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 and Mesolithic archaeology and the study of human origins. Current and past members of CAHO have investigated a variety of different topics, such as global dispersals by different species of ancient humans; the technology and cognitive implications of making stone tools; the influences of climate on where and how people lived; dating the global spread of modern humans; and many other critical topics in the evolution of our species. Members of CAHO have excavated extensively in South Africa, Europe, North America, and Britain, but our work also involves looking at old museum collections, bringing often overlooked data to bear on new research questions.
A central part of CAHO’s mission is educating future generations of Palaeolithic archaeologists. This is done through a variety of modules as part of our archaeology MA and MSc programmes. These are taught courses, 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 equipment for presentations and seminars. All the resources are available to the students and researchers of CAHO alike.