Prehistoric Migrations

Snow, sleet, hail and slippery roads notwithstanding, the whole class was present to discuss migrations in prehistory. We had read the introductory chapter of Gordon Childe’s Prehistoric Migrations in Europe (1950) and discussed his views on culture, cultural change and migration, which he sets out with remarkable clarity of argument. We were then treated to a guest lecture by JIAAW graduate Tom Leppard, who explained how paleontological evidence and biogeographical theories can be used to gauge the level of intensity and impact of early prehistoric migrations of Mediterranean islands, without actually having to find the precise sites, where these early hominins and hominids stayed and worked.

Tom’s lecture and Leach et al.’s paper on ‘the Lady of York’ (Antiquity 2010) led to a discussion of how new theories and techniques (e.g. dna and isotope analysis) from other disciplines may or had better not be used to investigate ancient migration.