Robin Dennell - Publication list #

My research publications reflect the various aspects of my research career. The first, Neolithic part stemmed from my involvement as a post-graduate with the British Academy Major Research Project into the early history of farming under Eric Higgs at Cambridge. These interests focussed on Bulgaria for my Ph.D. (1970-1972) and thereafter, Iran (1975-1978), in the Mahidasht and Kermanshah region, Western Iran with the Royal Ontario Museum, and in the Touran Protected Region, North East Iran for the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Research Programme. This work was abruptly curtailed by the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79.

For the second part of my career (1981-1999), I changed direction and focussed on the palaeolithic and Pleistocene of Pakistan. Major outcomes were the discovery of the oldest artefacts in Asia; the earliest Acheulean bifaces (until 2012) in South Asia; the earliest blade assemblage in South Asia; and a detailed biostratigraphy from 2.1. – 0.9 Ma (million years ago). This work ended abruptly in 1999 after an emphatic demonstration that armed bodyguards were needed in order to conduct fieldwork.

Since 2005, my interests in the palaeolithic and Pleistocene have widened to include all of Asia, but with a special interest in China.

The following is a selected list from 7 books and ca. 120 papers. The most relevant papers can be accessed via

General papers on Pleistocene Europe and Asia:

Dennell, R.W. and Porr, M. (eds.) 2014. East of Africa: Southern Asia, Australia and Modern Human Origins. Cambridge University Press.

Gao Xing and Dennell, R.W. (eds.) 2014. Late Pleistocene and Palaeolithic studies in Northeast Asia. Special issue of Quaternary International.

Dennell, R.W. 2014. Movius and the Line that never was. In Living in the Landscape: Essays in Honour of Graeme Barker, ed. K. Boyle, R. Rabett and C. Hunt. Cambridge: McDonald Institute Monograph, pp.11-34.

Dennell, R.W. and Porr, M. 2014. The past and present of human origins in southern Asia and Australia. In Southern Asia, Australia and the Search for Human Origins, ed. R.W. Dennell and M. Porr, pp. 1-7. Cambridge University Press.

Dennell, R.W. 2014. East Asia and human evolution: from cradle of mankind to cul-de-sac. In Southern Asia, Australia and the Search for Human Origins, ed. R.W. Dennell and M. Porr, pp. 8-20. Cambridge University Press.

Dennell, R.W. 2014. Smoke and mirrors: the fossil record for Homo sapiens between Arabia and Australia. In Southern Asia, Australia and the Search for Human Origins, ed. R.W. Dennell and M. Porr, pp. 33-50. Cambridge University Press.

Boivin, N., Fuller, D.Q., Dennell, R.W., Allaby, R. and Petraglia, M. 2013 Human dispersal across diverse environments of Asia during the Upper Pleistocene. Quaternary International 300, 32-47.

Dennell, R.W. 2013 Hominins, deserts, and the colonisation and settlement of continental Asia. Quaternary International xxx, 1-9.

Dennell, R.W., Louys, J.L., O’Regan, H.J. and Wilkinson, D.M. 2013 The origins and persistence of Homo floresiensis on Flores: biogeographical and ecological perspectives. Quaternary Science Reviews xxx, 1-10.

Dennell, R.W. and Petraglia, M.D. 2012 The dispersal of Homo sapiens across southern Asia: how early, how often, how complex? Quaternary Sciences Reviews 47, 15-22.

McDonald, K., Martinón-Torres, M., Dennell, R. W., and Bermudez de Castro, J.M. 2012. Discontinuity in the record for hominin occupation in south-western Europe: Implications for occupation of the middle latitudes of Europe. Quaternary International xxx, 1-14. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2011.10.009.

Dennell, R.W. 2012 ICOMOS vision of how to fill the gaps on the African World Heritage List related to human evolution. In The World Heritage List in Africa, 38-52, ed. N, Sanz. UNESCO, Paris, pp. 70-83. (ICOMOS = International Council on Museums and Outstanding Sites)

Dennell, R.W., Martinón-Torres, M. and Bermudez de Castro, J.M. 2011 Hominin variability, climatic instability and population demography in Middle Pleistocene Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.11.027.

