Human Origins Leiden

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Wil Roebroeks

Personal Information:

Position: Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Phone or fax: +31(0)715272387
Location: Room A1.14

I am Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology at Leiden University. I have published extensively on various aspects of the earliest occupation history of Europe and the behaviour of the early hominins at stake, often in collaborative projects. The focus of my research is on the archaeological record of Neandertals. I am very happy to be  one of the founding members (and acting Vice-President) of the recently (2011) established European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (ESHE).

Fieldwork has been a major focal point in my life as an archaeologist. In the 1980s I developed a large-scale interdisciplinary excavation project of the ca. 250,000 year old traces of human occupation in the Belvédère quarry near Maastricht (the Netherlands). The archaeology of the Belvédère sites and their context became the subject of my PhD-thesis (1989). Working within interdisciplinary settings ever since, I initiated the European Science Foundation network on "The Palaeolithic Occupation of Europe", of which I was scientific secretary, as well as general editor of the resulting series of volumes. I  conducted fieldwork in the Netherlands, in England (Boxgrove), France (the valleys of the Somme and the Vézère), northeastern Russia and in Germany (Neumark-Nord 2) and am currently working (with Mike Field) in East Anglia (UK), at the site of Happisburg . Despite of the usually challenging weather conditions, I tremendously enjoy the fieldwork there, carried out in in close cooperation with British colleagues of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project. .


  • Heyes PJ, Anastasakis K, De Jong W, Van Hoesel A, Roebroeks W, Soressi M. 2016. Selection and Use of Manganese Dioxide by Neanderthals. Scientific Reports. 6(22159). [More] 
  • Aarts JMMJG, Alink GM, Scherjon F, MacDonald K, Smith AC, Nijveen H, Roebroeks W. 2016. Fire Usage and Ancient Hominin Detoxification Genes: Protective Ancestral Variants Dominate While Additional Derived Risk Variants Appear in Modern Humans. PLOS ONE. 11(9): 1-18. [More] 
  • Scherjon F, Bakels C, MacDonald K, Roebroeks W. 2015. Burning the Land: An Ethnographic Study of Off-Site Fire Use by Current and Historically Documented Foragers and Implications for the Interpretation of Past Fire Practices in the Landscape. Current Anthropology. 56(3): 299-326. [More] 
  • Sier MJ, Parés JM, Antoine P, Locht JL, Dekkers MJ, Limondin-Lozouet N, Roebroeks W. 2015. Evidence for the Blake Event recorded at the Eemian archaeological site of Caours, France. Quaternary International. 357: 149-157. [More] 
  • Joordens JCA, D’Errico F, Wesselingh FP, Munro S, De Vos J, Wallinga J, Ankjærgaard C, Reimann T, Wijbrans JR, Kuiper KF, Mücher HJ, Coqueugniot H, Prié V, Joosten I, Van Os B and others. 2015. Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving. Nature. [More] 
  • Roebroeks W. 2014. Archaeology: Art on the move. Nature(514): 170-171. [More] 
  • Villa P, Roebroeks W. 2014. Neandertal Demise: An Archaeological Analysis of the Modern Human Superiority Complex. PLoS ONE. 9(4): e96424. [More] 
  • Sorensen A, Roebroeks W, Van Gijn A. 2014. Fire production in the deep past? The expedient strike-a-light model. Journal of Archaeological Science. 42: 476 - 486. [More] 
  • Turq A, Roebroeks W, Bourguignon L, Faivre JP. 2013. The fragmented character of Middle Palaeolithic stone tool technology. Journal of Human Evolution. 65(5): 641 - 655. [More] 
  • Gaudzinski-Windheuser S, Kindler L, Pop E, Roebroeks W, Smith G. 2013. The Eemian Interglacial lake-landscape at Neumark-Nord (Germany) and its potential for our knowledge of hominin subsistence strategies. Quaternary International: -. [More]