Image of an archaeological dig site with exposed bones under a spotlight

Archaeology

Archaeology: Exploring the human past

Our research focuses on key problems in Archaeology, particularly through the perspective of Archaeological Science.

Our research focuses around the lives and deaths of people in the past. Our interested is in the lifeways and deathways of people, their use of the constraints and opportunities offered by the environment and how human populations have spread and replaced one another, from the early Pleistocene onwards. We are heavily involved in the excavation and analysis of iconic sites including Gorham’s Cave, Gibraltar, and Shanidar Cave, Iraq. Areas of particular strength include excavation, human remains, DNA, faunal and palaeoecological analyses, site formation, soils, sediments and geophysics. Group members have been active on most continents and are currently working on a series of field and laboratory projects with particular focus on Neanderthals.

Research areas and current projects

Gorham’s Cave, Gibraltar

  • Excavation of this important site is changing our understanding of Neanderthal subsistence patterns and chronology in the Iberian peninsula

Shanidar Cave, Iraq

  • The re-excavation of this iconic site is allowing us to test the climatic tolerances of the Neanderthals and of modern human groups in the Middle East. The cave has yielded new Neanderthal remains, which are currently under study at LJMU. We are also investigating the supposed ‘Flower Burial’ at Shanidar through taphonomic study of pollen in the cave.

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