Institute of Archaeology


Repeopling La Manche

14 July 2023

A volume providing new perspectives on Neanderthal Archaeology and Landscapes from La Cotte de St Brelade, co-edited by Matthew Pope (UCL Institute of Archaeology), is now available.

Archaeologists led by Mathew Pope (UCL) excavating at the site of La Cotte de St Brelade, Jersey (July 2022)

This volume, recently published by Oxbow Books, and part of the acclaimed Prehistoric Society Research Papers series, provides a starting point for approaching the Middle Palaeolithic record of the English Channel region and considering the ecological opportunities and behavioural constraints this landscape offered to Neanderthal groups in north-west Europe.

Bookcover with blue background and white text with a central image of an island/coastal landscape

The volume, co-edited by Matthew Pope, reviews the Middle Palaeolithic archaeological record along the fringes of La Manche in northern France and southern Britain. It examines this record in light of recent advances in quaternary stratigraphy, science-based dating, and palaeoecology and explores how Palaeolithic archaeology in the region has developed in an interdisciplinary way to transform our understanding of Neanderthal behaviour.

The long-term behavioural record at the site of La Cotte de St Brelade is presented and explored, offering a key to changing Neanderthal behaviour in response to changing climate, sea level and ecology over the last 250,000 years.

According to Matt:

[The volume]...takes the results of our AHRC-funded Crossing the Human Threshold project and integrates them with the work of colleagues from France on the Breton and Norman Palaeolithic record. It’s another step towards framing an early prehistory of La Mancheland, the now-submerged English Channel and adjacent regions. Significantly it also includes our reinterpretation of the La Cotte ‘bone heaps’ as purposefully created Neanderthal structures."

Read more