The British Palaeolithic
Human Societies at the Edge of the Pleistocene World
Published January 17th 2012 by Routledge – 616 pages
The British Palaeolithic provides the first academic synthesis of the entire British Palaeolithic, from the earliest occupation (currently understood to be around 980,000 years ago) to the end of the Ice Age. Landscape and ecology form the canvas for an explicitly interpretative approach aimed at understanding the how different hominin societies addressed the issues of life at the edge of the Pleistocene world.
Commencing with a consideration of the earliest hominin settlement of Europe, the book goes on to examine the behavioural, cultural and adaptive repertoires of the first human occupants of Britain from an ecological perspective. These themes flow throughout the book as it explores subsequent occupational pulses across more than half a million years of Pleistocene prehistory, which saw Homo heidelbergensis, the Neanderthals and ultimately Homo sapiens walk these shores.
The British Palaeolithic fills a major gap in teaching resources as well as in research by providing a current synthesis of the latest research on the period. This book represents the culmination of 40 years combined research in this area by two well known experts in the field, and is an important new text for students of British archaeology as well as for students and researchers of the continental Palaeolithic period.
"…it is very pleasing to see this splendid new work by two of Britain's leading practitioners on the subject. They capture the sparse but fascinating evidence for the human occupation of Britain…" - Nick Barton, British Archaeology, UK
"This is a well-written and authoritative study, packed full of the latest information on archaeological ideas. It is a well-paced and absorbing read." - Nick Barton, British Archaeology, UK
"This volume is an extremely rich source of Palaeolithic data and interpretations. Although it focuses mostly on the British Isles, each chapter includes information and discussion that pertain to the whole of Europe and, frequently, extends beyond the geographical boundaries of the European continent. Thus, it is a perfect study for all of those who are interested in archaeology and prehistory, both students and professionals, from all four corners of the world." - Nuno Bicho, European Journal of Archaeology
1. One Million Years of the British Pleistocene 2. Pioneers at the Edge of the Pleistocene World: The Earliest Hominin Visitors to Britain, ~1ma – 700 ka BP 3. Landscapes of Habit: The hominin occupation of Britain 550-300 ka BP 4. Behaviour and Society in Lower Palaeolithic Britain, ~ 550 ka -300 ka BP 5. Neanderthals of the Forest Steppe: The Early Middle Palaeolithic ~325 to 180 ka BP 6. The Neanderthal Steppe: Landscapes and Human Environments of the Late Middle Palaeolithic 7. Liminal Worlds: the British Early Upper Palaeolithic and the earliest populations of Homo sapiens 8. Settling the northwest frontier: The Late Upper Palaeolithic, ~ 14.6 – 11.6 ka BP
Dr Paul Pettitt is Reader in Palaeolithic Archaeology at Sheffield University, and specializes in the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of Britain. He is the author of The Palaeolithic Origins of Human Burial (Routledge, 2010).
Dr Mark White is Reader in Archaeology at Durham University and specializes in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic of Britain.