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Nick Ashton

Nick Ashton has been a curator at the British Museum for 30 years, specializing in Lower and Middle Palaeolithic archaeology and helps curate the extensive stone tool collections from these periods. He has directed and published major excavation projects at the Lower Palaeolithic sites of High Lodge, Barnham, Elveden, Hoxne (all Suffolk) and Happisburgh (Norfolk).

From 2001-2013 he was Deputy Director of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project (AHOB) funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This project with colleagues from the Natural History Museum, UCL, QMUL, RHUL, Oxford, Cambridge and York, has been examining the presence and habitat preferences of early humans in north-west Europe over the last 800,000 years. This work is now being continued with funding from the Calleva Foundation for The Pathways into Ancient Britain Project.

Research interests

  • Earliest human occupation of northern Europe, currently being investigated through fieldwork at Happisburgh.
  • The early human adaptation to northern environments
  • The palaeogeography of Britain and the effect of island/peninsular status to human occupation.
  • The changing demography of Palaeolithic Britain
  • Ashton, N.M. & Lewis, S.G. 2012. The environmental contexts of early human occupation of north-west Europe: the British Lower Palaeolithic record. Quaternary International 271, 50-64.
  • Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. & Stringer, C.B. (eds) 2011. The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. & Hosfield, R. 2011. Mapping the human record: Population change in Britain during the later Middle Pleistocene. In Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. & Stringer, C.B. (eds) The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 39-51.
  • Lewis, S.G., Ashton, N.M. & Jacobi, R.M. 2011. Testing human presence during the Last Interglacial (MIS 5e): A review of the British evidence. In Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. & Stringer, C.B. (eds) The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 125-164.
  • Scott, B. & Ashton, N.M. 2011. The Early Middle Palaeolithic: the European context. In Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. & Stringer, C.B. (eds) The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 67-89.
  • White, M.J., Ashton, N.M. & Scott, B. 2011. The emergence, diversity and significance of the Mode 3 (prepared core) technologies. In Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. & Stringer, C.B. (eds) The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 53-65.
  • Ashton, N.M. & Hosfield, R. 2010. Mapping the human record in the British early Palaeolithic: evidence from the Solent River system. Journal of Quaternary Science 25, 737-753.
  • Parfitt, S.A., Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G., Abel, R.L., Coope, G.R., Field, M.H., Gale, R., Hoare, P.G., Larkin, N.R., Lewis, M.D., Karloukovski, V., Maher, B.A., Peglar, S.M., Preece, R.C., Whittaker, J.E. & Stringer, C.B. 2010. Early Pleistocene human occupation at the edge of the boreal zone in northwest Europe. Nature 466, 229-233.
  • Scott, B., Ashton, N.M., Penkman, K.E.H., Preece, R.C. & White, M. 2010. The position and context of Middle Palaeolithic industries from the Ebbsfleet Valley, Kent, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science 25, 931-944.
  • Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G., Parfitt, S., Penkman, K.E.H. 2008. New evidence for complex climate change in MIS 11 from Hoxne, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews 27, 652-668
  • Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G., Parfitt, S.A. & White, M. 2006. Riparian landscapes and human habitat preferences during the Hoxnian (MIS 11) Interglacial. Journal of Quaternary Science 21(5), 497-505.
  • Lewis, S.G. & Ashton, N.M. (eds). 2006. Journal of Quaternary Science. Special Issue: The Palaeolithic Occupation of Europe: In Memory of John J. Wymer, 1928-2006.
  • White, M., Scott, B. & Ashton, N.M. 2006. The Early Middle Palaeolithic in Britain: archaeology, human settlement history and technological organisation. Journal of Quaternary Science 21(5), 525-541.
  • Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S., Parfitt, S., Candy, I., Keen, D., Kemp, R., Penkman, K., Thomas, G., Whittaker, J. & White, M. 2005. Excavations at the Lower Palaeolithic site at Elveden, Suffolk, UK. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 71, 1-61.
  • Scott, B., Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G., Parfitt, S.A. & White, M.J. Technology and land use in the early Middle Palaeolithic of the Thames valley. 2011. In Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. & Stringer, C.B. (eds) The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 91-112.
  • White, M.J. & Ashton, N.M. 2003. Lower Palaeolithic core technology and the origins of the Levallois method in NW Europe. Current Anthropology 44: 598-609.
  • Morris, J, Ashton, N.M. and Lee, K. 2003. An examination of lithic technological variability at the site of Sheri Khan Tarakai, NWFP, Pakistan, through experimental replication. PalĂ©orient 29, 135-146.
  • Ashton, N.M. & Lewis, S. 2002. Deserted Britain: declining populations in the British late Middle Pleistocene. Antiquity 76, 388-396.
  • Morris, J. and Ashton, N. 2001. The Lithic Assemblage from the Neolithic Site of Sheri Khan Tarakai, NWFP, Pakistan: the Technological Interpretation and the Resultant Socio-Economic Implications. PalĂ©orient 27, 127-139.
  • Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. & Parfitt, S.A. (eds) 1998. Excavations at Barnham 1989-94. London, British Museum Occasional Paper 125.
  • Ashton, N.M., Healy, F. & Pettitt, P. (eds) 1998. Stone Age Archaeology: Essays in Honour of John Wymer. Oxford, Oxbow Books.
  • Conway, B., McNabb, J. & Ashton, N.M. (eds) 1996. Excavations at Swanscombe 1968-72. British Museum Occasional Paper 94. London, BMP.
  • Ashton, N.M. & David, A. (eds) 1994. Stories in Stone. Occasional Paper of the Lithic Studies Society No. 4. Proceedings of the anniversary conference at St Hilda's College, Oxford, April 1993.
  • Ashton, N.M., Cook, J., Lewis, S.G. & Rose, J. (eds) 1992. High Lodge: Excavations by G de G Sieveking 1962-68 and J Cook 1988. London, BMP.

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