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Monday 16th October 2017 - Dr. Andy Shaw
Monday 16th October 2017 - Dr. Andy Shaw
Neanderthals in the English Channel:
La Cotte de St Brelade and the Lost Landscapes of La Manche'

'The English Channel (La Manche) is a key region for investigating changing Neanderthal behaviour during the Middle and Upper Pleistocene (~250 000–30 000 years ago). In this talk we focus on recent investigations into Neanderthal activity in the now submerged landscapes of one part of it, the Normano-Breton Gulf. We focus on new work on the key archaeological site of La Cotte de St Brelade, Jersey, in particular, a reassessment of the material excavated between 1961 and 1978 by Professor Charles McBurney of the University of Cambridge.

One of the areas, as expected, has proved to have dense Iron Age and Roman features. The part of the Roman settlement revealed so far has evidence of a road/street layout with a staggered crossroad, large formal enclosures and several buildings – clearly indicating a zone of quite formal settlement. Subsequent excavation will tell us the nature of that settlement.
This remarkable site has produced over 250 000 stone tools and in excess of 10 000 faunal remains (including 13 Neanderthal teeth) from deposits reflecting occupation and abandonment of the site by Neanderthals over ~200 000 years. Jersey is an island, but during large parts of the Pleistocene would have been an upland terrestrial ‘island’ within the now-submerged landscape of the Normano-Breton Gulf, or a peninsula linked to France. This changing geographic status can be linked to the archaeological record from La Cotte enabling us to recreate how Neanderthals occupied these lost landscapes.

Dr Andrew Shaw is a Research Fellow within Archaeology at the University of Southampton. My interest in Palaeolithic archaeology and Quaternary science stems from my undergraduate studies at the University of Durham and subsequent MA in the Archaeology of Human Origins at the University of Southampton. This led to my PhD on the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic of Syria carried out at the University of Durham. Subsequently, I worked at the British Museum cataloguing their Near Eastern Palaeolithic and epi-Palaeolithic collections prior to been awarded an Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to study the late Lower and early Middle Palaeolithic in Lebanon and Syria at the University of Southampton. I am currently employed as research fellow working on the AHRC funded ‘Crossing the Threshold' project which is seeking to understand the evolutionary significance of the appearance of the repeated use of place by humans during the Middle Pleistocene. I have been involved in research projects focussed on the UK, northern continental Europe, Syria and Lebanon. Additionally, I have also been engaged in Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Pleistocene geoarchaeological consultancy works in the UK.