Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology
I am Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology at Leiden University (PhD 1989). My research has a heavy emphasis on the archaeology of Neanderthals and other (earlier) Eurasian hominins and I have published widely on various aspects of the behaviour of early hominins, including their subsistence strategies, lithic technologies and the environmental settings of their presence and absence in Eurasia.
My studies of the Neandertal niche are heavily rooted in data obtained in archaeological field- and laboratory work. I have (co-) directed large-scale fieldwork in the Netherlands, in France, northern Russia, Germany and in England, and recently collaborated with Melbourne colleague Dr Richard Cosgrove in an Australian Research Council funded comparison of the archaeological signals from Pleistocene Tasmania and southwest France.
My current research focus is on the deep prehistory of fire usage, with a series of experimental and archaeological case studies, made possible by a KNAW-professorship prize (2013). Earlier research awards include the Europa prize of the Prehistoric Society (UK), a Humboldt research prize (D) and the Dutch NWO Spinoza prize.
I am member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and of the Academia Europaea, and founding member and Vice President of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (ESHE) (2011-). My biggest asset consists of the people with whom I cooperate within (and outside of) our Human Origins group in Leiden, who make this interesting field of ours an almost continuous source of puzzlement and learning, as well as fun!