John Stewart

Dr John Stewart

  • Associate Professor
  • Dorset House D276, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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I am an evolutionary palaeoecologist with broad research interests encompassing the use of faunas in reconstructing Pleistocene and Holocene ecologies (and increasingly from the Neogene), understanding the nature, timing and location of ice age refugia for species, and building and testing molecular biogeographical hypotheses on how species respond to environmental change (in collaboration with ancient DNA practitioners). I am also interested in the relationship between species and subspecies level evolution and extinction during the Quaternary; and more recently the use of Quaternary data in conservation biology.

Journal Articles

  • Stewart, J., Montgomery, H., Thomas, M.G., Diekmann, Y., Knul, M., García-Rodríguez, O. and Sewell, L., 2019. Palaeoecological and genetic evidence for Neanderthal power locomotion as an adaptation to a woodland environment. Quaternary Science Reviews.
  • Pedreschi, D., Cantarello, E., Diaz, A., Golicher, D., Korstjens, A.H., Gillingham, P., Hardouin, E.A., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2019. Challenging the European southern refugium hypothesis: Species-specific structures versus general patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation among small mammals. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 28 (2), 262-274.
  • Garcia-Rodriguez, O. et al., 2018. Cyprus as an ancient hub for house mice and humans. JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, 45 (12), 2619-2630.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Fenberg, P.B., 2018. A climatic context for the out-of-Africa migration. GEOLOGY, 46 (5), E442.
  • Pitt, J., Gillingham, P.K., Maltby, M., Stafford, R. and Stewart, J.R., 2017. Changing cultures, changing environments: A novel means of investigating the effects of introducing non-native species into past ecosystems. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
  • Dalén, L., Lagerholm, V.K., Nylander, J.A.A., Barton, N., Bochenski, Z.M., Tomek, T., Rudling, D., Ericson, P.G.P., Irestedt, M. and Stewart, J.R., 2017. Identifying bird remains using ancient DNA barcoding. Genes, 8 (6).
  • Thomas, J.E., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2017. An ‛aukward’ tale: A genetic approach to discover the whereabouts of the last Great Auks. Genes, 8 (6).
  • Slon, V., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2017. Neandertal and Denisovan DNA from Pleistocene sediments. Science, 356 (6338), 605-608.
  • Lagerholm, V.K., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2017. Range shifts or extinction? Ancient DNA and distribution modelling reveal past and future responses to climate warming in cold-adapted birds. Global Change Biology, 23 (4), 1425-1435.
  • Smith, S., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2017. Nonreceding hare lines: genetic continuity since the Late Pleistocene in European mountain hares (Lepus timidus). BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, 120 (4), 891-908.
  • Welker, F., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2016. Palaeoproteomic evidence identifies archaic hominins associated with the Chatelperronian at the Grotte du Renne. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 113 (40), 11162-11167.
  • Pitt, J., Gillingham, P., Maltby, M. and Stewart, J., 2016. New perspectives on the ecology of early domestic fowl: an interdisciplinary approach. Journal of Archaeological Science.
  • Palkopoulou, E., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2016. Synchronous genetic turnovers across Western Eurasia in Late Pleistocene collared lemmings. Global Change Biology, 22 (5), 1710-1721.
  • Fenberg, P.B., Self, A., Stewart, J.R., Wilson, R.J. and Brooks, S.J., 2016. Exploring the universal ecological responses to climate change in a univoltine butterfly. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85 (3), 739-748.
  • Brace, S., Ruddy, M., Miller, R., Schreve, D.C., Stewart, J.R. and Barnes, I., 2016. The colonization history of British water vole (Arvicola amphibius (Linnaeus, 1758)): Origins and development of the Celtic fringe. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283 (1829).
  • Lokier, S.W., Bateman, M.D., Larkin, N.R., Rye, P. and Stewart, J.R., 2015. Late Quaternary sea-level changes of the Persian Gulf. Quaternary Research (United States), 84 (1), 69-81.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Jacobi, R.M., 2015. The long term response of birds to climate change: New results from a cold stage avifauna in northern England. PLoS ONE, 10 (5).
