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One-day symposium

25 years of Palaeolithic Research at Schöningen (Germany)

20 September 2017
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden
Klein Auditorium

In 1992, the Braunschweigische Kohlen-Bergwerke AG (BKB) opened the southern quarry of the Schöningen lignite mine. In March of that year, Dr. Hartmut Thieme discovered the first Palaeolithic artefacts associated with artificially modified pieces of wood and butchered mammal bones. These past 25 years have seen a number of exceptional Palaeolithic discoveries in Schöningen, this include the iconic wooden spears. These spears, resembling modern javelins, were found amongst the largest assemblage of butchered horses known from a Lower Palaeolithic site. New finds continue to be made, and most recently the remains of over a hundred bone tools and the remains of at least two sabre-tooth cat (Homotherium latidens).

The publication of the wooden spears from Schö 13 II-4 in Nature (Thieme, 1997) made the site world-famous and many archaeologists regarded the wooden spears as one of the major discoveries in Palaeolithic research in the past decades. A comprehensive analysis of the site has been published recently in a special issue of the Journal of Human Evolution (89, 2015).

Major public exhibitions of the finds have been presented at Braunschweigischen Landesmuseum (2007/2008) and at Niedersächsischen Landesmuseum Hannover (2008). Paläon, the research and experience centre in Schöningen build at the edge of the quarry, presents an extensive overview of the main Palaeolithic discoveries during the past 25 years.  


To celebrate 25 years of Palaeolithic Research at Schöningen, a one-day symposium  organised by Thijs van Kolfschoten and team members of the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University in cooperation with Jordi Serangeli (Tübingen University), Simon Parfitt (UCL) and Silvia Bello (Natural History Museum) will be held at the Academy Building (Klein Auditorium), in Leiden. Overviews and new research will be presented in form of oral and poster presentations. The final program will be available on the website by the end of July and will be sent to those who register.


09:00 – 10:00


Faculty Club, Rapenburg 70, Leiden

10:00 – 10:15


Thijs van Kolfschoten

10:15 – 10:45

35 years of biostratigraphical research of the Quaternary deposits of Open Mine Schöningen

Brigitte Urban (Leuphana University)

10:45 – 11:05

The Schöningen late Middle Pleistocene geological sequences exposed in the northern and southern quarry

Charles Turner (Cambridge University)

11:05 – 11:25

The highlights of 25 years of archaeozoological research in Schöningen

Thijs van Kolfschoten (Leiden University)

11:25 -- 11:45

The Schöningen carnivore guild: taxonomy, taphonomic impact and relevance to hominin subsistence

Yvo Verheijen (Tübingen & Leiden University)

11:45 – 12:05

Schöningen: A new view of a key Middle Pleistocene locality

Jordi Serangeli (Tübingen University)

12:05 – 13:30



13:30 – 13:50

An overview of the excavations and research at Schöningen

Nicholas J. Conard (Tübingen University)

13:50 – 14:10

Bone tools from Schöningen

Silvia Bello (NHM London)

14:10 – 14:30

Schöningen: tools and mind. A cognitive approach to the ways Homo heidelbergensis used resources

Bárbara Ródriguez Álvarez (Tübingen University)

14:30 – 14:50

Climate and environmental variability during the late Middle Pleistocene in Schöningen – New research approaches and prospects

Kim J. Krahn*, Brigitte Urban**, Antje Schwalb* (*Braunschweig University, ** Leuphana University)

14:50 – 15:10

Critters on the lakeshore: the paleoenvironmental and biostratigraphic implications of Schöningen's beetle remains

Sanders Aerts (MOLA London)

15:10 – 15:30

The British and Schöningen record compared

Simon Parfitt (UCL & NHM London)


Closing Remarks

Thijs van Kolfschoten

15:35 – 17:00 Drinks Het Keizertje, Kaiserstraat 2-4, 2311 GR Leiden

PLEASE Register asap by sending an email to c.a.e.peters@arch.leidenuniv.nl