Dr. Huw Groucutt

Dr. Huw Groucutt

Department of Archaeology

Main Focus

I am currently group leader (W2) of the Max Planck Extreme Events Research Group. This is an ‘inter-sectional’ research group, spanning the three sections of the Max Planck Society, and therefore I am affiliated to the three Jena Max Planck Institutes (Chemical Ecology, Science of Human History, Biogeochemistry). My group explore the detection, definition, and impacts of ‘extreme events’ in biological, societal and earth systems. This research flows from my wider interests in long-term human cultural change and mobility, and how these relate to environmental change. In particular I explore processes of human evolutionary and demographic change in the challenging environments of the Saharo-Arabian arid belt. As well as engaging in several fieldwork projects and developing multidisciplinary approaches, I am a specialist in lithic (stone tool) analysis.


Curriculum Vitae

Before moving to Germany in 2019, I was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford (2016-2019), and postdoctoral researcher on the ERC funded Palaeodeserts Project, also at Oxford (2013-2016). Before that, I acquired my PhD in archaeology at the University of Oxford in 2013, Master (MSc) in Palaeoanthropology at the University of Sheffield (2008), and undergraduate degree (BA) in archaeology at the University of Sheffield (2007).


Selected publications

You can find a complete list here.

Groucutt, H. S., Breeze, P. S., Guagnin, M., Stewart, M., Drake, N., Shipton, C., Zahrani, B., Al Omari, A., Alsharekh, A. M., Petraglia, M. D. (2020). Monumental landscapes of the Holocene humid period in Northern Arabia: The mustatil phenomenon. The Holocene. doi:10.1177/0959683620950449. 

Petraglia, M. D., Groucutt, H. S., Guagnin, M., Breeze, P. S., Boivin, a. N. (2020). Human responses to climate and ecosystem change in ancient Arabia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(15), 8263-8270. doi:10.1073/pnas.1920211117. 

Stewart, M., Louys, J., Breeze, P. S., Clark-Wilson, R., Drake, N. A., Scerri, E. M., Zalmout, I. S., Al-Mufarreh, Y. S. A., Soubhi, S. A., Haptari, M. A., Alsharekh, A. M., Groucutt, H. S., Petraglia, M. D. (2020). A taxonomic and taphonomic study of Pleistocene fossil deposits from the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Quaternary Research, 95, 1-22. doi:10.1017/qua.2020.6. 

Groucutt, H. S., Scerri, E. M. L., Stringer, C., Petraglia, M. D. (2019). Skhul lithic technology and the dispersal of Homo sapiens into Southwest Asia. Quaternary International, 515, 30-52. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2017.12.027. 

Groucutt, H. S. (2018). The Middle Stone Age of the Omo Delta-Turkana Basin. In T. Clack, M. Brittain (Eds.), The river: Peoples and histories of the Omo-Turkana Area (pp. 22-34). Oxford: Archaeopress. [

Groucutt, H. S., Grün, R., Zalmout, I. S. A., Drake, N. A., Armitage, S. J., Candy, I., Clark-Wilson, R., Louys, J., Breeze, P. S., Duval, M., Buck, L. T., Kivell, T. L., Pomeroy, E., Stephens, N. B., Stock, J. T., Stewart, M., Price, G. J., Kinsley, L., Sung, W. W., Alsharekh, A., Al-Omari, A., Zahir, M., Memesh, A. M., Abdulshakoor, A. J., Al-Masari, A. M., Bahameem, A. A., Al Murayyi, K. S. M., Zahrani, B., Scerri, E. M. L., Petraglia, M. D. (2018). Homo sapiens in Arabia by 85,000 years ago. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2(5), 800-809. doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0518-2. 

Scerri, E. M. L., Shipton, C., Clark-Balzan, L., Frouin, M., Schwenninger, J.-L., Groucutt, H. S., Breeze, P. S., Parton, A., Blinkhorn, J., Drake, N. A., Jennings, R., Cuthbertson, P., Al Omari, A., Alsharekh, A. M., Petraglia, M. D. (2018). The expansion of later Acheulean hominins into the Arabian Peninsula. Scientific Reports, 8: 17165. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35242-5.

Scerri, E. M. L., Thomas, M. G., Manica, A., Gunz, P., Stock, J. T., Stringer, C., Grove, M., Groucutt, H. S., Timmermann, A., Rightmire, G. P., d'Errico, F., Tryon, C. A., Drake, N. A., Brooks, A. S., Dennell, R. W., Durbin, R., Henn, B. M., Lee-Thorp, J., deMenocal, P., Petraglia, M. D., Thompson, J. C., Scally, A., Chikhi, L. (2018). Did our species evolve in subdivided populations across Africa, and why does it matter? Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 33(8), 582-594. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2018.05.005. 

Shipton, C., Roberts, P., Archer, W., Armitage, S. J., Bita, C., Blinkhorn, J., Courtney-Mustaphi, C., Crowther, A., Curtis, R., d' Errico, F., Douka, K., Faulkner, P., Groucutt, H. S., Helm, R., Herries, A. I. R., Jembe, S., Kourampas, N., Lee-Thorp, J., Marchant, R., Mercader, J., Pitarch Marti, A., Prendergast, M. E., Rowson, B., Tengeza, A., Tibesasa, R., White, T. S., Petraglia, M. D., Boivin, N. (2018). 78,000-year-old record of Middle and Later Stone Age innovation in an East African tropical forest. Nature Communications, 9: 1832. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04057-3. 

