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Research Staff

Dr Paul Breeze

Research AssociatePaul Breeze

King's Building
The Strand




Research interests

  • Human evolution and Hominin dispersals
  • Prehistory in mid-latitude deserts
  • Geoarchaeology, palaeoenvironments and palaeohydrology
  • Quaternary climate change in mid-latitude deserts
  • Landscape archaeology and archaeological prospection using GIS and remotely-sensed data

Paul recently completed a NERC-funded PhD on reconstructing palaeohydrological networks across the Arabian Peninsula and examining their potential as routes for dispersal for Pleistocene hominins. See his former student page for earlier outputs relating to this work.

Research (Archaeology and Palaeogeography)

Peopling the Green Sahara; a multi-proxy approach to reconstructing the ecological and demographic history of the Saharan Holocene.

Palaeodeserts project; Climate change and Human Evolution in the Arabian Desert


Paul has particular research interests in dispersals of Homo sapiens and other hominins in the middle-latitudes of Africa and western Asia and how population movements and dynamics in these areas may relate to climatic fluctuations of the past. 

He is a research associate on the Leverhulme-funded 'Peopling the Green Sahara' project, responsible for reconstructing former palaeohydrological networks in the Sahara Desert using remote-sensing and GIS techniques, and integrating these data with available palaeoecological data sets to explore the changing availability of freshwater features during the Holocene humid period. Spatio-temporal patterns evident in these data will then be related to archaeological data to explore how these factors relate to human occupations in the 'Green Sahara'.

Paul has authored or co-authored 20 publications to date and completed his NERC-funded PhD at King's College London in 2016. This PhD, undertaken in the department of Geography and partnered with the Palaeodeserts project, focused on reconstructing palaeohydrological networks across the Arabian Peninsula and examining their potential as routes for dispersal for Pleistocene hominins. See his former student page for earlier outputs. 

Prior to his PhD Paul was employed by the VISTA (Visual and Spatial Technology) Centre of the department of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham, performing landscape archaeological GIS analyses, archaeological excavations, and terrestrial spatial and geophysical surveys. He obtained an MA (with distinction) in Practical Archaeology from the University of Birmingham in 2007, and a BSC (hons) in Geology and Archaeology from the University of Birmingham in 2003.

Selected publications:

2016.  Palaeohydrological corridors for hominin dispersals in the Middle East 250–70,000 years ago. Breeze, P.S., Groucutt, H.S., Drake, N.A., White, T.S., Jennings, R.P., Petraglia, M.D., 2016. Quaternary Science Reviews. 144, 155–185.

2016.   Middle Pleistocene vertebrate fossils from the Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia: Implications for biogeography and palaeoecology. 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. Quaternary Science Reviews. 143, 13–36.

2016.   The Middle Palaeolithic of the Nejd, Saudi Arabia. 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. Journal of Field Archaeology 4690, 1–17.

2016.   Climate Change and Modern Human Occupation of the Sahara from MIS 6-2. Drake, N., Breeze, P., In: Jones, S., Stewart, B.A. (Eds.), Africa from MIS 6-2. Springer Netherlands, pp. 103–122.

2015.  Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Groucutt, H.S., Petraglia, M.D., Bailey, G., Scerri, E.M.L., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Jennings, R.P., Lewis, L., Blinkhorn, J., Drake, N. A., Breeze, P.S., Inglis, R.H., Devès, M.H., Meredith-Williams, M., Boivin, N., Thomas, M.G., Scally, A. Evolutionary Anthropology 24, 149–164.

2015.   Human occupation of the Arabian Empty Quarter during MIS 5: evidence from Mundafan Al-Buhayrah, Saudi Arabia. Groucutt, H.S., White, T.S., Clark-Balzan, L., Parton, A., Crassard, R., Shipton, C., Jennings, R.P., Parker, A.G., Breeze, P.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Quaternary Science Reviews 119.

2015.   Remote sensing and GIS techniques for reconstructing Arabian palaeohydrology and identifying archaeological sites. Breeze, P.S., Drake, N.A., Groucutt, H.S., Parton, A., Jennings, R.P., White, T.S., Clark-balzan, L., Shipton, C., Scerri, E.M.L., Stimpson, C.M., Al-Omari, A., Petraglia, M.D. Quaternary International.

2015.   Multi-scale Acheulean landscape survey in the Arabian Desert. Jennings, R.P., Shipton, C., Breeze, P., Cuthbertson, P., Antonio, M., Wedage, W.M.C.O., Drake, N.A., White, T.S., Groucutt, H.S., Parton, A., Clark-balzan, L., Stimpson, C., Omari, A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Quaternary International.

2015.   Orbital-scale climate variability in Arabia as a potential motor for human dispersals. Parton, A., White, T.S., Parker, A.G., Breeze, P.S., Jennings, R., Groucutt, H.S., Petraglia, M.D. Quaternary International.

2014.    Epipalaeolithic occupation and palaeoenvironments of the southern Nefud desert, Saudi Arabia, during the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene. 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. Journal of Archaeological  Science 50, 460–474.

2014.    High-resolution geospatial surveying techniques provide new insights into rock-art landscapes at Shuwaymis, Saudi Arabia. Jennings, R., Parton, A., Groucutt, H.S., Clark-Balzan, L., Breeze, P., Drake, N.A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy. 25, 1–21.

2014.    Middle to Late Pleistocene human habitation in the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Scerri, E.M.L., Breeze, P.S., Parton, A., Groucutt, H.S., White, T.S., Stimpson, C., Clark-balzan, L., Jennings, R., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D., 2014. Quaternary International.

2014.    Large Flake Acheulean in the Nefud Desert of Northern Arabia. Shipton, C., Parton, A., Breeze, P., Jennings, R., Groucutt, H.S., White, T.S., Drake, N.A., Crassard, R., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. PaleoAnthropology 446–462.

2014.    Stratified Pleistocene vertebrates with a new record of a jaguar-sized pantherine (Panthera cf. gombaszogensis) from northern Saudi Arabia. Stimpson, C.M., Breeze, P.S., Clark-Balzan, L., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R., Parton, A., Scerri, E., White, T.S., Petraglia, M.D. Quaternary International. 1–13.

2013.    Middle Palaeolithic and Neolithic Occupations around Mundafan Palaeolake, Saudi Arabia: Implications for Climate Change and Human Dispersals. 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. PLoS One 8, e69665.

2013.    Beyond the Levant: First Evidence of a Pre-Pottery Neolithic Incursion into the Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. Crassard, R., Petraglia, M.D., Parker, A.G., Parton, A., Roberts, R.G., Jacobs, Z., Alsharekh, A., Al-Omari, A., Breeze, P., Drake, N.A., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R., Régagnon, E., Shipton, C. PLoS One 8, e68061.

2013.    Palaeoclimate in the Saharan and Arabian Deserts during the Middle Palaeolithic and the potential for hominin dispersals. Drake, N.A., Breeze, P., Parker, A.G. Quaternary International 300, 48–61.

2012.    Hominin Dispersal into the Nefud Desert and Middle Palaeolithic Settlement along the Jubbah Palaeolake, Northern Arabia. Petraglia, M.D., Alsharekh, A.M., 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. PLoS One 7, e49840.

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