Professor Nick Barton

Professor, Fellow and tutor in Paleolithic Archaeology


BA Birm, DEA Bordeaux, MA DPhil Oxf

Nick studied as an undergraduate at Birmingham University followed by a postgraduate degree at Bordeaux University before coming to Oxford as a DPhil student. He was awarded his doctorate in 1986. Following senior lectureships in the University of Wales and a Professorship at Oxford Brookes, he was appointed to his present position at the Institute of Archaeology and as a Fellow of Hertford College in 2003.

Undergraduate teaching 

Nick teaches undergraduate tutorials in Human Evolution and Palaeolithic Archaeology.

Postgraduate teaching 

Nick teaches on the MSt courses in Archaeology. He also supervises research students in the general areas of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeology in Africa and Europe. 


Nick’s research interests are mainly in Africa and Europe and focus on the archaeology of early modern humans and Neanderthals , with special emphasis on the study of prehistoric technologies and long-term palaeoenvironmental change.

He is currently Principal Investigator of two projects.’ Cemeteries and Sedentism in the epipalaeolithic of NW Africa’ (just completed), funded by the Leverhulme Trust and employing one post-doctoral and two doctoral students (read more: ). The second project, RESET (Response of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions) aims to understand how humans responded to rapid environmental changes during the recent past. It is a consortium grant bringing together different institutions across the UK and funded by NERC (Natural Environment Research Coucil). Nick leads the research group investigating human-climate interactions over the past 200,000 years in North Africa.

In the last 10 years Nick has led bi-annual fieldwork visits to Morocco to survey and direct excavations at major archaeological sites. In 2000 he co-founded the Morocco Caves Project with the Institut National des Sciences de l'Archéologie et du Patrimoine, Rabat. A key focus of this project has been to explore early dispersals of humans into this NW corner of Africa and examine potential cultural interactions with European Neanderthals across the Gibraltar Strait.  Since 2003 his work has focused on two key cave sites:  Taforalt in the Mediterranean coastal zone, and, Dar es-Soltan 1 on the Atlantic coast. Both caves have exceptionally rich archaeological, human fossil and palaeoenvironmental records (including proxy indicators such as phytoliths, molluscs, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish) in sequences that are dated by over 200 AMS, OSL, U-series dates. The work involves international collaboration by scientists from Oxford and six other institutions (including ones in Germany and France). The project has provided material for seven doctoral theses based in Oxford. 

Prior to working in Africa, Nick conducted excavations at Gorham’s and Vanguard Caves in Gibraltar. The results of those excavations  were published in 2012.  Nick continues to work on cave and open-air sites in Britain where he has long-term research interests. He serves as UK member on the UISPP (Union International des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques) for the  Upper and Late Palaeolithic periods. 


Journal Articles and Conference Proceedings


Humphrey, L., Bello, S.M., Turner, E., Bouzouggar, A. and Barton, N. (2012),  Iberomaurusian funerary behaviour: Evidence from Grotte des Pigeons, Taforalt, Morocco . Journal of Human Evolution 62, 261-273.


Taylor, V.K., Barton, R.N.E., Bell, M., Bouzouggar, A., Collcutt, S., Black, S. and Hogue, J.T. 2011. The Epipalaeolithic (Iberomaurusian) at Grotte des Pigeons (Taforalt), Morocco: A preliminary study of the land Mollusca. Quaternary International (2011), 1-10.

Lubell, D., Barton, R.N.E. 2011. Gastropods and humans in the late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of the western Mediterranean basin. Quaternary International (2011), doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2011.06.042


Barton, R.N.E. 2010. Regional and chronological patterns in lithic raw material behaviour during the late glacial and some implications for the British Later Upper Palaeolithic. Lithics: the Journal of the Lithic Studies Society 31, 1-11.


Barton, R.N.E., Bouzouggar, A., Collcutt, S.N., Schwenninger, J-L. and Clark-Balzan, L., (2009),  OSL dating of the Aterian levels at Grotte de Dar es-Soltan I  (Rabat, Morocco) and possible implications for the dispersal of modern Homo sapiens. Quaternary Science Reviews 28 (2009) 1914–1931.

Barton, R.N.E., Ford, S., Collcutt, S.N., Crowther, J. Macphail, R.I., Rhodes, E. & Van Gijn, A., (2009), A Final Upper Palaeolithic site at Nea Farm, Somerley, Hampshire (England) and some reflections on the occupation of Britain in the Lateglacial Interstadial. Quartär  56, 7-35.

D’Errico, F., Vanhaeren, M., Barton, N., Bouzouggar, J., Mienis, H., Richter, D., Hublin, J.J.,  McPherron, S.P., and Lozouet, P., (2009), Additional evidence on the use of personal ornaments in the Middle Paleolithic of North Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106 (38), 16051-16056.

