summaries in favour of a partitioning based on brain expansion and population dispersal. The result is brilliant" Thomas Wynn
"Eclectic and authoritative, Gamble's engaging new book provides a fresh take on the evolution of the human brain, navigating the reader through the changing landscapes, minds and societies of our ancestors and revealing the complex physical and cultural dynamics behind our ultimate colonization of the Earth" Danielle Schreve
Origins and Revolutions (2007) "is an effervescent read that skilfully challenges many of the sacred cows of archaeology. It is rich and deep in the philosophical acumen and attention to social theory for which Gamble is known. He also writes with an admirable sense of humour and irony; he knows how to join humanistic flair with empirical rigour at the dig" Robert Proctor