Martinón-Torres, M., Dennell, R.W., and Bermudez de Castro, J.M. 2011.The Denisova hominin need not be an African story. Journal of Human Evolution 60 (2): 251-255. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.10.005.

Dennell, R.W., 2010 The colonization of “Savannahstan”: issues of timing(s) and patterns of dispersal across Asia in the Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene. In Asian Palaeoanthropology: From Africa to China and Beyond, ed. C.J. Norton and D.R. Braun, 1-24. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9094-2_2, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Dennell, R.W., 2010 “Out of Africa 1: current problems and future prospects”. (Paper resulting from a workshop chaired by Richard Leakey at Stony Brook University, September 2005). In “Out of Africa I: The First Hominin Colonization of Eurasia“, ed. J. Fleagle, pp. 1-27. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9036-2_15, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010.

Dennell, R.W. 2008 Human migration and occupation of Eurasia. Episodes (Journal of International Geoscience) 31 (2), 207-210.

Dennell, R.W. 2007 Archaeological Archives from Asia, 2.7 MYR – 300,000 years ago. Chapter 385, Elsevier Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, ed. S.A. Elias, pp. 73-89. Elsevier B.V. ISBN (set): 0 444 51919 X/978 0 444 51919 1

Petraglia, M.D. and Dennell, R.W. 2007 The Archaeology of Global Expansion 300,000-8000 years ago: Asia. Chapter 365. In Elsevier Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, ed. S.A. Elias, pp. 107-118. Elsevier B.V. ISBN (set): 0 444 51919 X/978 0 444 51919 1.

Dennell, R.W. and Roebroeks, W. 2005 Review paper: Out of Africa: An Asian perspective on early human dispersal from Africa. Nature 438, 1099-1104.

Dennell, R.W. 2005 The Solo (Ngandong, Java) Homo erectus assemblage: a taphonomic assessment. Archaeology in Oceania 40, 81-90.

Dennell, R.W. 2004 Hominid dispersals and Asian biogeography during the Lower and Early Middle Pleistocene, ca. 2.0 - 0.5 Mya. Asian Perspectives 43 (2), 205-226.

Dennell, R.W. 2003 Dispersal and colonisation, long and short chronologies: how continuous is the Early Pleistocene record for hominids outside East Africa? Journal of Human Evolution 45, 421-440.

Dennell, R.W. 2001 From Sangiran to Olduvai, 1937-1960: the quest for “centres” of hominid origins in Asia and Africa. In Studying Human Origins: Disciplinary History and Epistemology, ed. R. Corbey and W. Roebroeks, pp. 45-66. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Dennell, R.W. 1997 Life at the sharp end: The world’s oldest spears. Nature 385, 767-768.

Dennell, R.W. and Roebroeks, W. 1996 The earliest colonisation of Europe: the short chronology revisited. Antiquity 70, 535-542.

Dennell, R.W. 1990 Progressive gradualism, imperialism, and academic fashion: Lower Palaeolithic archaeology in the twentieth century. Antiquity 64, 549-558.

Papers on the Chinese Palaeolithic:

Zhao-Yu Zhu, Robin Dennell ,Wei-Wen Huang, Yi Wu, Zhi-Guo Rao, Shi-Fan Qiu, Jiu-Bing Xie, Wu Liu, Shu-Qing Fu, Jiang-Wei Han, Hou-Yun Zhou, Ting-Ping Ou Yang, Hua-Mei Li. 2015. New dating of the Homo erectus cranium from Lantian (Gongwangling), China. Journal of Human Evolution 78, 144-157.

Gao Xing and Dennell, R.W. 2014. Guest editorial: Late Pleistocene and Palaeolithic studies in North-east Asia. Quaternary International xxx, 1-4.

Dennell, R.W. 2012 The Nihewan Basin of North China in the Early Pleistocene: Continuous and flourishing, or discontinuous, infrequent and ephemeral occupation? Quaternary International 295, 223–236, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.02.012

Dennell, R.W. 2010. Early Homo sapiens in China. Nature 468, 512-513.

