Randall White

Professor of Anthropology

Ph.D. 1980, Toronto, B.A. 1976, Alberta.

Office Address: Rufus D. Smith Hall 25 Waverly Place New York, NY 10003

Email:

Phone: 212-998-8571

Fax: 212-995-4014

Curriculum Vitae


Areas of Research/Interest

Paleolithic Europe; prehistoric art; archaeological approaches to the technologies of ancient hunter-gatherers; France.

External Affiliations

Member of the Center for the Study of Human Origins (CSHO).
Chercheur associé, UMR 5608 TRACES, Université de Toulouse 2 - Le Mirail.

Selected Publications

"A new discovery of Aurignacian art at Abri Blanchard (Dordogne): implications for understanding Aurignacian graphic expression in Western and Central Europe." Quaternary International. (with Raphaelle Bourrillon, Elise Tartar, Laurent Chiotti, Romain Mensan, Amy Clark, JC Castel, Catherine Cretin, Thomas Higham, André Morala, Sarah Ranlett, M. Sisk, T. Devièse, D. J. Comeskey). 2017 in press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2016.09.063

 

"Newly discovered Aurignacian engraved blocks from Abri Cellier: History, context and dating Quaternary International." (with Raphaelle Bourrillon, Romain Mensan, Amy Clark, Laurent Chiotti, Thomas Higham, Sarah Ranlett, Elise Tartar, André Morala, M-C Soulier). 2017 in press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.02.001

 

"Uranium-thorium dating method and Palaeolithic rock art. Quaternary International." (with Georges Sauvet. Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Margaret Conkey, Carole Fritz, Diego Gárate-Maidagan, Olivia Rivero Vilá, Gilles Tosello). 2017 in press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.03.053

 

"Further comment on Comment on Uranium-thorium dating method and Palaeolithic rock artby Sauvet et al. by Pons-Branchu E. et al." Quaternary International. (with Georges Sauvet. R. Bourrillon, M. Conkey, Carole Fritz, Diego Gárate-Maidagan, Olivia Rivero Vilá, Gilles Tosello). 2017 in press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2016.04.020

 

"Technologies for the Control of Heat and Light in the Vézère Valley Aurignacian." Current Anthropology, special issue on Fire and the Genus Homo. (with Romain Mensan, Amy Clark, Elise Tartar, Laurent Marquer, Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Paul Goldberg, Laurent Chiotti, Catherine Cretin, William Rendu, Anne Pike-Tay and Sarah Ranlett). 2017 in press.

 

"F-content variation in mammoth ivory from Aurignacian contexts: preservation, alteration, and implications for ivory-procurement strategies." Quaternary International 403, 40-50. (with Heckel, C., Müller, K., Floss, H., Conard, N.J., Normand, C., Wolf, S., Reiche, I.). 2016.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.11.105

 

"Introduction," in White R., Bourrillon R. (eds.) with the collaboration of Bon F., Aurignacian Genius: Art, Technology and Society of the First Modern Humans in Europe, Proceedings of the International Symposium, April 08- 10 2013, New York University, P@lethnology, 7, 5-7. (with R. Bourrillon and F. Bon). 2015.

 

"Introduction," in White R., Bourrillon R. (dir.) avec la collaboration de Bon F., Aurignacian Genius : art, technologie et société des premiers hommes modernes en Europe, Actes du symposium international, 8-10 avril 2013, New York University, P@lethnologie, 7, 5-7. (with R. Bourrillon and F. Bon). 2015.

 

"Early Aurignacian Graphic Arts in the Vézère Valley: In Search of an Identity?," in White R., Bourrillon R. (eds.) with the collaboration of Bon F., Aurignacian Genius: Art, Technology and Society of the First Modern Humans in Europe, Proceedings of the International Symposium, April 08- 10 2013, New York University, P@lethnology, 7, 118-137. (with R. Bourrillon). 2015.

 

"Pratiques symboliques aurignaciennes en abri-sous-roche dans la vallée de la Vézère : à la recherche d’une identité ?," in White R., Bourrillon R. (dir.) avec la collaboration de Bon F., Aurignacian Genius : art, technologie et société des premiers hommes modernes en Europe, Actes du symposium international, 8-10 avril 2013, New York University, P@lethnologie, 7, 119-139. (with R. Bourrillon). 2015.

 

"Early and Archaic Aurignacian Personal Ornaments from Isturitz Cave: Technological and Regional Perspectives," in White R., Bourrillon R. (eds.) with the collaboration of Bon F., Aurignacian Genius: Art, Technology and Society of the First Modern Humans in Europe, Proceedings of the International Symposium, April 08-10 2013, New York University, P@lethnology, 7, 138-164. (with C. Normand). 2015.

