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Dr Paul Breeze

Biographical details

Paul has particular research interests in dispersals of Homo sapiens and other hominins in the middle-latitudes of Africa and western Asia and how population movements and dynamics in these areas may relate to climatic fluctuations of the past. 

Working at the interface between geography, archaeology and palaeoanthropology, Paul investigates past climatic, hydrological and geomorphological fluctuations in deserts and their relationship to early human dispersals, and modern land degradation in arid environments. He has expertise in remote sensing and GIS, and synthesising data on past climate with the archaeological record to contextualise, locate and investigate new archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research sites. Having performed 11 seasons of fieldwork in deserts in North Africa, Asia and Arabia since 2009, Paul has field specialisms in landscape surveying, desert navigation, use of UAV’s, desert geomorphology and archaeological excavation.

He has authored or co-authored 45 published peer-reviewed publications to date, many in high-impact journals including Nature, Science Advances, PNAS, Quaternary Science Reviews, and others. These have served to refine models of the past environments of the Saharo-Arabian deserts and the routes by which hominins dispersed out-of-Africa during the Pleistocene. Paul’s PhD thesis “Palaeohydrology and Mid-Late Pleistocene hominin dispersals within the Arabian Peninsula”, developed innovative methods for mapping ancient lakes and rivers in deserts and their relationship to the archaeological record. See his former student page for earlier outputs.  

Since 2016 he has had lecturing and assessment duties at King’s College London alongside his research roles, and he was a visiting lecturer and course convener at Royal Holloway for the 2017-18 academic year.

Prior to his PhD, he worked as a landscape archaeologist for the University of Birmingham Visual and Spatial Technologies in Archaeology centre on commercial and research projects, and as a commercial archaeologist for the Universities of Birmingham and Leicester.

He obtained an MA (with distinction) in Practical Archaeology from the University of Birmingham in 2007, and a BSC (hons) in Geology and Archaeology from the University of Birmingham in 2003.


Research interests

Human evolution, hominin dispersals, and prehistory in mid-latitude deserts.

Palaeoenvironments, palaeohydrology and Quaternary climate change.

Archaeological prospection and landscape archaeological and palaeogeographic analyses using GIS and remotely-sensed data.


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