Archaeology: Palaeolithic Archaeology
Leiden University’s Human Origins group has been running large-scale excavations at Neumark-Nord 2 (Germany), a unique Middle Palaeolithic site with excellent preservation of faunal and lithic material in fine-grained lake deposits, dating to about 125,000 years ago. Currently, excavations focus on the site of Les Cottés (France), which has a unique record of the archaeology of both the last Neanderthals and the earliest modern humans.
As a student, you get a chance to work on some of the material from both sites as well as their contexts. Cooperation with the scientists working on these sites provides you with the opportunity to learn how archaeologists study the chronology, environment, and the lithic and faunal materials at archaeological sites.
An important research focus is the prehistory of early fire usage, in which graduate students participate with their thesis research. Staff as well as student members of the research group also participate in new studies of the Eugène Dubois collection, which includes the type fossil of Homo erectus, at Naturalis (Museum of Natural History) in Leiden. The ongoing multidisciplinary study of this important collection yields fascinating topics for graduate student research, more than a century after Dubois returned from Trinil, Java.