Dr Jennifer French BA, MPhil, PhD, FHEA

Lecturer in Palaeolithic Archaeology Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology


Research Overview

I am a specialist in the European Palaeolithic, with a particular focus on the Middle and Upper stages of this period (Neanderthals and the first Homo sapiens in Europe).

The three main themes of my research programme are listed below. These themes are drawn together in my new monograph "Palaeolithic Europe: A Demographic and Social Prehistory" (2021, Cambridge University Press, World Archaeology Series). In this volume, I develop a new four-stage model of the population history of Europe between ~1.8 million and 15,000 years ago, using demography as the lens through which to examine Palaeolithic societies, and the relationship(s) between people, material culture, and the environment.

From January 2023, I am the Co-I of one of the work packages within the multinational research project "Concepts in Dynamic Assemblages: Cultural Evolution and the Human Way of Being", funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Along with colleagues at Appalachian State University (USA), this work package will investigate early technologies and the continued role of technology within the human niche through the lens of 'concepts' , connecting theory and methods from archaeology, palaeoanthropology, ethnography and cultural evolution. Specifically, this project focuses on the technological concept of 'containment' and on the role of containment technologies in our evolutionary past from both a theoretical and materials perspective. Further information about the wider project can be found here: https://www.templeton.org/grant/concepts-in-dynamic-assemblages-cultural-evolution-and-the-human-way-of-being)

I am also an active field researcher currently conducting field research at the early prehistoric site of Wogan Cavern (Pembroke, Wales). For more information, visit our website: https://www.wogancavern.org/

Archaeological Demography/Palaeodemography

The methodological and theoretical challenges of the archaeology of archaic hominins

Hunter-gatherer studies

Research Grants

Concepts in Dynamic Assemblages: Cultural Evolution and the Human Way of Being


September 2022 - May 2025