 

"Les parures de l’Aurignacien ancien et archaïque de la grotte d’Isturitz : perspectives technologiques et régionales," in White R., Bourrillon R. (dir.) avec la collaboration de Bon F., Aurignacian Genius : art, technologie et société des premiers hommes modernes en Europe, Actes du symposium international, 8-10 avril 2013, New York University, P@lethnologie, 7, 140-166. (with C. Normand). 2015.

 

"The Aurignacian Site of the Abri de la Souquette (commune de Sergeac, Dordogne): A History of Archeology," in White R., Bourrillon R. (eds.) with the collaboration of Bon F., Aurignacian Genius: Art, Technology and Society of the First Modern Humans in Europe, Proceedings of the International Symposium, April 08-10 2013, New York University, P@lethnology, 7, 98-117. (with J. O'Hara, Z. Garrett, A. Roussot and T. Higham). 2015.          

 

"Le site aurignacien de l’abri de la Souquette (commune de Sergeac, Dordogne) : son histoire archéologique," in White R., Bourrillon R. (dir.) avec la collaboration de Bon F., Aurignacian Genius : art, technologie et société des premiers hommes modernes en Europe, Actes du symposium international, 8-10 avril 2013, New York University, P@lethnologie, 7, 99-118. (with J. O'Hara, Z. Garrett, A. Roussot and T. Higham). 2015.

 

"Micro-PIXE/PIGE analysis of Palaeolithic mammoth ivory: Potential chemical markers of provenance and relative dating." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 416: pp 133141. (with C. Heckel, K. Müller, H. Floss, N.J. Conard, I. Reiche). 2014.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.09.010

 

"Quel(s) Aurignacien(s) à l’abri Blanchard (Sergeac, Dordogne, France)? Données des collections d’industrie osseuse conservées aux États-Unis et retour sur le terrain." Paléo. 25: pp 309-331. (with Élise Tartar, Randall White, Laurent Chiotti, Catherine Cretin, Romain Mensan). 2014.

 

"Uranium-series dating of carbonate formations overlying Paleolithic art: interest and limitations." Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française, 111(2): pp 211-224. (with Edwige Pons-Branchu, Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Margaret W. Conkey, Michel Fontugne, Carole Fritz, Diego Gárate, Anita Quiles, Olivia Rivero, Georges Sauvet, Gilles Tosello, Hélène Valladas). 2014.

 

"Abri Blanchard (Aurignacien ancien et récent)." Bilan scientifique de la région d'Aquitaine. Bordeaux: Ministère de la Culture et la Communication, pp. 62-64. (with Romain Mensan, Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Amy Clark, Sarah Ranlett, Laurent Chiotti, Catherine Cretin). 2014.

 

"Abri Castanet, secteur central (Aurignacien ancien)." Bilan scientifique de la région d'Aquitaine. Bordeaux: Ministère de la Culture et la Communication, p. 64. (with Romain Mensan, Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Amy Clark, Sarah Ranlett). 2014.

 

"Regards croisés de l’archéozoologue et du technologue sur l’exploitation des ressources animales à l’Aurignacien archaïque : l’exemple d’Isturitz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France). "Transitions, ruptures et continuité en Préhistoire, XXVIIe Congrès Préhistorique de France tome 2, pp. 315-332. (with Marie-Cécile Soulier, Nejma Goutas, Christian Normand, Alexandra Legrand). 2014.

 

"Blanchard et Castanet." In M. Grimpret (ed.) Les Sanctuaires du Monde. Paris: Robert Laffont. pp. 217-219. (with R. Bourrillon). 2014.

 

"The manufacture of Aurignacian split-based points: an experimental challenge." Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 2723-2745 (with Elise Tartar). 2013.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2013.02.009


"Context and dating of newly discovered Aurignacian rock art from abri Castanet (Dordogne, France)." Paléo. English on-line version. (with Romain Mensan, Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Catherine Cretin, Philippe Gardère, Laurent Chiotti, Matthew Sisk, Amy Clark, Thomas Higham,  Elise Tartar). 2012.            

"Une nouvelle découverte d’art pariétal aurignacien à l’abri Castanet (France) : contexte et datation." Paléo. 23: 171-188. (with Romain Mensan, Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Catherine Cretin, Philippe Gardère, Laurent Chiotti, Matthew Sisk, Amy Clark, Thomas Higham,  Elise Tartar). 2012.            

"Context and dating of Aurignacian vulvar representations from Abri Castanet, France." PNAS. 1089: 8450-8455 plus supplementary data) (with Romain Mensan, Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Catherine Cretin, Thomas Higham, Amy Clark, Matthew Sisk, Elise Tartar, Philippe Gardère, Paul Goldberg, Jacques Pelegrin, Hélène Valladas, Nadine Tisnérat-Laborde, Jacques de Sanoit, Dominique Chambellan, Laurent Chiotti). 2012. 