Pei, S., Gao, X., Feng, X., Chen, F., and Dennell, R.W., 2010. Lithic assemblage from the Jingshuiwan Paleolithic site of the early Late Pleistocene in the Three Gorges, China. Quaternary International 211, 66-74.

Yue Zhang, Y.,Mary C. Stiner, M.C., Dennell, R.W., Wang C., Zhang, S. and Gao, X. 2010. Zooarchaeological perspectives on the Chinese Early and Late Paleolithic from the Ma’anshan site (Guizhou, South China). Journal of Archaeological Science 37 (8), 2066-2077. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2010.03.012.

Middle career: Pakistan and South Asia#


Dennell, R.W. 2004 Early Hominin Landscapes in Northern Pakistan: Investigations in the Pabbi Hills (with contributions from M. Anwar, M. Beech, R. Coard, L. Hurcombe, H. Rendell, and A. Turner). British Archaeological Reports International Series 1265: 1-454. (175 tables, 140 figures).

This monograph completes the full publication of the primary data (fossils and stones tools between 0.8-2.2 million years old) that I and my team collected in the Pabbi Hills, Pakistan from 1986-1992 and in 1999.

Rendell, H.R., Dennell, R.W. and Halim, M. 1989. Pleistocene and Palaeolithic Investigations in the Soan Valley, Northern Pakistan. British Archaeological Reports International Series 544. (364 pp., 110 figs). This monograph presents the primary data from the Soan Valley, Pakistan from the 1981-1985 field seasons.


Dennell, R.W. 2011 An earlier Acheulian arrival in South Asia. Science 331, 1532-1533.

Dennell, R.W., Coard, R. and Turner, A. 2008 Predators and scavengers in Early Pleistocene southern Asia. Quaternary International 192, 78-88. (Invited paper in volume to the memory of Gudrun Corvinus).

Dennell, R.W. 2008 The taphonomic record of Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene landscapes in the Pabbi Hills, northern Pakistan, and its implications on the preservation of hominin remains. Quaternary International 192, 62-77. (Invited paper in volume to the memory of Gudrun Corvinus).

Dennell, R.W. 2007 “Resource-rich, stone-poor”: early hominin land use in large river systems of northern India and Pakistan. In “The Evolution and Diversity of Humans in South Asia”, ed. by M. Petraglia and B. Allchin, pp. 41-68. Springer.

Dennell R.W., Coard, R. and Turner, A. 2006 The biostratigraphy and magnetic polarity zonation of the Pabbi Hills, northern Pakistan: an Upper Siwalik (Pinjor Stage) Plio-Pleistocene fluvial sequence. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 234, 168-185.

Dennell, R.W., Coard, R., Beech, M., Anwar, M. and Turner, A. 2005 Two Upper Siwalik (Pinjor Stage) fossil accumulations from localities 73 and 362 in the Pabbi Hills, Pakistan. Journal of the Palaeontological Society of India 50 (2), 101-111.

Dennell, R.W., Coard, R., Beech, M., Anwar, M. and Turner, A. 2005 Locality 642, an Upper Siwalik (Pinjor Stage) fossil accumulation in the Pabbi Hills, Pakistan. Journal of the Palaeontological Society of India 50 (1), 83-92.

Dennell, R.W. 1999 The Palaeolithic and Pleistocene potential of the Indus drainage system: a review of recent work. In The Indus River: Biodiversity, Resources, Humankind, ed. A. and P. Meadows, pp. 306-319. Linnaean Society, London/Karachi: Oxford University Press.

Dennell, R.W. 1998 Grasslands, tool-making and the earliest colonization of south Asia: a reconsideration. In Early Human Behavior in Global Context: The Rise and Diversity of the Lower Palaeolithic Record, pp. 280-303, ed. by M. Petraglia and R. Korisettar. London: Routledge. (This resulted from the World Archaeological Congress conference in Delhi in 1994).

