Andrew Needham

Profile

Biography

I am originally from Darlington, County Durham, in the North East of England. I have had an interest in archaeology for as long as I can remember. Despite my interest being long standing, my first exposure to archaeology wasn’t really until I studied my undergraduate degree, a BSc in Archaeology, at the University of York in 2005. After completing my undergraduate degree in 2008, and now utterly hooked on archaeology, and more specifically prehistory, I continued my studies at the University of York, completing an MSc in Early Prehistory in 2010. As of December 2012, I am fortunate enough to have once again taken up study at the University of York, starting a funded PhD in Archaeology, which I hope will prove to be the foundations of a career in the discipline.

Research

PhD Research

The Late Upper Palaeolithic Magdalenian rockshelter site of Montastruc, dating to c. 13,000 BP, is situated below a 29m high limestone cliff exposure, overlooking the river Aveyron, southwest France. The site was excavated by Peccadeau de L’isle in 1864 and again across 1866-67 and is notable for its rich corpus of mobiliary art, with 109 decorated organic pieces and 53 engraved stone plaquettes, now curated in the British museum after their purchase in 1887. The stone assemblage is almost entirely composed of weathered limestone blocks that detached from the rock face via natural freeze/thaw action. The organic assemblage is composed of a balance between bone and antler pieces, the former likely derived from animal kills and the latter likely derived from natural shed. 

The research focuses on a re-analysis of these objects, especially the stone assemblage, moving beyond the initial interpretation of these objects offered by Sieveking (1987). It aims to explore the chaîne opératoire  and life history of the objects, from raw material selection, modification and use of the objects, how they were engraved and the significance of these engraved designs, explored these themes through agency, materiality, and animal/object/human relationships. 

Research Interests

My research interests are broad, encompassing a temporal range spanning the Middle Palaeolithic through to the end of the Mesolithic and a disciplinary range incorporating archaeology, anthropology, psychology and neurology. Within this research frame, I am especially interested in: 

• Cognition and the development of the human mind. A component of this interest is reflected in my PhD research in which I explore emotion and material culture in Middle and Upper Palaeolithic contexts. Other interests in this domain are the archaeological applications of concepts such as Andy Clark’s ‘the extended mind’ and Rodin Dunbar’s ‘the social brain’. 

• Social relationships and social structures. This research theme was most recently explored during my undergraduate dissertation where I linked early human social strategies to the ‘Out of Africa’ phenomenon. 

• Personhood. This research theme was most recently explored during my Masters dissertation where I explored the relationship between Upper Palaeolithic humans and their objects, specifically ‘Venus’ figurines, and how notions of personhood overlapped between the categories of human and object. 

• Geoarchaeology and geochemistry. This research theme was most recently explored during fieldwork at the Mesolithic site of Star Carr in which I was part of a team exploring the rapid degradation of organic remains, linking this phenomenon to ‘hyper-acidity’, linked to high sulphur contents, and ‘vulnerable sediments’ situated on a highly fluctuating water table boundary. 

• Interdisciplinary research and collaboration. I am very enthused by attempts to break down the boundaries between disciplines, and on a personal level, trying to develop a critical awareness of those disciplines from which I draw, as listed above. This research theme was most recently explored through my involvement in a joint project ran by the departments of Psychology and Archaeology in which the varying relationships participants with and without Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs) have with their personal possessions.

Publications

Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications 

Needham, A., Little, A., Conneller, C., Pomstra, D., Croft, S. and Milner, N. (in review) ‘Beads and Pendant’ in N. Milner, C. Conneller and B. Taylor (Eds.) Star Carr MonographVol. 2., pg. xx-xx. University of York: White Rose Press. [open access]

High, K., Penkman, K., Panter, I., Boreham, S., Boreham, J., Knight, B., Needham, A., Elliott, B., Bamforth, M., Felter, M. and Rowley, C. (in review) ‘Site Degradation’ in N. Milner, C. Conneller and B. Taylor (Eds.) Star Carr MonographVol. 2., pg. xx-xx. University of York: White Rose Press. [open access]

Spikins, P., Hitchens, G. and Needham, A. (in press) ‘Strangers in a Strange Land? Intimate sociality and emergent creativity in Middle Palaeolithic Europe’ in G. Warren and C. Finlayson (Eds.) The Diversity of Hunter-Gatherer Pasts, pg. xx-xx. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Milner, N., Bamforth, M., Beale, G., Carty, J., Chatzipanagis, K., Croft, S., Conneller, C., Elliott, B., Fitton, L., Knight, B., Kroger, R., Little, A., Needham, A., Panter, I., Robson, H., Rowley, C. and Taylor, B. (2016) ‘A unique, engraved pendant from the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, UK’ in Internet Archaeology, Vol. 40, http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.40.8. [open access]. Altmetric score: 152 International media coverage.

