Project Team

penny-spikinsPenny Spikins
Principal Investigator Staff page

Penny is Senior Lecturer in the Archaeology of Human Origins at the University of York. Her research focuses on cognitive and social evolution, including the origins of autism, dynamics of egalitarianism, evolution of self control and display in artefacts, and Neanderthal childhood. Penny’s latest book, How Compassion Made Us Human argues that a selection for pro-social emotional motivations has been the driving force behind human evolution.

andy-needhamAndy Needham
Post-Doctoral Researcher | Staff page

Andy is Associate Lecturer in Palaeolithic Archaeology at the University of York. His research focuses on early prehistoric art, most recently Palaeolithic engraved limestone plaquettes from Montastruc, Mesolithic beads and engraved pendants from Star Carr, and Mesolithic ochre processing at Palaeo-lake Flixton. Andy has previously worked as a Research Assistant on the Lost in Translation: Personal Material Culture and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) project.

Taryn-Bell-200x200Taryn Bell
Research Assistant @tarynlbell

Taryn is a Research Assistant for the Hidden Depths Outreach project, bringing the project into secondary schools through the PSHE curriculum. She is currently studying for a PhD in Archaeology at the University of York, funded by WRoCAH (AHRC). Her own research focuses on emotional attachments to objects, and she has recently written a paper on this subject:

gail-hitchens-200x200Gail Hitchens
Graphics Assistant @GailHitchens

Gail is studying for a PhD in Archaeology at the University of York, funded by WRoCAH (AHRC). Her research focuses on the Middle Palaeolithic , which has led to collaborations on Neanderthal childhood ( and healthcare ( Gail’s current research investigates how different social dynamics, such as carrying children, may have influenced Neanderthal mobility.

Read about the Hidden Depths project →