Sir Paul Anthony Mellars, FBA (born 29 October 1939) is a British academic, archaeologist and pre-historian. He is Professor Emeritus of Prehistory and Human Evolution in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge.
Mellars obtained his MA, PhD and ScD degrees at the University of Cambridge, where he was a student of Fitzwilliam College, then taught for ten years in the Archaeology Department at Sheffield University before returning to Cambridge in 1980, where he became a fellow of Corpus Christi College. He briefly served as acting master of the college in 2007, following the resignation of Sir Alan Wilson, but six months later lost the election to become the formal successor to Wilson to Oliver Rackham. He has held visiting positions at the State University of New York at Binghamton and the Australian National University. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, member of the Academia Europaea and served as president of the Prehistoric Society. He is also a trustee of the ACE Foundation.
His recent research has concentrated on the behaviour and archaeology of Neanderthal populations in Europe, and their replacement by Homo sapiens 40,000 years ago. Mellars contributed to the three part BBC mini-series "Dawn of Man — The Story of Human Evolution" (2000).
He has also studied the way in which mesolithic hunter-gatherer populations in Britain adapted to climate changes following the last ice age. He has carried out excavations on early Mesolithic sites at Oronsay in the Inner Hebrides in Scotland and published the results from work at Star Carr in North Yorkshire.
- Mellars, Paul (1990). The Emergence of Modern Humans. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-2614-6.
- Mellars, Paul (1996). The Neanderthal Legacy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03493-1.
- Mellars, Paul (2006). "Why did modern human populations disperse from Africa ca. 60,000 years ago?". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 (25): 9381–6. Bibcode:2006PNAS..103.9381M. doi:10.1073/pnas.0510792103. PMC 1480416. PMID 16772383.
- Mellars, Paul (2006). "Archeology and the Dispersal of Modern Humans in Europe: Deconstructing the "Aurignacian"" (PDF). Evolutionary Anthropology Issues News and Reviews 15 (5): 167. doi:10.1002/evan.20103.[dead link]
- Mellars, Paul; Andrews, Martha V. (1987). "Excavations on Oronsay: Prehistoric Human Ecology on a Small Island". Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-85224-544-0.
- Mellars, Paul; Dark, Petra (1998). "Star Carr in Context: New Archaeological and Palaeoecological Investigations at the Early Mesolithic Site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire". McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. ISBN 0-9519420-4-2.
- Project description of excavations at Starr Carr
- University of Cambridge home page
- Corpus Christi College home page
- Entry for Paul Mellars, British Academy
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