Dr Laura Basell

Associate Professor in Archaeology

An image of Dr Laura Basell+44 (0)116 252 2591

Email: l.basell@le.ac.uk

Personal details

After studying Archaeology at the University of Bristol, I was awarded a Graduate Attachment with the British Institute in Eastern Africa which confirmed my fascination with African archaeology. I then completed an MPhil in World Archaeology and a PhD at the University of Cambridge, which focussed on the Middle Stone Age and Quaternary landscapes of eastern Africa. I subsequently held several English Heritage funded postdoctoral positions in different universities researching human evolution and Quaternary landscape change in southern Britain before taking up a postdoctoral position working on the NERC funded “Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition in Western Europe” project in the radiocarbon laboratory, University of Oxford. I was awarded the Phyllis and Eileen Gibbs Fellowship at Newnham College, Cambridge and then worked as LiDAR Officer for the New Forest National Park, in commercial archaeology and as an independent consultant in Libya and the UK. I obtained my first Lecturing position in Geography at Oxford Brookes. I then held Senior Lecturing positions in Archaeology at the University of Bournemouth, and Queen’s University Belfast before moving to take up an Associate Professorship at Leicester in 2019.

 

Teaching

I teach modular courses at all levels on a range of undergraduate (UG) and Masters (MA) programmes.

 

Research interests

I am an archaeologist specialising in prehistory. My research interests focus on developing integrated interpretations of prehistoric behavioural landscapes, in order to understand cultural and technological innovation. I am interested in the role of materiality and cultural heritage in identity creation and how population migration occurs. My specialism centres on the emergence and spread of Homo sapiens in Africa and Europe including the origins of symbolic behaviour. My practical skills lie in excavation, survey and the methodological development of digital and geospatial technologies in a cultural heritage context.

  • Human Evolution: The Stone Age and Palaeolithic, particularly of Europe and Africa
  • Mesolithic and Neolithic Landscapes
  • Landscape evolution and geoarchaeological approaches (including GIS, remote sensing and especially laser scanning)
  • Archaeological practice and dating techniques
  • Material Culture: particularly macro-scale stone tool analysis/experimental approaches
  • Rock art and mobiliary art

I am interested in supervising Doctoral Research topics within these broad areas. If you have an idea and would like to discuss it further, do not hesitate to contact me.

I'm always open to discussing potential collaborations beyond academia and in other disciplines.

 

Publications

Egberts, E., Basell, L.S., Welham, K. Brown, A.G. and Toms, P.S. (subm. 2019) The timing of hominin presence in the Avon valley, Hampshire, and its implications for the understanding of the British Lower and early Middle Palaeolithic Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association.

Basell, L, Perkins, J & Small, J (2019), The Mesolithic of the River Bann in Late Quaternary Landscape Evolution, Palaeoenvironments and Human Occupation in the North of Ireland. INQUA 2019 Field Guide edn, QRA Field Guides, Quaternary Research Association.

Egberts, E., Basell, L. and Toms, P. (2019) Quaternary landscape change and evidence of hominin presence in the Avon valley. In The Quaternary Fluvial Archives of the Major English Rivers. INQUA 2019 Field Guide edn, Quaternary Research Association.

Perkins, J., Basell, L. and Plunkett, G. (2019). A palynological investigation of Later Mesolithic to Early Neolithic activity at Derragh Island, County Longford. INQUA 2019 Field Guide. The Quaternary of the Irish Midlands.

Basell, L.S., Ali, A., Firoozi-Nejad, B., Egberts, E., Mellor, N. and Horton, M. (in press 2019) Laser-Scanning Shihrazad’s Baths: 1001 Tales of Zanzibar Nights. The Antiquaries Journal.

Webb, P., Morris, B., Bampton, J., Walls, S. & Basell, L., (subm. 2018) Excavations of a Fairground Site at Penhale Farm, Fraddon, St Enoder, Cornwall. Cornish Archaeology.

Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., Toms, P.S. (2019) The Quaternary of the Jurassic Coast Region: From The late Pliocene to the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the Geologists Association 130 (3-4) 451-462. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2018.02.005

Tumler, D. Basell, L.S. and Coward, F. (2018) Human perception on symmetry, raw material and size of Palaeolithic handaxes. Lithics: the Journal of the Lithic Studies Society 38: online ahead of print copy Jan 2018

Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S. and Farbstein, R. (2017) Eels, beavers and horses: Human niche construction in the European Late Upper Palaeolithic. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 83, 1-22.

Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S. and Toms, P. (2015) A stacked Late Quaternary fluvio-periglacial sequence from the Axe valley, southern England with implications for landscape evolution and Palaeolithic archaeology. Quaternary Science Reviews 116, 106-121.

Higham, T.F.G., Douka, K., Wood, R., Bronk Ramsey, C., Brock, F., Basell, L., Camps, M., Arrizabalaga, A., Baena, J., Barroso-Ruíz, C., Bergman, C., Boitard, C., Boscato, P., Caparrós, M., Conard, N.J., Draily, C., Froment, A., Galván, B., Gambassini, P., Garcia-Moreno, A., Grimaldi, S., Haesaerts, P., Holt, B., Iriarte-Chiapusso, M-J., Jelinek, A., Jordá Pardo, J.F., Maíllo-Fernández, J-M., Marom, A., Maroto, J., Menéndez, M., Metz, L., Morin, E., Moroni, A., Negrino, F., Panagopoulou, E., Peresani, M., Pirson, S., de la Rasilla, M., Riel-Salvatore, J., Ronchitelli, A., Santamaria, D., Semal, P., Slimak, L., Soler, J., Soler, N., Villaluenga, A., Pinhasi, R. and Jacobi, R. (2014). The timing and spatio-temporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance. Nature 512, 306–309.

Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., Robinson, S., and Burge, G. (2013) Palaeolithic Site Distribution in Britain and North West Europe: A Nutritional Niche Reconstruction Approach. PLOS One.

Basell, L.S. The Middle Stone Age of Eastern Africa. (2013) In Mitchell, P. and Lane, P. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Oxford University Press.

Higham, T., Bronk Ramsey, C., Basell, L., Brock, F., Wood, R. and Davies W. (2013) Radiocarbon dating & Bayesian modelling from the Grotte du Renne & a Neanderthal origin for the Châtelperronian, Before Farming 2012/3 article 2. 1 – 6.

Higham, T.H., Basell, L.S., Jacobi, R., Wood, R., Bronk Ramsey, C. and Conard, N. (2012) Testing models for the beginnings of the Aurignacian and the advent of figurative art and music: The radiocarbon chronology of Geissenklösterle Journal of Human Evolution.

Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) (2011) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London.

Higham, T., Brock, F., Bronk Ramsey, C., Davies, W., Wood, R. and Basell, L. (2011) Chronology of the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure, France: a response to Zilhão et al (this issue). Before Farming 2011/3 article 4, 1-5.

Higham, T., Brock, F., Davies, W., Bronk-Ramsey, C., Wood, R. and Basell, L. (2011) Chronology of the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure, France: Implications for Neanderthal symbolic behaviour. Before Farming 2011/2 article 1

Higham, T.H., Jacobi, R., Basell, L.S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Chiotti, L. and Nespoulet, R. (2011) Precision dating of the Palaeolithic: A new radiocarbon chronology for the Abri Pataud (France), a key Aurignacian sequence. Journal of Human Evolution 61 (5) 549-563.

Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G., Hosfield, R., Toms, P. (2011) The Geoarchaeology of Palaeolithic Rivers of South West Britain. In Brown, A.G., Butzer, K. and Basell, L.S. (Eds) Geoarchaeology, Climate Change and Sustainability. Geological Society of America.

Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S. and Butzer, K. (Eds) (2011) Geoarchaeology, Climate Change and Sustainability. Geological Society of America.

Higham, T.F.G., Jacobi, R.M., Julien, M., David, F. Wood, R., Basell, L.S., Davies, S.W.G., and Bronk Ramsey, C. (2010) New dates for the Grotte du Renne at Arcy-sur-Cure and their implications for the evolution of symbolic behaviour. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 107 (47) 20234-20239.

