Ancient Britain and its European Context
The second phase of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB) is funded to run until 2010, thanks to a grant by the Leverhulme Trust. The project, which started in October 2001, has made groundbreaking discoveries dating human occupation of Britain back as far as 700,000 years. Phase two of the AHOB project (AHOB2) will continue to add data on the earliest human colonisations of Britain, but the project will also carry out more comparative studies in continental Europe.
The first year of the AHOB2 project will include an attempt to recover DNA from a fragment of jawbone found at Kent’s Cavern in Devon. This will help determine whether it is a modern human as previously believed, or a late Neanderthal. With a newly estimated date of 35,000, this fossil lies right at the time when modern humans could have first encountered the Neanderthals in western Europe.
East Anglia will remain a major focus of work for AHOB2. The team will be looking for evidence of even older occupation than that at Pakefield, Lowestoft, where archaeological evidence of the oldest known Britons was found. The team hopes to discover more about Britain’s earliest colonisers, perhaps even including their fossil remains.
AHOB brought together archaeologists, palaeontologists and earth scientists who aimed to build a calendar of human presence and absence in Britain during the Pleistocene (1.8 million to 12,000 years ago). The AHOB2 team will add a new member from the Netherlands, Wil Roebroeks, from the Department of Archaeology at Leiden University, who brings valuable expertise on early human occupation and early human behaviour in Europe to the project .
Read about the AHOB project in Chris Stringer's Homo Britannicus, published by Penguin Books in 2006.
AHOB 2 Symposium
Abstracts of research presented 26-27 March, 2009.
Abstracts of research presented 10-11 October, 2007.
[See also AHOB 1 Symposium from 2003].
of places, items, and fossils related to the Ancient Human
Occupation of Britain project.
AHOB Time Chart
Tentative correlation of Quaternary chronology with key
British sites, archaeological industries, palaeogeography,
and major warm periods and ice advances for the past 700,000
years. Many aspects of this model, specifically the number
of episodes of lowland glaciation, the timing of the separation
of Britain from the continental landmass, and correlation
of sites with the marine Oxygen Isotope Stages, are speculative.
AHOB Supplementary Data
Supplementary Data from AHOB publications.
AHOB 2 in the News
Neanderthal Tools found at Beedings (BBC)
Neanderthal Treasure Trove 'At Bottom of Sea' (Independent)
Archaeologists to Drill in Bexley (24 Hour Museum)
Polar Bear from Scotland (Independent)
Lynford Gravel Pit And Tourism
HOMO BRITANNICUS: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain
by Chris Stringer, Allen Lane (an imprint of Penguin Books)
Reviewed by Mike Pitts, The Sunday Times, October 08, 2006.
Reviewed by Chris Scarre, The Prehistoric Society, March 2007
Winner, Best Archaeological Book 2008, British Archaeological Awards
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