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Doctor Francis Wenban-Smith

Doctor Francis Wenban-Smith

Principal Enterprise Fellow

Research interests

  • My primary research interests are: 
  • hominin ecology and colonisation of Europe and Asia in the Early and Middle Pleistocene, in particular the history of settlement and cultural change through the Palaeolithic in Britain 
  • human evolution and cognitive development, Palaeolithic behaviour and material culture 

More research

Connect with Francis

Email: f.wenban-smith@soton.ac.uk

Tel: +44 23 8059 6864

Address: B65a, Avenue Campus, Highfield Road, SO17 1BF (View in Google Maps)

Research

Research interests

  • My primary research interests are: 
  • hominin ecology and colonisation of Europe and Asia in the Early and Middle Pleistocene, in particular the history of settlement and cultural change through the Palaeolithic in Britain 
  • human evolution and cognitive development, Palaeolithic behaviour and material culture 
  • Pleistocene chrono-stratigraphy and geo-archaeology, with a particular emphasis on the Middle and Late Pleistocene in Britain 
  • environmentally sustainable development and heritage management, in particular concerning Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeology, and Ice Age fossil remains 

Current research

Past and current projects include: 

-  much work in relation to HS1 in the Ebbsfleet valley, including discovery, excavation and publication of “The Ebbsfleet Elephant”, the undisturbed remains of a 400,000 year-old early hominin elephant butchery site

 - further archaeological work in the Ebbsfleet-Swanscombe area, which is the focus of substantial ongoing development following from HS1’s Ebbsfleet International station. Current projects include analysis and reporting of an undisturbed 400,000 years old activity area, and of a 10,000 year old flint-knapping workshop. Both sites were exploiting the same raw material source, 390,00 years apart.

- advising on development proposals near the Swanscombe Skull Site National Nature Reserve

- wholesale checking and revision of every Palaeolithic site in Kent, so that the official county record (the “HER”, or Historic Environment Record) is up-to-date, so planning decision-making is supported by the best information

- Environmental Impact assessment as part of the DCO application for the proposed new Lower Thames Crossing

- fieldwork in advance of widening the M25, leading to discovery of the earliest Neanderthal occupation of Britain

-  fieldwork, analysis and reporting of Palaeolithic discoveries made in advance of new housing developments near Henley in South Oxfordshire

- investigations of Bronze Age activity at the site of the 2nd runway for Manchester airport

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