Archaeology of Human Origins

About this Group

‌The University of Liverpool is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of human origins and evolutionary anthropology. Over the last thirty years our scholars have contributed to many areas of this crucial research, which affirms that knowing the nature of our own species is a fundamental need in both sciences and humanities.


The research group’s main focus is on the evolution of hominin cultural abilities and ecological adaptations, including:

  • Long term evolution of cultural abilities
  • Development of stone tool technologies from the Oldowan to the Upper Palaeolithic
  • The emergence of symbolism, language, and artistic tradition
  • Innovation, social transmission, and learning
  • The origin of human ecological adaptations
  • Speciation, extinction, and dispersal
  • Responses of prehistoric humans to climatic change.

'Lucy to Language'

The group provided a context for the £1 million British Academy Centenary project, ‘Lucy to Language’, which investigated the application of the ‘social brain’ theory to the hominin record, with the University of Liverpool looking closely at the role of fire in human evolution.

North-West Network for Human Evolution Research (The Network)

We are a member institution of The Network. Learn more