       
"Un pedazo de la Prehistoria cántabra en Nueva York: Las Colecciones de la Cueva de El Castillo (Puente Viesgo, Cantabria) en el American Museum of Natural History (Nueva York, EEUU) (A little fragment of Cantabrian Prehistory in New York: The Collections of El Castillo Cave (Puente Viesgo, Cantabria) at the American Museum of Natural History (New York, USA))." Muniß 61: 5-16. (with Tejero, J.M., Avezuela, B, Ranlett,, Quam, R., Tattersall, I., and Bernaldo de Quirós, F.). 2010.    

"Les parures de l’Aurignacien ancien et archaïque : perspectives technologiques et régionales des fouilles récentes." In V. Mistrot ed. De Néandertal à l’homme moderne : l’Aquitaine préhistorique, vingt ans de découvertes. Bordeaux : Éditions Confluences, pp. 93-103. 2010.  

  
"Systems of Personal Ornamentation in the Early Upper Palaeolithic: Methodological Challenges and New Observations." In, Mellars, Paul, Boyle, Katie, Bar-Yosef, Ofer and Stringer, Chris (eds.) Rethinking the Human Revolution: New Behavioural and Biological Perspectives on the Origin and Dispersal of Modern Humans. Cambridge, UK, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 287-302. (McDonald Institute Monographs). 2007. 

           
"From Puente Viesgo to Central Park West : Hugo Obermaier, Nels Nelson and the American Museum of Natural History’s collections from Cantabrian Spain." in Maillo, J. and Baquedano eds., Miscelánea en Homenaje a Victoria Cabrera, Vol. I. Madrid : Zona Arqueológica 7, pp. 58-77. 2007. 

"Systèmes de parures aurignaciennes : défis méthodologiques et nouvelles observations." Les Chemins de l’Aurignacien en Europe. ed. H. Floss and N. Rouquerol. Aurignac : Musée-Forum, pp. 251-260. 2007.    

"Préhistoires parallèles: Henri Delporte, Edouard Piette et les grottes de Brassempouy." In Arts et Cultures de la Préhistoire: Hommages à Henri Delporte. Éditions du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, Paris, pp. 185-196. (with Bon, F., Potin, Y., Henry-Gambier, D., Causse, F., Gardère, Ph., Kervinio, P., Letourneux, C., Mensan). 2007.  

  
Prehistoric Art: The Symbolic Journey of Humankind. New York: Harry Abrams. 2003.

"Nouvelles données sur la séquence aurignacienne de la grotte d’Isturitz (communes d’Isturitz et de Saint-Martin-d’Arberoue ; Pyrénées-Atlantiques)." in Société préhistorique française, Congrès du Centenaire : Un siècle de construction du discours scientifique en Préhistoire, Vol. 3, pp. 277-293. (with Normand, C., de Beaune, S. A., Costamagno, S., Diot,  M.-F., Henry-Gambier, D., Goutas, N., Laroulandie, V.. Lenoble, A. O’Farrell, M., Rendu, W., Rios Garaizar, J., Schwab, C., Tarriño Vinagre, A., Texier, J.-P.). 2007.  

  
"The Women of Brassempouy : a century of research and interpretation." Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 13(4) : 251-304. 2006.  

  
"Modifications artificielles des vestiges humains aurignaciens de la grotte des Hyènes et de la galerie Dubalen. Quelle signification." El centenario de la cueva de El Castillo : el ocaso de los Neandertales. V. Cabrera and F. Bernaldo de Quiros (eds.) Madrid: Madrid: Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia, pp. 68-86. (with D. Henry-Gambier). 2006.  

  
"Vestiges humains des niveaux de l’Aurignacien ancien du site de Brassempouy (Landes)." Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris, n.s., 16 : 49-87. (with D. Henry-Gambier and B. Maureille). 2004.  

  
"Résumé de ma vie: une note autobiographique de Denis Peyrony". Bulletin de la Société Historique et Archéologique du Périgord. 125 : 34-49 (with Alain Roussot). 2003.


"Une nouvelle statuette phallo-féminine paléolithique : la Vénus des Milandes" (commune de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle), Dordogne Paléo 14: 187-219. 2003.



"Observations technologiques sur les objets de parure in B. Schmider" (ed.) L'Aurignacien de la grotte de Renne: Les fouilles d'André Leroi-Gourhan à Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne). XXXIVe Supplément à Gallia Préhistoire, 257-266. 2002



"The historic and legal context of foreign acquisitions of Paleolithic artifacts from the Périgord: 1900-1941". In L. Straus (ed.) The Role of American Archaeologists in the Study of the European Upper Paleolithic. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, pp. 71-83. 2002 "Personal ornaments from the grotte du Renne at Arcy-sur-Cure". Athena Rev. 2(4): 41-46 (special issue on the Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition). 2001.


