adapted from a design by George Bain based on the Book of Kells home Programme Bookings Shop The Wuffings .
Wuffing Education

The North-West Frontier: The Early Human Colonisation of Britain

Excavations at Happisburgh 2010 (© Peter Hoare)

with Dr Nick Ashton

in The Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 5th March, 2011

An exploration of the human occupation of Britain over the last million years from the arrival of our African forebears to the last Neanderthals. The evidence will be shown against the backdrop of dramatic changes in climate and the island status of Britain.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Conquering the north: the early colonisation of Britain. Britain contains the earliest evidence for humans in northern Europe at over 800,000 years ago. The talk will explain the new evidence from sites such as Pakefield and Happisburgh and explain how they fit into ideas on the early colonisation from southern Europe.  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 The environments and technology of early humans. East Anglia has a number of key sites for understanding the types of habitat that humans occupied during the Lower Palaeolithic between 800,000 and 300,000 years ago. The talk discusses how humans coped with a diversity of environments through the development of technologies such as fire, clothing and shelter.  
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 Island Britain. At times Britain was simply a far-flung peninsula of north-west Europe, at other times an island. The changes in geography were caused through tectonics, climate change and the catastrophic creation of the Dover Strait. The talk discusses the huge impact on human populations entering Britain and the effects of isolation and at times local extinction.  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Neanderthals. The caricature of Neanderthals as inept fools is dismissed through the discussion of their technology, skills as hunters and how unraveling of their DNA is bringing new surprises. They were one of the most successful species of human, but there are still unanswered questions as to whether modern humans were involved in their extinction 40,000 years ago.  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Nick Ashton

Dr Nick Ashton has worked at the British Museum for over 25 years where he has specialised in the early Palaeolithic of Europe. He has directed excavations at the Suffolk sites of High Lodge, Barnham, Elveden and Hoxne and is currently excavating at Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast. His main research interests are the earliest occupation of Europe, the innovation of technology through environmental change and the development of Britain as an island. He has published extensively on these topics and is currently Deputy Director of Leverhulme-funded Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project (AHOB).

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Nick Ashton & Simon Lewis, “Deserted Britain: declining populations in the British Late Pleistocene”, Antiquity 76 (2002), 388-396.
Nick Barton, Stone Age Britain. (English Heritage & Batsford 1997).
John McNabb, The British Lower Palaeolithic. Stones in Contention. (Routledge 2007)
Simon Parfitt, Nick Ashton, & Simon Lewis, “Happisburgh”, British Archaeology (September/October 2010)
Chris Stringer, Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain (Allen Lane 2005; Penguin 2006).
Chris Stringer and Clive Gamble, In Search of Neanderthals. (Thames & Hudson 1993)
John Wymer. The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain. (Wessex Archaeology & English Heritage 1999).


Please phone or email to check the availability of places.  Study Days are £38 per person, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition.  Once you have reserved your place please send a cheque to confirm the booking. For your first booking please complete the application form to ensure that we have recorded your contact details correctly.

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
(tel : 01394 386498)

Email cliff AT
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