Dennell, R.W. 1995 The early stone age of Pakistan: a methodological review. Man and Environment: 20 (1), 21-28.

Dennell, R.W. and Rendell, H. 1991 De Terra and Paterson, and the Soan flake industry: a perspective from the Soan Valley, Pakistan. Man and Environment 16 (2), 91-99.

Dennell, R.W., Rendell, H., Halim, M. and Moth, E. 1991 Site 55, Riwat: a 42,000 yr.-bp. open-air palaeolithic site from northern Pakistan. Journal of Field Archaeology 19, 17-33.

Dennell, R.W., Rendell, H. and Hailwood, E. 1988. Early tool-making in Asia : two-million year-old artefacts in Pakistan. Antiquity 62, 98-106.

Rendell, H., Hailwood, W. and Dennell, R.W. 1987 Magnetic polarity stratigraphy of Upper Siwalik Sub-Group, Soan Valley, Pakistan: implications for early human occupance of Asia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 85, 488-496.

Rendell, H. and Dennell, R.W. 1987 The dating of an upper pleistocene archaeological site at Riwat, northern Pakistan. Geoarchaeology 1, 6-12.

Early career: publications on archaeobotany, early farming, and European economic prehistory:#


Dennell, R.W. 1983. European Economic Prehistory: A New Approach. London/N.Y: Academic Press. (1984 - paperback version; 1987 - Spanish translation; 1995 - Japanese version).

Dennell, R.W. 1978. Early Farming in South Bulgaria from the VIth to IIIrd millennium b.c. British Archaeological Reports International Series 47. (183 pp. + 110 tables and 51 figs.). (This was the published version of my Ph.D.).

Articles and chapters:

Dennell, R.W. 1992 The origins of European crop agriculture. In The Origins of Crop Agriculture (eds.) P. J. Watson and W. Cowan, pp. 71-100. Washington: Smithsonian Institute Publications.

Dennell, R.W. 1984 The hunter-gatherer/agricultural frontier in prehistoric temperate Europe. In The Archaeology of Frontiers and Boundaries, eds. S. Green and J. Perlman, pp. 113-139. London & New York: Academic Press.

Dennell, R.W. 1980 The use, abuse and potential of site catchment analysis. In Catchment Analysis: Essays on Prehistoric Resource Space, eds. F. J. Findlow and J. E. Ericson, pp. 1-20. Los Angeles: Anthropology UCLA.

Dennell, R.W. 1979 Prehistoric diet and nutrition: some food for thought. World Archaeology 11 (2), 121-135.

Dennell, R.W. 1977 On the problems of studying prehistoric climate and climate change. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 43, 361-369.

Dennell, R.W. 1976 The economic importance of plant resources represented on archaeological sites. Journal of Archaeological Science. 3, 229-247.

Dennell, R.W. 1976 Prehistoric crop cultivation in southern England: a reconsideration. Antiquaries Journal 56 (1), 11-23.

Dennell, R.W. and Webley, D. 1975 Prehistoric settlement and land use in southern Bulgaria. In Palaeoeconomy, ed. E. S. Higgs, 97-108. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dennell, R.W. 1974 Botanical evidence for prehistoric crop processing activities. Journal of Archaeological Science. 1, 275-284.

Dennell, R.W. 1974 The purity of prehistoric crops. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 40, 132-135.

Dennell, R.W. 1972 The interpretation of plant remains: Bulgaria. In Papers in Economic Prehistory, ed. E. S. Higgs, 149-159. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Dennell, R.W. 1982 Wadi siltation and irrigation agriculture in the Touran protected area, North East Iran. In Desertification: Its Causes and Control, eds. B. Spooner and M. Mann, pp. 171-200. London: Academic Press.

Dennell, R.W. 1982 Archaeology and desertification. In Desertification: Its Causes and Control eds. B. Spooner and M. Mann, pp. 43-60. London: Academic Press.

Brookes, I. and L. D. Levine, L.D. and Dennell, R.W. 1982 Alluvial sequence in Central West Iran and implications for archaeological survey. Journal of Field Archaeology 9, 285-299.

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