"Integrating Social and Operational Complexity: The Materal Construction of Social Identity at Sungir." L’Os : Festschrift for Henriette Camps-Fabrer. A. Averbouh, P. Cattelain and M. Jullien (eds.). Aix-en-Provence : Université de Marseille,  pp.120-137, 1999.

    
"Structure, signification and culture: some different logics of representation and their archaeological implications." Diogenes 45:97-113, 1998.

     
"Imagerie féminine du Paléolithique. L'apport des nouvelles statuettes de Grimaldi." Gallia Préhistoire, 40:95-132. (with M. Bisson), 1998.  

          
"L'Imagerie feminine du paléolithique: Étude des figurines de Grimaldi." Culture 16:5-64. 1996.

"Substantial Acts: From Materials to Meaning in Upper Paleolithic Representation." In Beyond Art: Upper Paleolithic Symbolism, ed. D. Stratmann, M. Conkey, and O. Soffer. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences. 1996.



"Beyond Art: Toward an Understanding of the Origins of Material Representation in Europe."Annual Review of Anthropology 21. 537-64. 1992.


Current News/Projects


Updated February 2017

I have spent the past 23 years directing excavation, analysis and archival research on the Aurignacian sites of Abri Castanet, Abri Blanchard, La Souquette, Abri Cellier... and now Sous-le-Roc, all situated in the classic zone of the Vézère Valley in SW France. This long-term research commitment has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Partner University Fund and several other agencies. Our approach has been "paleoethnographic," that is to say the excavation of large Aurignacian living surfaces and the meticulous recovery and dating of some of the oldest remains of symbolic behavior in Europe.  

Our work from 1994 to 2012 at Abri Castanet resulted in the discovery of a large portion of the collapsed shelter ceiling bearing engraved and painted imagery, sitting directly on a well preserved archaeological layer containing complex fireplace structures that were the focal point for human activities at the site.


In 2011-2012, excavations at Abri Blanchard, probably the richest Aurignacian site ever to be excavated, yielded intact in situ deposits containing one of the most stunning Aurignacian engravings ever discovered, dating to 38 000 years ago.

 

In 2014, my team and I returned to the Abri Cellier rock shelter, excavaed long ago by an American team in 1927. Their work resulted in the discovery of 15 engraved or otherwise modified limestone blocks from the basal Aurignacian level. We have now dated this layer to ca. 38,000 years ago and, remarkably, we have added 16 more engraved or otherwise modified blocks attributed to the same level.

 

In light of our discoveries at Castanet, Blanchard and Cellier, I have launched a new study of all of the known Aurignacian engraved blocks from SW France in collaboration with my Toulouse colleague Raphaëlle Bourrillon.  So far we have increased the known sample of engraved or otherwise modified limestone blocks from the Vézère Aurignacian by 40%.

 

In 2015, we published a special issue of the journal Paleoethnology/Paléoethnologie, with 17 articles on the Aurignacian emanating from a major international symposium held at New York University in 2013. This volume, entitled Aurignacian Genius: Art, Technology and Society of the First Modern Humans in Europe. Each of the published articles is presented in English and in French, making the research results available to a broad international audience.

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(Intact Aurignacian deposits at Abri Blanchard, France © R. White)





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(38,000 year-old engraved aurochs with aligned punctuations discovered at Abri Blanchard in 2012 (Photo Ph. Jugie, Musée National de Préhistoire))


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(Excavations at Abri Cellier in 2014 (Photo © Marc Azéma (with permission)).


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(38,000 year-old pierced block (pierre à anneau) with engraved outline of mammoth from Abri Cellier © R. Bourrillon)


Finally, a long-term project on the early twentieth-century history of French archaeology continues.  I have had the good fortune to discover several entirely unknown archives related to the “Hauser Affair.”  Otto Hauser was a very ambitious German-Swiss archaeologist who was forced to flee France at the outset of World War I under a cloud of accusations of espionage and artifact selling. Far from being of mere local interest, the “affaire Hauser” took place against a backdrop of European history, politics, and administrative entanglements.  For example, Hauser was allied with members of the anti-clerical movement at a time when considerable power in archaeology was held by Catholic lay priests. Contrary to received wisdom, Hauser is revealed by archival sources and photographs to have been a remarkable excavator, well ahead of his time. A first book on this subject, L’Affaire de l’abri du Poisson : Patrie et préhistoire  (Périgueux: Fanlac), appeared in late 2006 and I am currently pursuing work on a second book on this complex and controversial subject.


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(Otto Hauser in 1911)

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