Spikins, P., Hitchens, G. and Needham, A., Rutherford, H., (2014) ‘The Cradle of Thought: Growth, Learning, Play and Attachment in Neanderthal Children’ in Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 111-134. Cited 4 times. Altmetric score: 181. International media coverage. 

Boreham, S., Conneller, C., Milner, N., Taylor, B., Needham, A., Boreham, J. and Rolfe, C. J. (2011) ‘Geochemical indicators of preservation status and site deterioration at Star Carr’ in Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 30, pp. 2833-2857. Cited 17 times. 

Spikins, P., Rutherford, H. and Needham, A. (2010) 'From Homininity to Humanity: Compassion from the earliest archaics to modern humans' in Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 303-325. Cited 37 times. International media coverage. 

Hadley, P., Milner, N., Hall, A., Taylor, M., Needham, A., Taylor, B. and Conneller, C. (2010) ‘To block lift or not to block lift? An experiment at the Early Mesolithic Site of Star Carr, North-East Yorkshire, UK’ in Internet Archaeology, Vol. 28,http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.28.2. Cited 7 times. [open access]

Briz, I., Álvarez, M., Spikins, P. and Needham, A. (2009) ''Durable Residues': Addressing the use of microwear, a case study from March Hill' in Internet Archaeology, Vol. 26, http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.26.29. Cited 1 time. [open access]

Conference Papers

Needham, A., Bamforth, A. M., Beale, G., Carty, J. C., Chatzipanagis, K., Croft, S., Conneller, C., Elliott, B., Fitton, L. C., Knight, B., Kröger, R., Little, A., Milner, N., Robson, H. K., Rowley, C. C. A., Barry Taylor, B. (20/12/16) ‘Where Science, Technology and Theory Meet: Exploring the Life-History of a Unique Shale Pendant from the Mesolithic Site of Star Carr’. Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference No. 38, University of Southampton, UK.

Needham, A. (19/12/16) ‘Neanderthal Art: A Second Wave Progress Paradox?’. Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference No. 38, University of Southampton, UK.

Needham, A. (16/12/15) ‘Exploring the Agentic Flow: A Life-History of Stone Plaquettes at the Magdalenian Rock-Shelter Site of Montastruc’ Theoretical Archaeology Group No 37, University of Bradford, UK.

Little, A., Milner, N., Conneller, C., Birchenall, J., Conti M., Croft, S., Fletcher, L., Rowley, C., Collins, M., Craig, O., Needham, A., Pomstra, D., and Taylor, B. (16/04/15) ‘Taken to task at Star Carr: Integrating scientific approaches to artefacts and their archaeological contexts’, Society for American Archaeology No. 80, University of San Francisco, USA.

Needham, A., Davis, R. and Cook, J. (17/12/14) ‘3D Modelling of Mobiliary Art from the Magdalenian Site of Montastruc, Tarn-et-Garonne, SW France.’ Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference No. 36, University of Manchester, UK.

Needham, A. (16/12/14) ‘We Make Our Home by the Giving Stone: Exploring Human/Object/Animal through the Magdalenian Mobiliary Art of Montastruc, SW France.’ Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference No. 36, University of Manchester, UK.

Needham, A. (07/02/14) ‘Where Social, Material and Emotional Meet: Palaeolithic Art Objects in Evolutionary Context’, Chauvet Cave Workshop, University of York, UK.

Spikins, P., Slocombe, K., Needham, A., Burchill, S., Millett, C. and Wright, B. (25/09/13) ‘‘Lost in Translation’: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Material Culture’. Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2) Conference, University of York, UK.

Needham, A. (27/06/13) ‘Concluding Address’ PALAEO Summer Conference, University of York, UK.

Spikins, P., Hitchens, G., Needham, A. (18/01/13) ‘The Cradle of Thought: New Insights on Neanderthal Childhood.’ Unravelling Human Origins, University of Cambridge, UK.

Spikins, P., Hapenstall, A., Needham, A. and Evans, A. (08/06/12) ‘Early Modern Human Dispersals out of Africa: Testing Mechanisms Using Agent Based Modelling’. Debating Spatial Archaeology: International Workshop on Landscape and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology, University of Cantabria, Spain.

Needham, A. (18/12/09) ‘'Venus' Figurines: Objects or Persons?'. Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference No. 31, University of Durham, UK.

Needham, A. (07/04/09) 'Palaeolithic Venus Figurines: Objects as Persons or Persons as Objects?' Association of Social Anthropologists (ASA) conference 2009, University of Bristol, UK.

