Conquering the north: early human dispersals across Europe, the AHOB 3 project

This week’s staff breakfast was given by Nick Ashton, and concerning the AHOB 3 – or the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project. The project receives funding from the Leverhulme Trust, and will run run for the next three years in partnership with the Natural History Museum and several Universities in the UK, as well as one in the States, and in the Netherlands. The project aims to track the dispersal of early humans into northern Europe against the backdrop of global climate change over the last million years. Nick Ashton’s talk concentrated on three aspects of the project:

Module 1: First pioneers in northern Europe. 1.0 – 0.5 million years ago.

Module 2: Neanderthals and the North Sea Basin: Demography and technology, 420,000 – 40,000 years ago.

Module 3: Modern migrants. 50,000 – 11, 000 years ago.

Theories which have been held for over 20 years are now being reconsidered, including the initial population of Britain being dated to 700 or even 800,000 BP, rather than the 500,000 years ago previously thought.

More excavations and research will take place in years to come – certainly looks very interesting!