Peter Ditchfield

Research Interests

What were the key environmental factors influencing hominin evolution over the last three million years?

My research focuses on the reconstruction of records of past environmental change and assessing their influence on hominid physical and cultural evolution. The techniques I use are a broad range of sedimentological and geochemical, particularly stable isotopic indicators, that provide proxy records of various environmental parameters. The material that I work with comes from archaeological contexts from the last three million years with a particular focus on East African and South Asian sites.

Specific topics for student projects could include integrating palaeo-soil biomarkers and herbivore tooth enamel stable isotopic analysis to determine palaeo- plant communities and their spatial heterogeneity; Lake core analysis for palaeo-environmental proxies and tephra stratigraphy / chronology; Plio-pleistocene landscape evolution in carbonatite dominated volcanic terrains of western Kenya.

Personal Research Keywords

Environmental change, Human Evolution, Archaeological Environmental Archives.

Contact Details

Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, School of Archaeology.
University of Oxford.
1 South Parks Road