Response of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions

Sampling tephra horizons
Sampling tephra in N Africa

The Oxford School of Archaeology is involved in a consortium to examine the effects of abrupt climate change on prehistoric humans.


As part of a ~£3.4 million research consortium, led by Royal Holloway, University of London, members of the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, have been awarded £1.1 million in research funding over 5 years. The consortium team of Royal Holloway, University of London, the University of Oxford, the Natural History Museum and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, will carry out a five-year project named RESET (Response of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions), funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. The project aims to improve our understanding of how humans may have responded to rapid environmental changes during the recent past, and, significantly improve the precision at which we can examine the timing of climate change and possible human responses.


To fulfil this ambitious remit RESET will bring together scientists with expertise in human palaeontology, archaeology, oceanography, volcanic geology and past climate change.


Members of the School of Archaeology  will be contributing to all  areas of the overall RESET aims.

RESET partners at Oxford include:

  • Professor Mark Pollard, who will integrate the whole Oxford contribution to RESET and also contribute to the interpretation of geochemical data, and contribute to the geochemical characterisations of tephras;
  • Professor Nick Barton, who will lead research into human climate interaction in North Africa;
  • Professor Christopher Bronk Ramsey, who will coordinate the overall age modelling for the RESET project
School of Archaeology > Research > RESET - Response of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions