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Department of Archaeology


Professor Mark White, BA, PhD

Professor in the Department of Archaeology

Contact Professor Mark White (email at


About Mark White

Mark White specialises in the Palaeolithic of Britain. His published work includes papers on handaxe morphology, the palaeogeography & settlement history of Palaeolithic Britain, the multiple emergence of Levallois technology, the timing and nature of the British Middle Palaeolithic, and the Clactonian controversy. Mark's research focus has over the years shifted towards the Middle-Upper Palaeolithic, and he is currently working on a number of ideas surrounding hunting in the Middle Palaeolithic.

Mark's second key focus is the history of archaeology, and he is keenly interested in Victorian Antiquarians, especially the more eccentric ones. He has published articles re-assessing the work and contribution of several Victorian pioneers, such as Sir John Evans and Worthington Smith, as well as a monograph ( on Nina Layard’s wonderful site at Foxhall Road, Ipswich, excavated between 1903-1905. Using newly discovered archives Mark gave this long neglected site new relevance to the debates of the 21st century.

Current Projects
Mark is currently involved in a series of field projects with Prof. Paul Pettitt, designed to explore the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic in Britain.

He is also working an editing a monograph for English Heritage, aimed at widely disseminating the results of projects funded under the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (2002-2011).

Mark has also, rather late in his career, started nursing ideas that handaxe shape may be culturally significant, and is currently looking to start a new project testing the notion using the Wey terraces.

Recent Works
Mark has just finished a co-authored book “The British Palaeolithic: hominin societies at the edge of the Pleisticene World”, which was published in January 2012. It's only £23 from a certain web-site.

Research Students
Mark currently has a number of PhD students working on Palaeolithic or Mesolithic topics. Durham has an excellent gradiuate community in this area, with people working on handaxes and the individual, hominin exploitation of upland zones, Mesolithic Scotland, the meaning of microliths, and the cognitive basis of fission-fusion societies . Others have recently finished PhDs on the History of the British Palaeolithic, the Middle Pleistocene colonisation of Europe, The Palaeolithic of Syria, the isotopic evidence for Pleistocene migrations, Middle Pleistocene small mammal communities, and The Early Middle Palaeolithic of Britain. Mark would be interested in supervising students on any Palaeolithic topic, so if you are interested in working with Mark please contact him.

Research Interests

  • History of Palaeolithic Archaeology
  • Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Britain & Europe
  • Palaeolithic Stone Tools
  • Quaternary studies


Books: authored

Books: edited

  • White, T., White. M., Bridgland, D. & Howard, A. (2008). The Quaternary of the Trent, Field Guide. London: QRA.

Books: sections

Journal papers: academic

Journal papers: popular

Selected Grants

  • 2007: English Heritage: The Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Occupation of the Fenland Rivers of Cambridgeshire
  • 2006: Leverhulme Trust: The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain in its European Context
  • 2006: Templeton Foundation: Knowledgeable Knappers
  • 2005: English Heritage/Oxford Archaeology: The Thames Through Time
  • 2005: English Heritage: The Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Occupation of the Trent I
  • 2003: British Academy: The Dover Hinterland Project
  • 2002: CBRL: The Pleistocene of the River Orontes, Syria
  • 2001: Leverhulme Trust: The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain


Archaeology Staff June 2014