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Dr Rachel Bynoe 


Dr Rachel Bynoe's photo

Dr Rachel Bynoe is a Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Southampton.

I am a Palaeolithic maritime archaeologist with a focus on submerged Pleistocene landscapes. I completed both my MA in Palaeolithic archaeology and human origins (2008) as well as my PhD (2014) at the University of Southampton. My doctoral research focused on the submerged Palaeolithic of the southern North Sea through the use of the vast historical collection of faunal remains. Subsequently I held several positions lecturing in Human Origins and Maritime archaeology, as well as working on commercial offshore projects, before moving on to a post-doctoral position at the Natural History Museum/British Museum. It was here that I began to develop my interest in the submerged landscapes and coastal archaeology of the Cromer Forest-bed Formation at and around Happisburgh, UK.

My current position at the University Of Southampton combines these experiences. My research continues to focus on the offshore archaeology at Happisburgh, with the Pathways to Ancient Britain research project, with a broader interest in the use of commercial data for furthering our understanding of submerged Pleistocene deposits. Recent fieldwork funding for diving investigations at Happisburgh has allowed me to bring these interests to current students, facilitating the incorporation of practical, diving, geophysical and palaeoenvironmental approaches to my teaching.  

Research interests

Understanding past human behaviour is reliant on an incredibly fragmentary terrestrial record, a record that is even further truncated by changes in sea level throughout the Pleistocene that have led to the submergence of large areas of once habitable land. With my interests focusing on a desire to understand the big questions behind how, why and when our earliest ancestors were migrating and occupying new and varied parts of the world, I am naturally fascinated in what these drowned landscapes can tell us about this picture. To do this I am interested in developing the ways in which we target and investigate submerged landscapes, from both a first-hand, diver-led perspective, as well as through remote sensing and retrieval of palaeoenvironmental information from seabed coring.

I am currently engaged in a project involving diving and geophysical data-collection off the coast of Happisburgh, UK, the earliest site of human occupation of northern Europe at just under a million years old. Importantly this project involves the use of publically collected remains from the beaches in this area, using the huge amounts of new information that this provides to target seabed locations. This project is currently working on the analysis of recently discovered Pleistocene exposures, with the aim of developing this work into a larger research project in the near future.

Research Projects

Exploring the submerged landscapes off Happisburgh, UK 

Research group

Centre for Archaeology of Human Origins Contracting

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Book Chapters

  • Bynoe, R., Dix, J. K., & Sturt, F. (2013). The submerged palaeolithic: an opportunity not a problem. In M-Y. Daire, C. Dupont, A. Baudry, C. Billard, J-M. Large, L. Lespez, E. Normand, ... C. Scarre (Eds.), Ancient Maritime Communities and the Relationship between People and Environment along the European Atlantic Coasts (pp. 583-594). (British Archaeological Reports; No. S2570). Oxford, GB: Oxbow books.
  • Momber, G., Bynoe, R., Bailey, G., Scaife, R., Nayling, N., Hamilton, D., & Marshall, P. (2011). Archaeological, palaeoenvironmental and morphological investigations at BC-V. In G. Momber, J. Satchell, R. G. Scaife, & D. J. Tomalin (Eds.), Mesolithic Occupation at Bouldnor Cliff and the Submerged Prehistoric Landscapes of the Solent (pp. 66-93). Council of British Archaeology.


Dr Rachel Bynoe
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus, Highfield
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom

Room Number: 65A/2335

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