Alex Wilshaw

Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology

Office:  James Parsons Building, Byrom Street, Liverpool, L3 3AF

+44 0151 904 6482

LJMU Staff Webpage

Alex Wilshaw

Research Interests

My research interests broadly concern human biological and behavioural evolution during the later Pleistocene and Holocene, with a particular expertise on Eastern Africa. Specifically, I am concerned with using the archaeological and palaeoanthropological records to infer information about early human populations, their relationships with each other, response to environmental changes, and the patterns and processes that have influenced them. This period of time is crucial for understanding human diversity and the patterns of variation that we see in modern humans today, but despite the temporal proximity to the modern era, we have very little evidence of behaviour and even less pertaining to the biology of these early modern humans.

Current Research Projects

The In Africa Project

In Africa is an ERC funded project led by Professor Marta Mirazon Lahr, on which I work as a long-term collaborator. The project focuses on the evolution of Homo sapiens in East Africa during the late Quaternary, their use of resources, and the patterns and processes that have resulted in the human diversity that we see today.

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Hands on Harpoons

Hands on Harpoons is an experimental archaeology project examining fracture properties to establish whether it is possible to differentiate between taphonomic damage and deliberate human modification of bone fragments. This has significant application when trying to identify informal bone tools or artefacts produced within the early stages of manufacture of formal tools such as harpoons.

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Prehistoric landuse on the Plateau de Valensole & Pays Forcalquier

Southern France is known for its rich record of human prehistory from the later Pleistocene. However, much of the archaeological and evolutionary record relies upon a limited number of Cave sites. This project addresses the wider use of the landscape by hominins and focuses on the broader distribution of evidence, with an aim of identifiying important novel sites away from the traditional focus of caves.

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Other Research Projects and Academic Activities

Alex’s other academic activities include:

  • Spatio-temporal evolution of the Kenya Capsian Stone Tool Industry, Kenya, and its implications for late-Pleistocene population patterns
  • Trans-Sahara Project (Prehistory of southern Libya)
  • SUNDASIA Project, collaborating with PI Dr Ryan Rabett, Queen’s University, Belfast


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