Matt Pope
  • m.pope@ucl.ac.uk
  • Direct: +44 (0)20 7679 4755
  • Internal: 24755
  • Room 617A
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Matthew Pope


Since completing my doctoral research in 2003 I have combined grant-funded field-research and Palaeolithic practise in the commercial sector with teaching at the Institute of Archaeology.  Since 2010 I have helped to coordinate a multi-disciplinary team in the renewed investigation of La Cotte de St Brelade and the wider Quaternary archaeology of the island of Jersey.  This project now forms the basis for an emerging international research network focused on the English Channel/La Manche region of Northern Europe.

At the Institute of Archaeology I teach Paleolithic archaeology, the interpretation of archaeological datasets and coordinate the Archaeology of Human Evolution research network.

I have a strong commitment to public outreach and science communication being a regular contributor to radio, television and print/digital media.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the interpretation of archaeological records relating to human evolution. In particular I am interested in early human adaptations to north European environments and responses to long and short-term climate change.  I utilize technological, taphonomic, geoarchaeological and experimental approaches to the archaeology of early human origins.  

My methodological focus is currently on the development of sampling and excavation techniques which take into account the complexity of the archaeological record at varying scales of investigation. From landscape morphology to site based, geoarchaeologically-led excavation methods I am working with colleagues to develop new recording and interpretative frameworks.

My theoretical focus continues to consider the interactions between early human populations and artifact scatters and the evolutionary trajectory of human modification of the environment at varying scales.

Currently my research is focused on:

  • Neanderthal adaptations to landscape and climate variability: including the use of home-bases and landscape hunting strategies.
  • The development and use of early hunting weaponry by Neanderthal and other early human populations.
  • Palaeolithic landscape records and geomorphological controls over archaeological site preservation.
  • Patterns of self-organisation and cognitive engagement with landscapes in the Paleolithic record.
  • Raw material transport, use and discard patterns, including scientific approaches to provenancing.

Research Directory Records

Educational Background

  • 1990 - 1993 BSc Archaeology. University of Wales, College Cardiff
  • 1997 - 2002 PhD Archaeology. University of Southampton

I would welcome applications to undertake PhD research with me on the following topics or other relevant subject areas:

  • Middle and Lower Palaeolithic behaviour and technology: Especially in relation to landscape use, raw materials and interpretation of reduction strategies
  • The origins of the Early Upper Palaeolithic in Northern Europe
  • Late Upper Palaeolithic and  Mesolithic archaeology in Southern Britain
  • Geomorphology, sedimentation and human behaviour in the Pleistocene
  • Palaeolithic use of projectiles and hunting strategies

Current students

  • Annemieke Milks: The Performance of Early Middle Pleistocene Weapons (Second Supervisor: Louise Martin).
  • Lesley Blundell: Early human landscape use in north west Europe (Second Supervisor Andrew Garrard).
  • Tomos Proffitt: A technological analysis of the Oldowan and Developed Oldowan assemblages from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania (principal supervisor Ignacio de la Torre

Completed PhD Students

 Kate Emery: A re-examination of variability in handaxe form in the British Palaeolithic (Principal Supervisor Norah Moloney)

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