Institute of Archaeology


Nick Ashton - Honorary Professor

Nick Ashton

Name: Prof Nick Ashton

Honorary Title: Honorary Professor

Email: n.ashton@ucl.ac.uk

IoA staff nominators’ name and email address:

Andrew Garrard a.garrard@ucl.ac.uk

Ceri Shipton c.shipton@ucl.ac.uk


IoA involvement:

Each year Nick holds a seminar at Franks House (British Museum) for MSc PAPA students relating to his research on the earliest Palaeolithic occupation of the UK. This is accompanied by a handling session of lithics and other material from these projects. This forms a component of module ARCL0123 Themes in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology . As a result of the pandemic, this was provided online this year.

In normal circumstances, Nick also encourages suitably experienced and interested students to undertake dissertation projects based on the collections at Franks House. He have provided supervision to a number of these students over the years and am currently offering this to a MSc PAPA student in association with Ceri Shipton.

In recent years, a number of UCL Institute of Archaeology students have undertaken voluntary curation work on the collections at Franks House under the guidance of Nick and colleagues. Several UCL students participate each year in the Barnham Lower Palaeolithic Field School, which Nick directs. The three weeks’ experience teaches many of the field skills required in Palaeolithic archaeology, geology and environmental science, as well as excursions to neighbouring sites to provide a regional context for the site. This has been cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, but will continue in 2022.

With Professor Mark White (Durham University), Ceri Shipton and Nick Ashton are applying for an AHRC Research Grant: Digital Technologies, Acheulean Handaxes and the Social Landscapes of the Lower Palaeolithic.


Selected recent publications

  • Ashton, N.M., 2021. Steps from History. The Happisburgh Footprints and Their Connections with the Past. In Pastoors, A., Lenssen-Erz, T. (Eds), Reading Prehistoric Human Tracks. Springer https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-60406-6_9
  • Ashton, N.M. and Davis, R.J. in press. Cultural mosaics, social structure and identity: The Acheulean threshold in Europe. Journal of Human Evolution https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2021.103011
  • Bynoe, R., Ashton, N.M., Grimmer, T., Hoare, P.G., Leonard, J., Lewis, S.G., Nicholas, D. and Parfitt, S.A. 2021. Coastal curios? An analysis of ex situ beach finds for mapping new Palaeolithic sites at Happisburgh, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science 36(2), 191-210
  • Davis, R.J., Ashton, N.M., Hatch, M.T., Hoare, P.G. and Lewis, S.G., 2021. Palaeolithic archaeology of the Bytham River: Human occupation of Britain during the early Middle Pleistocene and its European context. Journal of Quaternary Science https://doi.10.1002/jqs.3305
  • Davis, R.J. and Ashton, N.M., 2019. Landscapes, environments and societies: The development of culture in Lower Palaeolithic Europe. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 56. 101107 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2019.101107