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Prof Robert A. Foley, FBA
Leverhulme Professor of Human Evolution
Dept. of Archaeology & Anthropology
University of Cambridge



Research Interests
My long term research interests have been in human evolution, and in particular the ecological basis for patterns and processes of the evolution of human behaviour. This has led to work covering social evolution, speciation and extinction in hominins, hunter-gatherer ecology, and the origins of modern humans, and the application of evolutionary models to human evolution


Living in open environments: the prehistoric landscape archaeology of savannas and steppes in Africa and South America

Open environments (savannas, steppes, grasslands, prairies and deserts) constitute a large part of the habitable world, played a major part in human evolution and prehistory, and were a preferred habitat for hunter-gatherers. As such they are central to prehistoric research. They also offer opportunities and challenges to the archaeologist – opportunities because of the high visibility of the record, the frequency of surface material, and the rich and dense distribution that often occurs; and challenges because of poor chronological control. The proposed partnership brings together two of the world's great open environments – the East African savanna and the steppes of Patagonia - through a research initiative which focuses on sharing and developing new methodologies in a live project context. We aim to contribute significantly to our understanding of the role of these environments in shaping human prehistory, and to develop a novel partnership across three continents – South America, Africa and Europe.


Funded by the British Academy Partnership and Mobility Programme

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