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Professor in Quaternary Science, Royal Holloway University of London

My research focusses on using luminescence dating techniques to answer key questions relating to climate change and archaeology in Africa/Arabia. In particular I have worked to determine the timing and pattern of anatomically modern human (AMH) migration in present-day African and Arabian drylands. My research into North African/Arabian climate change has added to evidence that the Sahara/Arabian deserts have a long history of repeated wetting and drying, with important implications for understanding the climatic controls on future water resources and global biogeochemical cycling. Since 2010 I have focussed on understanding the timing of the evolution of “behavioural modernity” in our species. This became my main research focus in 2017 when, as one of six Principle Investigators, I established the Centre of Excellence in Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE) at the University of Bergen, Norway. The SapienCE centre brings together expertise in palaeoclimatic reconstruction, archaeology, cognition and social organisation to answer questions about the process and drivers of our species’ first steps towards modernity.


  • –present
    Professor in Quaternary Science, Royal Holloway