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Social scientists at Oxford are seeking answers to some of the world’s most important challenges. How can we tackle climate change? What needs to happen to resolve poverty? How should we respond to the economic crises? How should we fight for our human rights? Here we bring you the latest of our major discoveries in the social sciences at Oxford.

Monkey tool use threatens prey numbers, say researchers

Monkey tool use threatens prey numbers, say researchers

Archaeology Research

Using tools to search for food is affecting primate prey numbers and could potentially lead to prey species extinction, new Oxford research suggests.

Late surviving Neanderthals ‘much older’ than previously thought

Late surviving Neanderthals ‘much older’ than previously thought

Archaeology Research

Late surviving Neanderthals from Croatia were much older than previously thought, according to new research from the University of Oxford.

Online hillforts atlas maps all 4,147 in Britain and Ireland for the first time

Online hillforts atlas maps all 4,147 in Britain and Ireland for the first time

Archaeology Research

Dotted across the landscape of Britain and Ireland, hillforts have been part of our story for millennia and for the first time a new online atlas launched today captures all of their locations and key details in one place.

Gary Lock wins Public Engagement Award for Citizen Science project - The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

Gary Lock wins Public Engagement Award for Citizen Science project - The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

Archaeology Award Public Engagement Research

A project run by Professor Gary Lock has won an award in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards, which celebrate public engagement work across the University. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on 28 June hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson.

Ancient grain tells the tale of our ancestors’ cities

Ancient grain tells the tale of our ancestors’ cities

Archaeology Research

Archaeological digs in the Middle East have revealed the remains of ancient harvests that record how some of the world’s earliest cities grew and developed.

Medieval fasting 'linked with genetic changes in domesticated chickens’

Medieval fasting 'linked with genetic changes in domesticated chickens’

Archaeology Research

A team of international scientists led by the University of Oxford has combined ancient DNA analyses with statistical modelling to pinpoint the timing of the selection for traits associated with modern chickens. They found that medieval Christians who fasted may have played a part in producing less aggressive farm birds.

Official launch of public database of ‘at risk’ archaeological sites

Official launch of public database of ‘at risk’ archaeological sites

Archaeology Research

Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa, (EAMENA) an archaeological preservation project, will today launch public access to its online database of nearly 20,000 archaeological sites at severe risk due to conflict and other agents of destruction in the Middle East and North Africa.

Success in latest league table rankings

Success in latest league table rankings

Award Archaeology Geography

Oxford University has been ranked number one in the world in four subject areas in the latest QS World Rankings by Subject. The University came first in Archaeology, Geography, Anatomy and Physiology, English Language and Literature.

New doubts on whether early humans were forced to start farming

New doubts on whether early humans were forced to start farming

Archaeology Research

The development of agriculture is universally believed to underpin some of the most significant advances made by humans worldwide. In New Guinea, where one of the earliest human experiments with tropical forest agriculture occurred, researchers have cast doubt on two views about the origins of agriculture.

'Archaeologist: the A303 is a crucial part of Stonehenge’s setting'

'Archaeologist: the A303 is a crucial part of Stonehenge’s setting'

Archaeology The Conversation

The article 'Archaeologist: the A303 is a crucial part of Stonehenge’s setting' has been published on The Conversation. It was written by Dan Hicks, Associate Professor and Curator, Pitt Rivers Museum and School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford.

Oxford Social Scientists excel at European Research Council applications and awards

Oxford Social Scientists excel at European Research Council applications and awards

Award Research International Development Archaeology Law

Out of the 8 European Research Council Starting Grants secured by the University of Oxford in 2015-2016, 5 were awarded to Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in the Social Sciences Division.

'Monkeys make stone flakes too so humans are not unique after all'

'Monkeys make stone flakes too so humans are not unique after all'

Archaeology Research

Researchers have observed wild-bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally creating flakes that share many of the characteristics of those produced by early Stone Age hominins.

Ancient Britons' teeth reveal people were 'highly mobile' 4,000 years ago

Ancient Britons' teeth reveal people were 'highly mobile' 4,000 years ago

Archaeology Research

Archaeologists have created a new database from the teeth of prehistoric humans found at ancient burial sites in Britain and Ireland that tell us a lot about their climate, their diet and even how far they may have travelled. In a paper, led by Dr Maura Pellegrini from the University of Oxford, researchers say that individuals in prehistoric Britain were highly mobile.

'Clocks' in tree-rings that could reset chronologies across the ancient world

'Clocks' in tree-rings that could reset chronologies across the ancient world

Archaeology Research

Oxford University researchers say that trees which grew during intense radiation bursts in the past have 'time-markers' in their tree-rings that could help archaeologists date events from thousands of years ago. In a new paper, the authors explain how harvesting such data could revolutionise the study of ancient civilisations such as the Egyptian and Mayan worlds.

Monkeys in Brazil have used stone tools for hundreds of years at least

Monkeys in Brazil have used stone tools for hundreds of years at least

Archaeology Research

New archaeological evidence suggests that Brazilian capuchins have been using stone tools to crack open cashew nuts for at least 700 years, and the new research paper asks whether human behaviour was influenced through watching the monkeys.

Innovation of Stone Age humans 'not linked with climate change'

Innovation of Stone Age humans 'not linked with climate change'

Archaeology Research

The cultural and technological innovations of Middle Stone Age humans in Southern Africa may not be directly linked to climate, according to new research.

16 Early Career Researchers secure postdoctoral funding from top international funders

16 Early Career Researchers secure postdoctoral funding from top international funders

Award Research Anthropology Archaeology Funding

We are delighted to announce that a total of 16 Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in the Social Sciences Division have won funding in the 2015-2016 application rounds.

Generations of macaques used 'tools' to open their oysters and nuts

Generations of macaques used 'tools' to open their oysters and nuts

Archaeology Research

A new study looks into the history of stone tools used by wild macaques in coastal Thailand. It finds they have been using them for decades…and possibly thousands of years… to crack open shellfish and nuts.

'Pristine' landscapes haven’t existed for thousands of years

'Pristine' landscapes haven’t existed for thousands of years

Archaeology Research

'Pristine' landscapes simply do not exist anywhere in the world today and, in most cases, have not existed for at least several thousand years, says a new study led by the University of Oxford.

Dogs were domesticated not once, but twice… in different parts of the world

Dogs were domesticated not once, but twice… in different parts of the world

Archaeology Research

The question, ‘Where do domestic dogs come from?’, has vexed scholars for a very long time. Some argue that humans first domesticated wolves in Europe, while others claim this happened in Central Asia or China. A new paper, published in Science, suggests that all these claims may be right.

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