 

Conference Posters

Needham, A. P. (20-21/10/16) ‘New Research on the British Museum Holdings of the Peccadeau de l’Isle Collection from the Magdalenian Site of Montastruc’, Palaeolithic Mesolithic Conference, University College London, UK.

Needham, A. Little, A., Pomstra, D. and Rowley, C. (14-18/09/15) ‘Bead Working at Star Carr: Exploring Production through the Application of Actualistic Experimentation’, MESO 2015, No. 9, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Serbia.

Needham, A., Taylor, B. and Gray Jones, A. (14-18/09/15) ‘Analysis of an Engraved Ochre Pebble from Flixton School House, Vale of Pickering, UK: A Contribution to the Understanding of Ochre Working in the British Mesolithic’, MESO 2015, No. 9, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Serbia. 

Needham, A., Davis, R. and Cook, J. and Spikins, P. (22-23/04/15) ‘Application of High-Resolution 3D Modelling to the Engraved Stone Plaquettes from the Magdalenian Rockshelter Site of Montastruc, southwest France’, Unravelling Human Origins Conference, University of Oxford, UK.

Needham, A., Taylor, B. and Gray Jones, A. (8/01/14) ‘Preliminary Analysis of an Engraved Pebble from the Mesolithic Site of Flixton School House, North Yorkshire’, Where the Wild Things Are 2, University of Durham, UK.

 

Conference Sessions

Needham, A. and McNabb, J. (19/12/16) ‘Session 8: Exploring the History of Prehistory’. Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference No. 38, University of Southampton, UK.

Needham, A. and Charlton, S. (20/12/16) ‘Session 15: Integrating Science, Technology and Theory in Prehistoric Archaeology’. Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference No. 38, University of Southampton, UK.

Needham, A. (16/12/15) ‘Session 01: Advances in Prehistoric Art’. Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference No. 37, University of Bradford, UK.

Needham, A. (27/06/13) ‘Session Four: Open Session’ PALAEO Summer Conference, University of York, UK.

Needham, A. (27/06/13) ‘Session One: Methods and Deep Time’ PALAEO Summer Conference, University of York, UK.

Brittain, M., Needham, A., Overton, N. and Spikins, P. (18/12/09) ‘'Oneness and Otherness':  Self and identity in relation to material and animal worlds’, Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference No. 31, University of Durham, UK. 

 

Experience

Experience

Teaching

 

2016, 4 half-day sessions, Demonstrator, Postgraduate Masters module entitled: ‘Experimental Archaeology’, University of York, UK.

2016, PGWT Mentor of new PGWTs for the second year undergraduate module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes’, University of York, UK.

2016, course design, creating 8 new seminars for the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic, module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes’, University of York, UK.

2016, 8 seminars: Seminar leader and assessment marker for two groups of second year undergraduates, module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes: Upper Palaeolithic’, University of York, UK.

2016, 4 seminars: Seminar leader and assessment marker for one group of second year undergraduates, module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes: Middle Palaeolithic’, University of York, UK.

2016, 3 weeks: Excavation demonstrator at the Roman fort, road and Vicus at Malton, North Yorkshire, tasked with supervising and training first year undergraduate students in field archaeology, University of York, UK.

2016, 1 day: Demonstrator for Masters Early Prehistory field trip to Creswell Crags, University of York, UK.

2016, 3 seminars: Seminar leader for Postgraduate Masters module entitled: ‘Hunting and Gathering Societies’, University of York, UK. 

2015, 12 seminars: Seminar leader and assessment marker for three groups of second year undergraduates, module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes: Upper Palaeolithic’, University of York, UK.

2015, 12 seminars: Seminar leader and assessment marker for three groups of second year undergraduates, module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes: Middle Palaeolithic’, University of York, UK.

2014, 4 seminars: Seminar leader and assessment marker for second year undergraduate module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes: Mesolithic’, University of York, UK. 

2014, 1 lecture: Introductory Mesolithic lecture for first year undergraduates, University of York, UK.

2014, 8 seminars: Seminar leader and assessment marker for two groups of second year undergraduates, module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes: Palaeolithic’, University of York, UK. 

2013, 4 seminars: Seminar leader and assessment marker for second year undergraduate module entitled: ‘Prehistoric Themes: Palaeolithic’, University of York, UK. 

2013, 1 day: Demonstrator for first year undergraduate field trips, University of York, UK.

2013, 1 month: Excavation demonstrator at the Mesolithic site of Star Carr tasked with supervising and training first year undergraduate students in field archaeology, University of York, UK.

2011, 8 seminars: Seminar leader and assessment marker for first year undergraduate module entitled: ‘History and Theory of Archaeology’, University of York, UK.

