Dr John McNabb

Dr John McNabb

University of Southampton
Avenue Campus
SO17 1BF

Position: Senior Lecturer and Director of CAHO

Research interests

My early research interests were on the British Lower Palaeolithic, and especially focused on a non-handaxe industry called the Clactonian. My PhD was on the Clactonian. I developed this interest further through historical research, excavation, and the extensive reanalysis of older museum collections. I published the results of all this work in my book The British Lower Palaeolithic. Stones in Contention in 2007. I have continued my interests in non-handaxe assemblages and in the British Lower Palaeolithic in general. Two of my research students, Hannah Fluck and Iza Romanowska, have broadened this interest by selecting non-handaxe industries both west (Hannah) and east (Iza) of the Rhine. These researches will place the British Clactonian in a much clearer European perspective.

Since the year 2000 I have developed research interests in the African Early Stone Age collaborating with researchers from Liverpool University (Cave of Hearths, South Africa), and South African researchers at the McGregor Museum Kimberley (Pniel 6 and Canteen Koppie), and the University of the Witwatersrand (Sterkfontein). These have combined excavation, field walking, experimental replication, and the analysis of collections of Oldowan and Acheulean stone tools from these and other sites. These have resulted in the publication of two monographs one on Canteen Koppie and the other on the Cave of Hearths, and a number of academic papers on other aspects of these projects. My interests in African ESA led to my being invited to join the British Academy Lucy to Language Centenial Project. This multidisciplinary research framework led to new insights and approaches to thinking about Acheulean material culture and with my student James Cole I have been working on ideas about what it may have been like to live and survive in an Acheulean social group.

A third and more recent strand to my research portfolio is in the Victorian and Edwardian development of Human Origins and Palaeolithic Archaeology as a subject. The results of these researches are due to be published in spring 2012 as Dissent with Modification. Human Origins, Palaeolithic Archaeology, and Evolutionary Anthropology in Britain 1859 - 1901. I combine this with a lively interest in Victorian science fiction, an unexpected but surprisingly fruitful subject for original ideas on human origins, evolution, and what it means to be human. Further aspects of this fascinating subject will be explored in other academic papers. I have also published on the archaeological aspects of the Piltdown fraud combining my interests in lithic technology with the history of the discipline.

Publications from e–Prints Soton

McNabb, John and Beaumont, Peter (2011) A report on the archaeological assemblages from excavations by Peter Beaumont at Canteen Koppie, Northern Cape, South Africa. , Archaeopress, 86pp. (University of Southampton Series in Archaeology, 4)
McNabb , John (2009) The knight, the grocer, and the chocolate brownies: Joseph Prestwich, Benjamin Harrison and the second 'Antiquity of man debate'. Lithics, 30, 97-115.
McNabb, John and Sinclair, Anthony (eds.) (2009) The Cave of Hearths: Makapan Middle Pleistocene Research Project: field research by Anthony Sinclair and Patrick Quinney, 1996-2001, Oxford, GB, Archaeopress, 193pp. (University of Southampton Series in Archaeology, 1)
McNabb, J., Sinclair, A. and Underhill, D. (2009) Overview and broader significance of the ESA and MSA at the Cave of Hearths. In, McNabb, J. and Sinclair, A. (eds.) The Cave of Hearths: Makapan Middle Pleistocene Research Project: Field Research by Anthony Sinclair and Patrick Quinney, 1996-2001. Oxford, GB, Archaeopress, 150-163. (University of Southampton Series in Archaeology, 1).
McNabb, John and Wadley, Lynn (2009) Introduction. In, Sinclair, Anthony (ed.) The Cave of Hearths: Makapan Middle Pleistocene Research Project: Field Research by Anthony Sinclair and Patrick Quinney, 1996-2001. Oxford, GB, Archaeopress, 1-11.
McNabb, John (2007) The British Lower Palaeolithic: stones in contention, London, UK, Routledge, 448pp.
McNabb, John (2007) 1.9 Myr-300,000 Years Ago in Europe. In, Elias, Scott A. (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Quaternary Science. , Elsevier, 89-98. (doi:10.1016/B0-44-452747-8/00363-X)
McNabb, John and Hannah, Fluck (2007) Raw material exploitation at the middle Pleistocene site of Vértesszölös. Lithics, 28, 50-64.
McNabb, John and Rivett, C. (2007) Getting round to the point. Biface tip shape in the British Lower Palaeolithic. Lithics, 28
McNabb, John, Jacobi, Roger and Collcutt, Simon (2006) Chapter 2: the Palaeolithic. In, Cooper, Nicholas (ed.) The Archaeology of the East Midlands. An Archaeological Resource Assessment and Research Agenda. UK, University of Leicester Archaeological Services, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, 11-43. (Leicester Archaeological Monographs 13).
[file icon]McNabb, John (2006) The lying stones of Sussex: an investigation into the role of the flint tools in the development of the Piltdown forgery. Archaeological Journal, 163, 1-41.
McNabb, John (2005) Hominins and the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition: evolution, culture and climate in Africa and Europe. In, Head, M.J. and Gibbard, P.L. (eds.) Early-Middle Pleistocene Transitions: The Land-Ocean Evidence. London, UK, Geological Society, 287-304. (GSL Special Publications, 247). (doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2005.247.01.17)
Sinclair, Anthony and McNabb, John (2005) All in a day's work: Middle Pleistocene individuals, materiality and the lifespace at Makapansgat, South Africa. In, Gamble, Clive and Porr, Martin (eds.) The Individual hominid in context : archaeological investigations of lower and middle Palaeolithic landscapes, locales and artefacts. London, UK, Routledge, 176-196.
McNabb, John (2005) More on Acheulean tools. Reply to Hodgson. Current Anthropology, 46, (4), 648-649. (doi:10.1086/432749)
McNabb, John (2005) On tools and traditions. Reply to Palmer, Coe and Wadley. Current Anthropology, 46, (3), 460-462. (doi:10.1086/430015)
[file icon]McNabb, John, Binyon, Francesca and Hazelwood, Lee (2004) The large cutting tools from the South African Acheulean and the question of social traditions. Current Anthropology, 45, (5), 653-677. (doi:10.1086/423973)
Garrard, Andrew, Conolly, James, McNabb, John and Moloney, Nora (2004) Palaeolithic-Neolithic Survey in the Sakçagözü Region of the Northern Levantine Rift Valley. In, Le Mière, O A M and Sanlaville, P (eds.) From the River to the Sea: the Euphrates and the Levant. , British Archaeological Reports, International Series, Archaeopress, 145-163. (British Archaeological Reports International Series, 1263).
McNabb, John, Sinclair, Anthony and Quinney, Patrick (2003) Recent Investigations into the Later Acheulean of Makapansgat Region, Northern Province, South Africa. In, Moloney, Norah and Shott, Michael J. (eds.) Lithic Analysis at the Millennium. London, UK, Institute of Archaeology, UCL, 1-16.
McNabb, John (2001) The shape of things to come. A speculative essay on the role of the Victoria West phenomenon at Canteen Koppie during the South African earlier stone age. In, Miliken, Sarah and Cook, Jill (eds.) A Very Remote Period Indeed: Papers on the Palaeolithic presented to Derek Roe. London, GB, Oxbow Books, 37-46.