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The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities

Southampton Archaeology receives prestigious Wolfson Research Merit Award

Published: 3 September 2014

The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, has awarded three University of Southampton professors Wolfson Research Merit Awards for their outstanding research work, including Dr Alistair Pike from Archaeology.

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award recognises talented scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

These three awards mean that total funding from the Wolfson Foundation for the Awards at Southampton has now exceeded £1 million.

Dr Alistair Pike, Reader in Archaeological Sciences, received his award for his research into ‘Robust chronologies and isotopic windows on human behaviour’. The research focuses on using geochemical methods to date fossil bone, which provides archaeological timelines to better understand the origins of modern humans and their relationship to archaic species, such as Neanderthals. Dr Pike also uses methods to track past human and animal movement to reveal seasonal migration and the different patterns of landscape use between Neanderthals and modern humans.

Dr Pike says: “Archaeological human remains and tools are very static indicators of past human behaviour; a snapshot of their point of death, burial or discard. But now, using laser sampled strontium isotopes, we can track past human movement on an almost day by day basis. I’m thrilled that the Royal Society has chosen to support this research which has huge potential to reveal a far more detailed picture of many aspects of past human behaviour.”

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