Palaeolithic archaeology is about reconstructing how ancient species of hominids lived. Some of these species were our ancestors and others were not. We study a variety of different kinds of evidence, trying to place together how these ancient species organised their lives as individuals and as societies. This is one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of all archaeology.
The Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO) was founded in 2000 and is based in Archaeology at the University of Southampton. It is a research organisation dedicated to exploring and promoting all aspects of Palaeolithic archaeology and the study of human origins. Current and past members of CAHO have investigated a variety of different topics, such as colonisation of the world by different species of ancient humans; the technology of making stone tools; the influences of climate on where and how people lived; when did we become a predominantly right-handed species; dating the spread of modern humans in different parts of the world; and many other critical topics in the evolution of our species.
Members of CAHO have excavated extensively in South Africa, Eastern Europe, North America, and in Britain. But our work also involves looking at old museum collections so that old data will contribute to the most up-to-date research questions.
A central part of CAHO’s mission is educating future generations of Palaeolithic archaeologists. This is done through the MA Palaeolithic Archaeology and in Human Origins. This is a taught course, on which experienced archaeologists, actively engaged in cutting edge research, take part in passing on their theoretical and practical skills to train students to become the new generation of Palaeolithic archaeologists.
In October 2006 CAHO gained a new laboratory, in the purpose-built archaeology building, where MA teaching and CAHO seminars take place. The Wymer Laboratory, named after John Wymer one of the most prominent British Palaeolithic archaeologists contains a huge collection of stone tools, experimental and genuine, an enormous library and cutting edge technological equipment for presentations and seminars. All the resources are available to the students and researchers of CAHO alike.
|Staff Member||Primary Position|
|James Cole||Visiting Fellow|
|William Davies||Associate Professor of Archaeology|
|Rebecca Farbstein||Research Fellow|
|R Helen Farr||SMMI Lecturer|
|Andrew Meirion Jones||Reader|
|John McNabb||Senior Lecturer in Palaeolithic Archaeology|
|Alistair Pike||Professor in Archaeological Sciences|
|Andrew Shaw||Research Fellow|
|Chris Standish||Research Fellow|
|Jaco Weinstock||Associate Professor|
|Francis Wenban-Smith||Principal Research Fellow|
|Dustin White||Research Fellow|
|Sonia Zakrzewski||Associate Professor|
|Red Barns project - Dormant||Dormant|
|Medway Valley Palaeolithic project - Dormant||Dormant|
|Bundu Farm: a pan site with Middle and Later Stone age lithics and faunal remains in the Northern Cape, South Africa - Dormant||Dormant|
|Axe Valley project - Dormant||Dormant|
|From Lucy to Language: the archaeology of the social brain (Funded by the British Academy Centenary Project) 2004-2011||Active|
|CAHO in South Africa. Archaeological investigations in the Vaal River Valley, South Africa||Active|
|AHRC Acheulian Biface project - Dormant||Dormant|
|Experiments in artefact abrasion - Dormant||Dormant|
|Dating the origins and development of Palaeolithic cave painting in Europe by U-series disequilibrium||Active|
|Archaeological potential of secondary contexts - Dormant||Dormant|
|Broom excavations - Dormant||Dormant|
|Seasonality, mobility and storage in Palaeolithic hunting societies (Funded by the Leverhulme Trust) 2014-2017||Active|
|Middle and early Upper Palaeolithic site distribution patterns and landscape adaptations in southeastern Europe - Dormant||Dormant|
|Ave Valley survey project - Dormant||Dormant|
|Crossing the Threshold: the evolution of place and landscape in earliest prehistory (Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council) 2013-2016||Active|