 

Field Experience

 

2016, 4 weeks: Excavator and supervisor, Ice Age Island project, Magdalenian site of Les Varines, and Middle Palaeolithic site of Petit Portelet, Jersey, British Isles.

2015, 2 weeks: Excavator and supervisor, Ice Age Island project, Magdalenian site of Les Varines, Jersey, British Isles. 

2015, 1 week: Excavator and supervisor, POSTGLACIAL project, Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK.

2014, 2 weeks: Excavator and supervisor, POSTGLACIAL project, Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK.

2014, 2 weeks: Supervisor at the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic cave site of Ffynnon Beuno, Wales, UK. 

2013, 1 week: Excavator, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic site of Llanarmon cave, Wales, UK.

2013, 1 month: Supervisor, Ice Age Island project, prospecting and excavating Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites, Middle Palaeolithic site of Petit Portelet, Magdalenian site of Les Varines, and Mesolithic site of le Col de la Rocque, as well as re-organising the La Cotte de st. Brelade Middle Palaeolithic lithic assemblage, Jersey, British Isles. 

2013, 5 weeks: Excavator and supervisor, POSTGLACIAL project, Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK.

2012, 2 weeks: Excavator and trench supervisor, POSTGLACIAL project, Epi-Palaeolithic and Early Mesolithic site of Flixton 2, North Yorkshire, UK. 

2012, 3 weeks: Excavator, Ice Age Island project, Upper Palaeolithic (Magdalenian) site of Les Varines, Jersey, and archives supervisor tasked with re-organising the La Cotte de st. Brelade Middle Palaeolithic lithic assemblage and giving lithic technology introduction sessions, Sir Francis Cook Gallery Augre Store, Jersey Heritage, Jersey, British Isles. 

2012, 1 week: Supervisor, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic cave site of Ffynnon Beuno, Wales, UK. 

2011, 1 week: Excavator, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic cave site of Ffynnon Beuno, Wales, UK. 

2010, 1 week: Excavator, Vale of Pickering Research Trust, Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK. 

2009, 1 month: Site supervisor, Vale of Pickering Research Trust, Mesolithic site of Flixton School House, North Yorkshire, UK. 

2009: 1 day: Field Assistant to Dr. Steve Boreham, undertaking in-field geochemical analysis of soil samples at the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK.

2008: 1 day: Field Assistant to Dr. Steve Boreham, undertaking in-field geochemical analysis of soil samples at the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK.

2008, 1 month: Trench supervisor, Vale of Pickering Research Trust, Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK. 

2007, 1 month: Excavator, Vale of Pickering Research Trust, Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK. 

2007, 1 month: Excavator, Mesolithic to Medieval high altitude site of Grand Fond, Alps, France. 

2006, 1 month: Trench supervisor, Iron Age site of Castell Henllys Hill Fort, Wales, UK. 

2006, 2 weeks: Recording of multi-period graveyard monuments, Northern Ireland, UK, and the Republic of Ireland. 

2005, 3 weeks: Training excavation, Anglo-Saxon site of Burdale, UK.

2006, 2 weeks: Recording of multi-period graveyard monuments, Ireland.

 

 

 

Funding

Prizes and Funding

Grants

 

2016: Departmental Research Fund grant, awarded to attend, present and run sessions at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, University of Southampton, UK. 

2015: AHRC Travel Award, awarded for travel and accommodation costs incurred during the analysis of Palaeolithic art collections in the British Museum, London, UK. 

2014: AHRC Travel Award, awarded for travel and accommodation costs incurred during the analysis of Palaeolithic art collections in the British Museum, London, UK.

2013: Departmental Research Fund grant, awarded to attend and present research at the Unravelling Human Origins conference, University of Cambridge, UK.

2012-2016: AHRC funded PhD project, University of York, UK.

2008-2010: University Scholarship for the degree of MSc in Early Prehistory, University of York, UK.

 

Prizes and Nominations

 

2016: nominated for a York University Student Union (YUSU) Teaching Excellence Award, most inspiring category.

2016: nominated for a York University Student Union (YUSU) Teaching Excellence Award, most enthusiastic category. 

2016: Winner of Best Archaeological InnovationBritish Archaeological Awards, for a co-authored paper entitled: ‘A unique, engraved pendant from the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, UK’, published in Internet Archaeology.

2011: Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award, (alongside S. Roskams, C. Neal, H. Goodchild, P. Spikins, A. Dugdale and A. Hall) awarded for the re-development of the year 1 undergraduate Field Archaeology module, University of York, UK.

Andy Needham RHC image

Contact details

Andrew Needham
Department of Archaeology
BioArch
S-Block, Wentworth Way
York
YO10 5DD