Jennings, R.P., Giles, F., Barton, R.N.E. , Collcutt, S.N., Gale, R., Gleed-Owen C., Gutierrez Lopez, J.M., Higham, T.F.G., Parker, A., Price, C., Rhodes, E., Santiago Perez, A., Schwenninger, J.L. and Turner, E., (2009), New dates and palaeo-environmental evidence for the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic occupation of Higueral de Valleja Cave, southern Spain. Quaternary Science Reviews. 28, 830–839.


Barton, R.N.E., Bouzouggar, A. and Lubell, D., (2008), Editorial. Modern Human dispersals, environments and cultural change in the Late Pleistocene of Northwest Africa. African Archaeological Review 25, 1-2.

Barton, R.N.E.,  Bouzouggar, A.,  Humphrey, L.T. , Berridge, P., Collcutt, S.N., Gale, R., Parfitt, S., Parker, A.G., Rhodes, E.J. and Schwenninger, J.L., (2008), Human burial evidence from Hattab II Cave (Oued Laou-Tétuoan, Morocco) and the question of continuity in Late Pleistocene-Holocene mortuary practices in Northwest Africa. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 18 (2), 195-214.

Bouzouggar, A., Barton, R.N.E., Blockley. S., Bronk-Ramsey, C., Collcutt, S.N., Gale, R., Higham, T.F.G., Humphrey, L.T., Parfitt, S., Turner, E. & Ward, S., (2008), Re-evaluating the age of the Iberomaurusian in Morocco. African Archaeological Review 25, 3-19.

Osborne, A.H., Vance, D., Rohling, E., Barton, N., Rogerson, M. and Fello, N.,  (2008),  A humid corridor across the Sahara for the migration "Out of Africa" of early modern humans 120,000 years ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105 (43), 16444–16447.

Stringer, C.B. and Barton, R.N.E., (2008), Putting North Africa on the map of modern human origins. Evolutionary Anthropology 17, 5-7.

Stringer, C.B., Finlayson, J.C., Barton, R.N.E., Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Cáceres, I., Sabin, R.C., Rhodes, E.J., Currant, A.P., Rodríguez-Vidal, J., Giles Pacheco, F., Riquelme Cantal, J.A., (2008), Neanderthal exploitation of marine mammals in Gibraltar. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105(38), 14319-14324.


Bouzouggar, A., N. Barton, M. Vanhaeren, F. d'Errico, S. Collcutt, T. Higham, E. Hodge, S. Parfitt, E. Rhodes, J-L. Schwenninger, C. Stringer, E. Turner, S. Ward, A. Moutmir, and A. Stambouli, (2007), 82,000 year-old shell beads from North Africa and implications for the origins of modern human behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104 (24), 9964-9969.


Barton, R.N.E., Bouzouggar, J., Collcutt, S.N., Gale, R., Higham, T.F.G., Humphrey, L., Parfitt, S., Rhodes, E., Stringer, and Malek, F., (2005),  The Late Upper Palaeolithic occupation of the Moroccan northwest Maghreb during the Last Glacial Maximum. African Archaeological Review. Vol. 22, No. 2, 77-100.


Barton, R.N.E. and Roberts, A.J., (2004), The Mesolithic period in England: current perspectives and new research. In Saville, A. (ed.), Mesolithic Scotland and its Neighbours. The Early Holocene Prehistory of Scotland, its British and Irish context, and some Northern European Perspectives. 339-358. Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.


Published Books


Barton, R.N.E., Stringer, C.B. and Finlayson, J.C. (eds.), (2012), Neanderthals in Context. A report of the 1995-1998 excavations at Gorham’s and Vanguard Caves, Gibraltar. Oxford University School of Archaeology : Monograph 75. University of Oxford.

Niekus, M.J.L.T., Barton, R.N.E, Street,M. and Terberger,T. (eds.) (2012), A mind set on flint. Studies in honour of Dick Stapert. Groningen Archaeological Studies 16, Groningen.


Street, M., Barton, N. & Terberger, T. (eds.), (2009), Humans, environment and chronology of the Late Glacial of the North European Plain. Proceedings of Workshop 14 (Commission XXXII) of the 15th U.I.S.P.P. Congress, Lisbon, September 2006. Band 6. Römisch-Germanisches Zentral Museum, Mainz.


Barton, N., (2005), Ice Age Britain. BT Batsford, London.





Chapters in Edited Books


Barton, R.N.E. (2012), The lithic assemblages of Vanguard Cave. In Barton et al. (eds), 244-254.

Barton, R.N.E. and Jennings, R. P. (2012), The lithic assemblages of Gorham’s Cave. In Barton et al. (eds), 151-187.

Barton, R.N.E., Stringer, C.B. and Collcutt, S.N. (2012), The late Pleistocene human occupation of Gorham’s and Vanguard Caves: some reflections. In Barton et al. (eds), 292-298.

Macphail, R.I., Goldberg, P. and Barton, R.N.E. (2012), Vanguard Cave sediments and soil micromorphology. In Barton et al. (eds), 193-210.

