Huw Groucutt

Dr Huw Groucutt

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Institute of Archaeology
36 Beaumont St, Oxford, OX1 2PG

Tel: +44 (0)1865 613792

Fax: +44 (0)1865 278254


Research Interests

  • Human evolution and prehistory.
  • Human demographic and behavioural change in the Saharo-Arabian belt.
  • The prehistory of Saudi Arabia.
  • Stone tool technology, particularly Levallois.
  • The relationship between hominin demography and environmental change.
  • Interactions between hominin species, particularly Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

Primary Geographic Areas

  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Elsewhere in southwest Asia (particularly Jordan, Oman, Iran).
  • Africa (particularly Senegal, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan).

Current main projects

  • British Academy Postdoctoral fellowship, ‘A cultural perspective on Neanderthal-Homo sapiens admixture at the gateway to Eurasia’.
  • Palaeodeserts (Saudi Arabia,
  • Senegal Prehistory Project (Senegal)

Selected publications

Edited volumes


Blinkhorn, J., Scerri, E.M.L., Groucutt, H.S, Delagnes, A. The Middle Palaeolithic in the Desert II. Special volume of Quaternary International, 408.


Petraglia, M.D., Groucutt, H.S., Parton, A., Alsharekh, A. Green Arabia. Special issue of Quaternary International, 382. 


Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L. Lithics of the Late Middle Palaeolithic: Post MIS-5 technological variability and its implication. Special issue of Quaternary International, 350.


Groucutt, H.S., Blinkhorn, J. The Middle Palaeolithic in the Desert. Special issue of Quaternary International, 300.

Journal articles

In press

Clark-Balzan, L., Parton, A., Breeze, P., Groucutt, H.S., Petraglia, M.D. Resolving problematic luminescence chronologies for carbonate- and evaporate-rich sediments spanning multiple humid periods in the Jubbah Basin, Saudi Arabia. Quaternary Geochronology.


Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Amor, K., Shipton, C., Jennings, R., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Middle Palaeolithic raw material procurement and early stage reduction at Jubbah, Saudi Arabia. Archaeological Research in Asia 9, 44-62.

Breeze, P.S., Groucutt, H.S., Drake, N.A. Louys, J., Scerri, E.M.L., Armitage, S., Zalmout, I.S.A., Memesh, A.M., Haptari, M.A., Zahir, M., Al-Omari, A., Alsharekh, A.M., Petraglia, M.D. Prehistory and palaeoenvironments of the Western Nefud, Saudi Arabia. Archaeological Research in Asia 10: 1-16.

Jennings, R.P., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., White, T.S., Groucutt, H.S., Breeze, P., Parker, A., Drake, N.A., Petraglia, M.D. Human occupation of the northern Arabian interior during early Marine Isotope Stage 3. Journal of Quaternary Science 31, 953-966.

Scerri, E.M.L., Blinkhorn, J., Niang, K., Bateman, M.D., Groucutt, H.S. 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.


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. The Middle Palaeolithic of the Nejd, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Field Archaeology 41, 131-147.

Breeze, P.S., Groucutt, H.S., Drake, N.A., White, T.S., Jennings, R.P., Petraglia, M.D. Palaeohydrological corridors for hominin dispersals in the Middle East ~250-70,000 years ago. Quaternary Science Reviews 11, 155-185.

Blinkhorn, J., Scerri, E., Groucutt, H.S, Delagnes, A. The Middle Palaeolithic in the Desert II. Quaternary International 408, part B, 1-3.

Stimpson, C.M., Lister, A., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Breeze, P.S., Drake, N.A., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R., Scerri, E.M.L., White, T.S., Zahir, M., Duval, M., Grün, R., Al-Omari, A., Al Murayyi, K.S.M., Zalmout, I.S., Mufarreh, Y.A., Memesh, A.M., Petraglia, M.D. Middle Pleistocene vertebrate fossils from the Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia: implications for biogeography and palaeoecology. Quaternary Science Reviews 143, 13-36.

Scerri, E.M.L., Blinkhorn, J., Groucutt, H.S., Niang, K. The Middle Stone Age archaeology of the Senegal River Valley. Quaternary International 408, 16-32.

Guagnin, M., Jennings, R., Eager, H., Parton, A., Stimpson, C., Groucutt, H.S., Drake, N.A., Pfeiffer, M., Stepanek, C., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Rock art imagery as a proxy for environmental change: a view from Shuwaymis, NW Saudi Arabia. The Holocene 26, 1822-1834.