Basell, L.S. and Brown, A.G. (2011) The archaeological context of the Exe Valley and adjoining areas. In Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London. 11-26.

Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P.S. (2011) Chard Junction Quarry and the Axe Valley Gravels. In Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London. 93-102.

Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G., Toms, P.S. and Gallois, R. (2011) The Otter Valley gravels and Budleigh Salterton. In Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London. 139-147.

Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G., Toms, P.S. and Norman, C.J. (2011) The Doniford gravels. In Basell, L.S., Bown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London. 155-163.

Bennett, J.A., Brown, A.G. and Basell, L.S. (2011) Late Plesitocene and Holocene deposits in the Netherexe area. In Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London. 67-76.

Brown, A.G., Scrivener, R.C. and Basell, L.S. (2011) The geological setting and landform evolution of the Exe Valley and adjoining areas. In Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London. 1-10.

Brown, A.G., Powell, M. and Basell, L.S. (2011) Recent work at Shapwick Grange Quarry and the Blackdown Hills Plateau gravels. In Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London. 128-132.

Scrivener, R.C., Basell, L.S. and Brown, A.G. (2011) Sarsens associated with River Terrace Gravels in the Creedy Valley, Devon. In Basell, L.S., Brown, A.G. and Toms, P. (Eds.) Quaternary of the Exe Valley and Adjoining Areas Quaternary Research Association, London. 77-83.

Basell, L.S. (2010) Middle Stone Age Sangoan-Lupemban Lithic Assemblages in Africa in Allsworth-Jones, P. (Ed) “West African archaeology: New developments, New perspectives”. B.A.R. International Series. 15-28.

LeQuesne, C., Basell, L.S. and Sheibani R. (2010) Archaeology in the Sirte Basin: Preliminary Results of Mitigation Surveys carried out for Shell 2007-2009 Libyan Studies 41. 7-32.

Jacobi, R., Higham, T.F.G., Haesarts, P., Basell, L.S. (2010) Radiocarbon chronology for the Early Gravettian of northern Europe: New AMS determinations for Maisières Canal. Antiquity 84. 26–40.

Brown, A. G., Basell, L.S., Toms, P.S., Bennett, J., Hosfield, R. T. and Scrivener, R. C. (2010) Later Pleistocene Evolution of the Exe Valley: A Chronostratigraphic Model of Terrace Formation and its Implications for Palaeolithic Archaeology. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, (7-8), 897-912.

Brown, A. G., Basell, L. S., Toms, P. S. and Scrivener R.C. (2009) Towards A Budget Approach to Pleistocene Terraces: Preliminary Studies using the River Exe in South West England, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists Association 120. 275-281.

Barker, G., Basell, L., Brooks, I., Cartwright, C., Cole, F., Davison, J., Farr, L., Grűn, R., Hamilton, R., Hunt, C., Inglis, R., Jacobs, Z., Legge, T., Leitch, V., Morales, J., Morley, I., Pawley, S., Pryor, A., Roberts, B., Reynolds, T., el-Rishi, H., Simpson, D., Twati, M., and van der Veen, M. (2009) The Cyrenaican Prehistory Project 2008: the second season of investigations of the Haua Fteah cave and its landscape, and further results from the initial (2007) fieldwork. Libyan Studies 40. 175-221.

Basell, L.S. (2008) Middle Stone Age (MSA) site distributions in eastern Africa and their relationship to Quaternary environmental change, refugia and the evolution of Homo sapiens Quaternary Science Reviews 27. 2484-2498.

Hosfield, R.T., Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., Hounsell, S. (2006) Beyond the caves, The Palaeolithic Rivers of South West Britain. Geoscience in the South West. 11 (3): 183-190.

 

Reports

Basell, L.S. and Bray L. (2019) Dartmoor Tor Enclosures Project. Newsletter contribution to Devon Archaeology Society.

Basell, L.S. (2019) Report of the Lithics from the 2019 Excavations at Holwell, Dartmoor. Confidential Report prepared for Dr L. Bray, Dartmoor National Park Authority.

Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., and Toms, P. (2012) Monitoring and Modelling of the Palaeolithic Archaeological Resource at Chard Junction Quarry, Hodge Ditch, Phases II and III, Assessment Stage (Project No. 5695). English Heritage Research Department Report Series

Basell, L.S. (2009) Lithics and Gemorphological Reports for Areas 211C and 212, Libya. Prepared for RPS and included as part of Le Quesne, C. Oil and Gas Exploration in the Sirte Basin, Libya: Areas 211C (Jebel Zelten) and 212. Archaeological Assessment for Shell Petroleum Ltd. Confidential Report, RPS Planning, Transport and Environment.

Basell, L.S. (2008) Lithics and Gemorphological Reports for Area 89, Libya. Prepared for RPS and included as part of Le Quesne, C. Oil and Gas Exploration in the Sirte Basin, Libya: Area 89 (Maaten al-Jafra). Archaeological Assessment for Shell Petroleum Ltd. Confidential Report, RPS Planning, Transport and Environment

Toms, P., Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., Hosfield, R. (2008) Palaeolithic Rivers of South-West Britain: Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dating of Residual Deposits of the Proto-Axe, Exe, Otter and Washford. English Heritage Research Department Report Series No. 2.

Brown, A.G. & Basell, L.S. (2008) Two new bifaces from the Axe Valley, Chard Junction. PAST 60: 1-3. Hosfield, R.T., Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., Hounsell, S. & Young, R. (2007) The Palaeolithic Rivers of South- West Britain. English Heritage Project Report (Project No. 3847). English Heritage Archive Report: London. 200 pages.

Basell, L.S. (2006) Palaeolithic Rivers of South-West Britain Project (PRoSWeB): Fieldwork and Outreach. Cornwall Archaeological Society Newsletter.

Basell, L.S. (2006) Palaeolithic Rivers of South-West Britain Project (PRoSWeB): Fieldwork and Outreach. Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter.

Hosfield, R.T., Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S. & Hounsell, S. (2005). The Palaeolithic Rivers of South-West Britain. PAST 51: 12-14

 

Supervision

Current Students

2016 – present James Perkins “Niche Construction and Plant Use in the Mesolithic”. Northern Bridge (AHRC) funded. Co-supervisor: Dr G. Plunkett. Support also agreed from Prof. P. Rowley-Conwy (Durham) and informally, Prof P. Woodman.

2017 - present  Jonathan Small: “Pigs, Pits and Persistent Places” Northern Bridge (AHRC) funded study of Mesolithic NW Europe using GIS and isotope studies. Co-supervisor: Prof Paula Reimer (QUB). External supervisor, Prof Janet Montgomery. Will begin September 2017.

2017 – present Aaron Rawlinson: “Early Neanderthal Social and Behavioural Complexity During the Purfleet Interglacial” Invited external supervisor. Primary supervisor: Prof Mark White (University of Durham). Secondary supervisor: Dr Nick Ashton (British Museum)

Past students

Dr Ella Egberts: PhD Title: The Palaeolithic of the Avon valley: a geoarchaeological approach to the hominin colonisation of Britain. Now Geoarchaeologist and lithics specialist at PreConstruct Archaeology Limited and Assistant Field Director at the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme

 

Projects: details to follow soon

Contextualising the Caves of South-West England funding application in progress.

East Pemba Maritime Heritage Project funded by Rising from the Depths, AHRC

Landscapes and Seascapes of the Dingle Peninsula funded by the Royal Irish Academy

Dartmoor Tor Enclosures Project funded by the Society of Antiquaries

Capturing the Cultural Heritage of Eastern Africa funded by GCRF

 

Life, Evolution and Palaeoecology at the Headwaters of the Nile multiple funding sources. Further funding applications in progress. Focus: The Kagera River (Uganda/Rwanda/Tanzania).

Rescue Excavation of Large Mammal Skeleton and Associated Stone Tools from Temporarily Exposed Section, Lake Victoria Kenya funded by NERC.

Excavations at Rambogo Rockshelter, Western Kenya funded by multiple sources

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