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Repeopling La Manche (Hardback)

New Perspectives on Neanderthal Archaeology and Landscapes from La Cotte de St Brelade

Ancient History > Prehistory > British & Irish Prehistory Ancient History > Prehistory > Palaeolithic

Edited by Matt Pope, Edited by Beccy Scott, Edited by Katharine Scott, Edited by Andrew Shaw
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Series: Prehistoric Society Research Papers
Pages: 216
Illustrations: b/w and colour
ISBN: 9781789251524
Published: 15th May 2023
Casemate UK Academic



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The current geography of north-west Europe, from the perspective of long-term Pleistocene climate change, is temporary. The seaways that separate southern Britain from northern France comprise a flooded landscape open to occupation by hunter-gatherers for large parts of the 0.5 million years since the English Channel’s formation. While much of this record is now inaccessible to systematic archaeological investigation it is critical that we consider past human societies in the region in terms of access to, inhabitation in, and exploitation of this landscape.


This latest volume of the acclaimed Prehistoric Society Research Papers provides a starting point for approaching the Middle Palaeolithic record of the English Channel region and considering the ecological opportunities and behavioural constraints this landscape offered to Neanderthal groups in north-west Europe. The volume reviews the Middle Palaeolithic archaeological record along the fringes of La Manche in northern France and southern Britain. It examines this record in light of recent advances in quaternary stratigraphy, science-based dating, and palaeoecology and explores how Palaeolithic archaeology in the region has developed in an interdisciplinary way to transform our understanding of Neanderthal behaviour. Focusing in detail on a particular sub-region of this landscape, the Normano-Breton Gulf, the volume presents the results of recent research focused on exceptionally productive coastal capture points for Neanderthal archaeology. In turn the long-term behavioural record of La Cotte de St Brelade is presented and explored, offering a key to changing Neanderthal behaviour. Aspects of movement into and through these landscapes, changing technological and raw material procurement strategies, hunting patterns and site structures, are presented as accessible behaviours that change at site and landscape scales in response to changing climate, sea level and ecology over the last 250,000 years.

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About Matt Pope

Matt Pope is Associate Professor in Palaeolithic archaeology at the University College London Institute of Archaeology. He is currently leading on excavations at the Neanderthal site of La Cotte de St Brelade, Jersey, as well as further high-profile Palaeolithic excavations in Southern Britain and the Channel Islands. He is the author of, amongst other publications, The Horse Butchery Site: A high-resolution record of Lower Palaeolithic hominin behaviour at Boxgrove, UK (with Simon Parfitt and Mark Roberts, 2020) and co-editor of Crossing the Human Threshold Dynamic Transformation and Persistent Places During the Late Middle Pleistocene (with John McNabb and Clive Gamble, 2017, 2019).

About Beccy Scott

Beccy Scott is Palaeolithic curator in the Department of Britain, Europe and Prehistory at the British Museum, London, working on Palaeolithic collections as part of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) and Pathways to Ancient Britain (PAB) projects. She is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

About Katharine Scott

Katharine Scott is internationally recognised for her work on Middle and Upper Pleistocene vertebrate fossils. Her fieldwork at various Upper Thames Quaternary sites concentrated especially on the 10-year excavation of 200,000-year-old fossiliferous deposits at Stanton Harcourt near Oxford. This now comprises the largest collection of excavated mammoths in Britain. She is an Emeritus Fellow and Former Dean of Degrees at St Cross College, University of Oxford, and an Honorary Associate of the Oxford University Museum. She is the author of Mammoths and Neanderthals in the Thames Valley: Excavations at Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire (with Christine Buckingham, 2021).

About Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw works as a Palaeolithic specialist for Wessex Archaeology having obtained his PhD from Durham on the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic of Syria. Subsequently, as a member of Southampton University’s Crossing the Threshold Project he focused on the Early Middle Palaeolithic material from La Cotte de St Brelade. His primary research interest is the reconstruction of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic technological decision making and human behaviour in relation to the varying landscapes and environmental contexts of the late Middle and Upper Pleistocene.

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