The Colonisation of Britain Project


The Colonisation of Britain by Modern Humans Project was commissioned by English Heritage in response to a perceived need in both nationally and regionally produced strategic research framework documents to update the previous survey of the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of England.
The project aimed to provide a comprehensive survey of the Upper Palaeolithic resource, with a pilot study of the Mesolithic in England involving three counties.  A comprehensive survey of these periods (c.38,000-c 6500 BP) was considered of particular importance because many of the sites and find spots represent evidence for the recolonisation of Britain after the Last Glacial Maximum by hominid groups. Unlike earlier recolonisations this event is part of the most northerly early migration of social groups of anatomically modern humans.
The major primary source of data for the survey is the invaluable and extensive archive compiled over many years by the late Dr Roger Jacobi. Securing this archive was identified as a priority in itself. The project included the digitisation of the Jacobi Archive, both as an image dataset and as a structured relational database, enhanced with additional information from SMR/HERs.
The original Jacobi Archive card index is being curated by the British Museum however the project database (Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Lithic Artefact) is being made available via the Archaeology Data Services and the NMR (links TBA). The dataset exists in two forms - "The Jacobi Archive" - a faithful presentation of the data as recorded over the course of Dr. Jacobi's career and the "The Colonisation of Britain" dataset which incorporates standardised terms and other refinements.  It is recognised that individual HER/SMRs may wish to download and incorporate the enhanced dataset and to support this, a simplified version of the project database is available below. 
The project team would be very pleased to receive comments on the suitability of the data formats provided here and are also available to assist with HER integration. If you have any questions or require any further information about the project please feel free to contact us at
The files presented in the .zip archive are as follows
Colonisation.xls contains 
  • a flattened table of records representing each of the original cards including sites, collections and associated artefacts.
  • a list of assemblage tag terms adding further typological information to the rather generic artefact categories of the main table.
  • a GIS ready table for simple spatial display 


  • a metdata detailing the contents of each field.



Colonisation.zip4.73 MB