Skip to content

Early Human Occupation of Britain: CEPSAR Lecture

Updated Wednesday 24th January 2007

Professor Chris Stringer delivered the CEPSAR lecture on the Early Human Occupation of Britain in the Open University Berrill Lecture Theatre on 22nd January 2007

Chris Stringer Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: OU

Humans have probably been in Europe for over a million years, but until recently it was believed that they only colonised northern Europe in the last 500,000 years. Until recently it was also generally believed that the Pleistocene human occupation of Britain was near continuous from at least 400,000 years ago. However, new research suggests that instead, there were repeated colonization events, followed by local extinctions, and recolonisations.

The unique palaeogeographic position of Britain meant that periods of low sea level with the maximum extent of land connection with continental Europe were also the least hospitable due to climatic deterioration, while the establishment of the English Channel during the Middle Pleistocene meant that at times of climatic optima, Britain became an island, isolating existing inhabitants, or preventing the arrival of new ones.

Chris reveals what the latest techniques are telling us about early life on these islands.

Watch or listen to the lecture online

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

What did Europe make of Theresa May's Brexit plans? Creative commons image Icon American Embassy in London under Creative Commons BY-ND 4.0 license article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

What did Europe make of Theresa May's Brexit plans?

Theresa May outlined the UK's approach for the Brexit negotiations. How did he counterparts around the rest of the continent react?

Article
Ancestors on the beach Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

Nature & Environment 

Ancestors on the beach

Patricia Ash explores the evidence of our ancestors on the coast – and how they lived their lives

Article
Britain's Billion Year Journey Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Dreamstime article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Britain's Billion Year Journey

The geological history and geographical position of Britain can be traced back one billion years. Follow Britain’s journey through time

Article
Total War - 1644-1645 Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Wark Clements article icon

History & The Arts 

Total War - 1644-1645

Marston Moor marked the start of a new, deeper phase of the war

Article
Brutalism Creative commons image Icon Ben.Harper under CC-BY-NC-SA licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

History & The Arts 

Brutalism

A brief history of Brutalism in modern architecture

Article
Stonehenge - another perspective Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

History & The Arts 

Stonehenge - another perspective

Not everyone agrees with Darvill and Wainwright's latest theory about the purpose of Stonehenge. Olwen Williams-Thorpe offers her perspective.

Article
Riches & Misery: The Consequences Of The Atlantic Slave Trade Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

History & The Arts 

Riches & Misery: The Consequences Of The Atlantic Slave Trade

Dr Will Hardy assesses the consequences of the Atlantic Slave trade.

Article
The mother of the American Athens Creative commons image Icon Jules & Jenny under Creative Commons BY 4.0 license article icon

History & The Arts 

The mother of the American Athens

An excusrion to Lincolnshire, to see the original Boston.

Article
Two Yorkish episodes Creative commons image Icon Paul Allison under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license article icon

History & The Arts 

Two Yorkish episodes

A visit to the site of a Civil War battle - and a hanging tale of a murder.

Article