Breeze, P. S., Groucutt, H. S., Drake, N. A., Louys, J., Scerri, E. M. L., Armitage, S. J., Zalmout, I. S. A., Memesh, A. M., Haptari, M. A., Soubhi, S. A., Matari, A. H., Zahir, M., Al-Omari, A., Alsharekh, A. M., Petraglia, M. D. (2017). Prehistory and palaeoenvironments of the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Archaeological Research in Asia, 10, 1-16. doi:10.1016/j.ara.2017.02.002. 

Groucutt, H. S., Scerri, E. M. L., Amor, K., Shipton, C., Jennings, R. P., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. D. (2017). Middle Palaeolithic raw material procurement and early stage reduction at Jubbah, Saudi Arabia. Archaeological Research in Asia, 9, 44-62. doi:10.1016/j.ara.2017.01.003.

Scerri, E. M. L., Blinkhorn, J., Niang, K., Bateman, M. D., Groucutt, H. S. (2017). Persistence of Middle Stone Age technology to the Pleistocene/Holocene transition supports a complex hominin evolutionary scenario in West Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 11, 639-646. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.01.003. 

Breeze, P. S., Groucutt, H. S., Drake, N. A., White, T. S., Jennings, R. R., Petraglia, M. D. (2016). Palaeohydrological corridors for hominin dispersals in the Middle East ~250-70,000 years ago. Quaternary Science Reviews, 144, 155-185. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.05.012.

Groucutt, H. S., Breeze, P., Drake, N. A., Jennings, R., Parton, A., White, T., Shipton, C., Clark-Balzan, L., Al-Omari, A., Cuthbertson, P., Wedage, O. M. C., Bernal, M. A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. D. (2016). The Middle Palaeolithic of the Nejd, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Field Archaeology, 41(2), 131-147. doi:10.1080/00934690.2016.1156928. 

Breeze, P. S., Drake, N. A., Groucutt, H. S., Parton, A., Jennings, R. P., White, T. S., Clark-Balzan, L., Shipton, C., Scerri, E. M. L., Stimpson, C. M., Crassard, R., Hilbert, Y., Alsharekh, A., Al-Omari, A., Petraglia, M. D. (2015). Remote sensing and GIS techniques for reconstructing Arabian palaeohydrology and identifying archaeological sites. Quaternary International, 382, 98-119. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.01.022. 

Groucutt, H. S., Petraglia, M. D., Bailey, G., Scerri, E. M. L., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Jennings, R. P., Lewis, L., Blinkhorn, J., Drake, N. A., Breeze, P. S., Inglis, R. H., Deves, M. H., Meredith-Williams, M., Boivin, N., Thomas, M. G., Scally, A. (2015). Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology, 24(4), 149-164. doi:10.1002/evan.21455. 

Groucutt, H. S., Scerri, E. M. L., Lewis, L., Clark-Balzan, L., Blinkhorn, J., Jennings, R. P., Parton, A., Petraglia, M. D. (2015). Stone tool assemblages and models for the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Quaternary International, 382, 8-30. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.01.039.

Groucutt, H. S., White, T. S., Clark-Balzan, L., Parton, A., Crassard, R., Shipton, C., Jennings, R. P., Parker, A. G., Breeze, P. S., Scerri, E. M. L., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. D. (2015). Human occupation of the Arabian Empty Quarter during MIS 5: evidence from Mundafan Al-Buhayrah, Saudi Arabia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 119, 116-135. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.04.020.

Petraglia, M. D., Parton, A., Groucutt, H. S., Alsharekh, A. (2015). Green Arabia: Human prehistory at the crossroads of continents. Quaternary International, 382, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.05.071. 

Scerri, E. M. L., Breeze, P. S., Parton, A., Groucutt, H. S., White, T. S., Stimpson, C., Clark-Balzan, L., Jennings, R., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. D. (2015). Middle to Late Pleistocene human habitation in the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Quaternary International, 382, 200-214. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.036. 

Groucutt, H. S. (2014). Middle Palaeolithic point technology, with a focus on the site of Tor Faraj (Jordan, MIS 3). Quaternary International, 350, 205-226. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.06.025. 

Scerri, E. M. L., Drake, N. A., Jennings, R., Groucutt, H. S. (2014). Earliest evidence for the structure of Homo sapiens populations in Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 101, 207-216. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.07.019. 

Scerri, E. M. L., Groucutt, H. S., Jennings, R. P., Petraglia, M. D. (2014). Unexpected technological heterogeneity in northern Arabia indicates complex Late Pleistocene demography at the gateway to Asia. Journal of Human Evolution, 75, 125-142. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.07.002. 

Groucutt, H. S., Blinkhorn, J. (2013). The Middle Palaeolithic in the desert and its implications for understanding hominin adaptation and dispersal. Quaternary International, 300, 1-12. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.03.043. 

Groucutt, H. S., Petraglia, M. D. (2012). The prehistory of the Arabian peninsula: Deserts, dispersals, and demography. Evolutionary Anthropology, 21(3), 113-125. doi:10.1002/evan.21308.

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