Guagnin, M., Jennings, R.P., Clark-Balzan, L., Groucutt, H.S., Parton A., Petraglia, M.D. Hunters and herders: Exploring the Neolithic transition in the rock art of Shuwaymis, Saudi Arabia. Archaeological Research in Arabia 4, 1-6.

Groucutt, H.S., Petraglia, M.D., Bailey, G., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Jennings, R.P., Lewis, L., Blinkhorn, J., Scerri, E.M.L., Drake, N.A., Breeze, P., Inglis, R.H., Devès, M.H., Meredith-Williams, M., Boivin, N., Thomas, M.G., Scally, A. Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology 24, 149-164.

Petraglia, M.D., Groucutt, H.S., Parton, A., Alsharekh, A. Editorial, Green Arabia: Human Prehistory at the Cross-Roads of Continents. Quaternary International 382, 1-7.

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

Groucutt, H.S., Shipton, C., Alsharekh, A., Jennings, R., Scerri, E.M.L., Petraglia, M.D. Late Pleistocene lakeshore settlement in Arabia: Middle Palaeolithic technology from Jebel Katefeh, Jubbah. Quaternary International 382, 215-236

Breeze, P.S., Drake, N.A., Groucutt, H.S., Parton, A., Jennings, R.G., Clark-Balzan, L., Shipton, C., White, T., Scerri, E., Stimpson, C., Crassard, R., Hilbert, Y., Alsharekh, A., Al-Omari, A., Petraglia, M.D. Remote sensing and GIS techniques for reconstructing palaeohydrology and identifying and characterising archaeological sites. Quaternary International 382, 98-119.

Scerri, E.M.L., Breeze, P., Parton, A., Groucutt, H.S., Stimpson, C., Clark-Balzan, L., Jennings, R.G., White, T., Petraglia, M.D. Middle to Late Pleistocene human habitation in the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Quaternary International 382, 200-214.

Stimpson, C.M., Breeze, P., Clark-Balzan, L., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R.P., Parton, A., Scerri, E.M.L., White, T.S., Petraglia, M.D. Stratified Pleistocene vertebrates with a new record of Panthera gombaszogensis (Kretzoi, 1938) from northern Saudi Arabia. Quaternary International 382, 168-180.

Parton, A., White, T.S., Parker, A.G., Breeze, P.S., Groucutt, H.S., Petraglia, M.D. Orbital-scale monsoon variability and the greening of Arabia as a motor for human dispersal. Quaternary International 382, 82-97.

Jennings, R.P., Stone, E., Singarayer, J., Krebs-Kanzow, U., Khon, V., Parton, A., Parker, A.G., Groucutt, H.S., Petraglia, M.D. The greening of Arabia: Multiple climate model simulations identify opportunities for human occupation in the Arabian Peninsula during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. Quaternary International 382, 58-81.

Jennings, R.P., Shipton, C., Breeze, P., Cuthbertson, P., Drake, N.A., White, T., Groucutt, H.S., Bernal, M., Wedage, O., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Stimpson, C., Al-Omari, A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Multi-scale Acheulean landscape survey in the Arabian Desert. Quaternary International 382, 58-81.

Groucutt, H.S., White, T., Clark-Balzan, L., Crassard, R., Shipton, C., Parton, A., Jennings, R.P., Parker, A.G., Breeze, P., Scerri, E.M.L., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Human occupation of the Arabian Empty Quarter during MIS 5: evidence from Mundafan al-Buhayrah. Quaternary Science Reviews 119, 116-135.

Parton, A., Parker A.G., Farrant, A.R., Leng, M.J., Telfer, M.W., Breeze, P., Groucutt, H.S., Petraglia, M.D. Alluvial fan records from southeast Arabia reveal multiple windows for human dispersal. Geology 43, 295-298.


Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L. Lithics of the Late Middle Palaeolithic. Post MIS 5 technological variability and its implications. Quaternary International 350, 1-6.

Groucutt, H.S. Middle Palaeolithic point technology, with a focus on the site of Tor Faraj (Jordan, MIS 3). Quaternary International 350, 205-226.