Barton, R.N.E. (2012), Revisiting ‘intentional breakage’ in the British Late Upper Palaeolithic. In: Niekus, M.J.L.T. et al. (eds), 183-192.

Bouzouggar, A., Barton, R.N.E. (2012), The identity and timing of the Aterian in Morocco. In J.-J. Hublin & S. McPherron (eds), Modern origins: A North African perspective. Dordrecht: Springer.

Barton, R.N.E. and d’Errico, F. (2012). North African origins of symbolically mediated behaviour and the Aterian. In Elias, S. (ed), Origins of Human Innovation and Creativity. Elsevier.

2011 In press

Barton, R.N.E., Bouzouggar, A. (In Press), Hunter-gatherers of the Maghreb: 25,000-6000 years ago. In Lane, P. and Mitchell, P. (Eds.), African Archaeology Handbook. Oxford University Press.


Schwenninger, J.-L., Collcutt, S.N., Barton, R.N.E., Bouzouggar, A., El Hajraoui, M.A., Nespoulet, R., Debénath, A., Clark-Balzan, L. (2010), Luminescence chronology for Aterian cave sites on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. In Garcea, E.E.A. (ed.), South-Eastern Mediterranean Peoples between 130,000 and 10,000 Years Ago: 18-36. Oxbow Books, Oxford.


Barton, R.N.E.  (2009), The Lateglacial colonization of Britain. In Hunter, J. & Ralston, I.B.M.  (eds.), Archaeology of Britain: 18-52. Routledge.

Terberger, T., Barton, N. & Street, M., (2009), The Late Glacial reconsidered – recent progress and interpretations. In Street, M., Barton, N. & Terberger, T. (Eds.), 2009. Humans, environment and chronology of the Late Glacial of the North European Plain. Proceedings of Workshop 14 (Commission XXXII) of the 15th U.I.S.P.P. Congress, Lisbon, September 2006. Band 6. Römisch-Germanisches Zentral Museum, Mainz, 189-207.


Roberts, A. and Barton N., (2008), Reading the unwritten history: Evans and Ancient Stone Implements. In MacGregor, A. (ed.), Sir John Evans (1823-1908). Antiquity, Commerce and Natural Science in the Age of Darwin. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. 95-115.

Barton, R.N.E and Roberts A.J., (2008),  Le Mésolithique ancien en Grande-Bretagne: acquisition des matières premières et occupation du territoire. In Fagnart, J-P., Thevenin, A., Ducrocq, T., Souffi, B. and Coudret, P.  (eds.), Le début du Mésolithique en Europe du Nord-Ouest. Mémoire XLV de la Société préhistorique française. 219-230.


Barton, R.N.E., Bouzouggar, A., Bronk-Ramsey, C., Collcutt, S.N., Higham, T.F.G., Humphrey, L.T., Parfitt, S., Rhodes, E.J., Schwenninger, J.L., Stringer, C.B., Turner, E. and Ward, S., (2007), Abrupt climatic change and chronology of the Upper Palaeolithic in northern and eastern Morocco. In Mellars, P., Boyle, K., Bar-Yosef, O. & Stringer, C. (eds). Rethinking the Human Revolution:  New Behavioural & Biological Perspectives on the Origins and Dispersal of Modern Humans. Cambridge. 177-186.

Barton, R.N.E., (2007), The Goldcliff Late Mesolithic assemblages. In Bell, M. (ed), Prehistoric Coastal Communities: The Mesolithic in western Britain.  CBA Research Report 149, Council for British Archaeology, York. 103-117.

Bouzouggar, A., Barton, R.N.E., De Araujo Igreja., (2007),  A brief overview of recent research into the Aterian and Upper Palaeolithic of Northern and Eastern Morocco. In Barich, B. (Ed.), Tra il Sahara e il Mediterraneo: il Jebel Gharbi (Libia) e l’Archeologia del Maghreb. Edizioni Quasar. Scienze dell’Antichità, Storia Archeologia Antopologia 12 (2004-5), p. 473-488.


Bouzouggar, A, Barton, R.N.E., Collcutt, S.N., Parfitt, S., Higham, T.F.G., Rhodes, E. and Gale, R., (2006),  Le Paléolithique Supérieur au Maroc: apport des sites du Nord-Ouest et de l’Oriental. In Sanchidrián, J-L, Márquez and Fullola, J.M. (eds), La cuenca mediterránea durante el Paleolítico Superior (38.000 – 10.000 años) (Málaga, Fundación Cueva de Nerja, & Málaga UISPP, Com.8) 138-150. 


Barton, R.N.E., (2005), The informative value of disturbed contexts. In Rensink, E. & J.H.M. Peeters (eds.), Preserving the Early Past. Investigation, selection and preservation of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites and landscapes. Amersfoort, Nederlandse Archeologische Rapporten 31, 73-76.