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

Shipton, C., Parton, A., Breeze, P., Groucutt, H.S., Drake, N., Crassard, R., Jennings, R., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. Acheulean dispersal across the Nefud Desert of Northern Arabia. Paleoanthropology 2014: 446-462.

Hilbert, Y.H., White, T.S., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Crassard, R., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R.P., Breeze, P., Parker, A., Shipton, C., Al-Omari, A., Alsharekh, A.M., Petraglia, M.D. Epipalaeolithic occupation and palaeoenvironments of the southern Nefud desert, Saudi Arabia, during the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene. Journal of Archaeological Science 50: 460-474.

Jennings, R., Parton, A., Groucutt, H.S., Clark-Balzan, L., Breeze, P., Drake, N., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. High-resolution geospatial surveying techniques provide new insights into rock art landscapes at Shuwaymis, Saudi Arabia. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 25, 1-21.

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.


Groucutt, H.S., Blinkhorn, J. The Middle Palaeolithic in the desert and its implications for understanding hominin adaptation and dispersal. Quaternary International 300: 1-12.

Crassard, R., Petraglia, M.D., Parker, A.G., Roberts, R.G., Jacobs, Z., Alsharekh, A., Al-Omari, A., Breeze, P., Drake, N.A., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R., Régagnon, E., Shipton, C. Beyond the Levant: first evidence of a Pre-Pottery Neolithic incursion into the Nefud desert, Saudi Arabia. PLoS ONE 8: e68061.

Crassard, R., Petraglia, M.D., Drake, N.A., Breeze, P., Gratuze, B., Alsharekh, A., Arbach, M., Groucutt, H.S., Khalidi, L., Michelsen, N., Robin, C.J., Schiettecatte, J. Middle Palaeolithic and Neolithic occupations around Mundafan palaeolake, southern Saudi Arabia: implications for climate change and human dispersals. PLoS ONE 8: e69665.


Jennings, R., Shipton, C., al-Omari, A., Alsharekh, A., Crassard, R., Groucutt, H.S, Petraglia, M.D. A spatial rock-art survey of four jebels at Jubbah Oasis, Saudi Arabia. Antiquity 87: 666-683.

Groucutt, H.S., Petraglia, M.D. The prehistory of Arabia: Deserts, dispersals and demography. Evolutionary Anthropology 21: 113-125.

Petraglia, M.D., Alsharekh, A., Breeze, P., Clarkson, C., Crassard, R., Drake, N.A., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R., Parker, A.G., Parton, A., Roberts, R.G., Shipton, C., Matheson, C., al-Omari, A., Veall, M.-A. (2012). Hominin dispersal into the Nefud desert and Middle Palaeolithic settlement along the Jubbah palaeolake, northern Arabia. PLoS ONE 7: e49840. 


Petraglia, M.D., Alsharekh, A.M., Crassard, R., Drake, N., Groucutt, H.S, Parker, A., and Roberts, R.G. Middle Palaeolithic occupation on a Marine Isotope Stage 5 lakeshore in the Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 1555-1559.

Book reviews


Groucutt, H.S. Review of Goodale, N. and Andrefsky, W. Jr., editors, ‘Lithic technological systems and evolutionary theory’. Antiquity 89, 1512-1514. 

Groucutt, H.S. Review of Crawford, M.H. and Campbell, B.C., ‘Causes and Consequences of Human Migration: An Evolutionary Perspective’.  Palaeoanthropology 2012:  252-254.


Groucutt, H.S. Review of Smith, M., ‘The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts’. Antiquity 88: 686-688.


Groucutt, H.S. Review of McNabb, J., ‘Dissent with Modification’.  Palaeoanthropology 2012:  252-254.

Groucutt, H.S. Review of Henshilwood, C.S. & d’Errico, F., ‘Homo symbolicus: The dawn of language, imagination and spirituality’. Antiquity 85: 1232-33.

Contributions to edited books


Groucutt, H.S. & Petraglia, M.D. An Arabian perspective on the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. In R. Dennell & M. Porr (eds.) East of Africa: Southern Asia, Australia and Human Origins. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 51-63.


Petraglia, M.D., Groucutt, H.S. & Blinkhorn, J. Hominin evolutionary history in the Arabian desert and the Thar Deserts. In L. Mol & T. Sternberg (eds.) Changing Deserts: Integrating People and Their Environments. White Horse Press, Cambridge, pp. 61-82.

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