  • Suggitt, A.J., Stewart, J.R., Gillingham, P.K. et al., 2015. A reply to ‘A meta-database of Holocene sediment cores for England: missing data’ (Tooley 2015). Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.
  • Suggitt, A.J., Stewart, J.R., Gillingham, P.K. et al., 2015. A meta-database of Holocene sediment cores for England. Veget Hist Archaeobot.
  • Lagerholm, V.K., Sandoval-Castellanos, E., Ehrich, D., Abramson, N.I., Nadachowski, A., Kalthoff, D.C., Germonpré, M., Angerbjörn, A., Stewart, J.R. and Dalén, L., 2014. On the origin of the Norwegian lemming. Molecular Ecology.
  • Vincke, D., Miller, R., Stassart, E., Otte, M., Dardenne, P., Collins, M., Wilkinson, K., Stewart, J., Baeten, V. and Fernández Pierna, J.A., 2014. Analysis of collagen preservation in bones recovered in archaeological contexts using NIR hyperspectral Imaging. Talanta, 125, 181-188.
  • Zwyns, N., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2014. The open-air site of Tolbor 16 (Northern Mongolia): Preliminary results and perspectives. Quaternary International.
  • Meiri, M., Lister, A.M., Higham, T.F., Stewart, J.R., Straus, L.G., Obermaier, H., Gonzalez Morales, M.R., Marin-Arroyo, A.B. and Barnes, I., 2013. Late-glacial recolonization and phylogeography of European red deer (Cervus elaphus L.). Molecular Ecology, 22 (18), 4711-4722.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2013. Human Biogeography. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN BIOLOGY, 25 (5), 711-712.
  • Fa, J.E., Vargas, J.M., Stewart, J.R. and Lloveras, L., 2013. Rabbits and hominin survival in Iberia. Journal of Human Evolution, 64 (4), 233-241.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2013. Book review of ‘Human Biogeography.’ By A.H. Harcourt (2012). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. American Journal of Human Biology, 25 (5), 711-712.
  • Fa, J.E., Stewart, J.R., Lloveras, L. and Vargas, J.M., 2013. Rabbits and hominin survival in Iberia. Journal of Human Evolution.
  • Miller, R., Zwyns, N., Otte, M., Stevens, C. and Stewart, J., 2012. The Mesolithic and Neolithic sequence at Trou Al'Wesse (Belgium): Multidisciplinary results. Anthropologie, 116 (2), 99-126.
  • Stewart, J., 2012. Serial population extinctions in a small mammal indicate Late Pleistocene ecosystem instability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 109 (50), 1317-1321.
  • Hofreiter, M., Collins, M. and Stewart, J.R., 2012. Ancient biomolecules in Quaternary palaeoecology. Quaternary Science Reviews, 33, 1-13.
  • Stewart, J., 2012. Serial population extinctions in a small mammal indicate Late Pleistocene ecosystem instability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Stringer, C.B., 2012. Human Evolution Out of Africa: The Role of Refugia and Climate Change. Science, 335, 1317-1321.
  • Miller, R., Otte, M. and Stewart, J.R., 2012. Modave/Modave: nouvelles decouvertes dans la sequence holocene du Trou Al'Wesse, fouilles 2009-2010. Chronique de l'Archeologie Wallone, 19, 128-130.
  • Lister, A.M., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2011. Letter to TREE: Natural history collections as sources of long-term datasets. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 26, 153-154.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2011. A Key to the Identification of Domestic Bird Bones in Europe: preliminary determination. JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE, 38 (3), 753-754.
  • Stewart, J.R. et al., 2011. Biotically constrained palaeoenvironmental conditions of a Mid-Holocene intertidal lagoon in Abu Dhabi: Evidence associated with a whale skeleton at Musaffah, Abu Dhabi, UA. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 3675-3690.
  • Johnson, K.G., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2011. Climate change and biosphere response: unlocking the collections vault. BioScience, 61, 147-153.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2011. Book review: Birds (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 486 pp. ISBN: 978-0-521-75858-1. £29.99 (paperback). Environmental Archaeology, 16, 67-68.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2010. The bird remains from the West Runton Freshwater Bed Norfolk, England. Quaternary International, 228, 72-90.
  • Miller, R., Otte, M. and Stewart, J.R., 2010. Nouvelles découvertes de la séquence holocène du Trou Al’Wesse : Fouilles 2010. Notae Praehistoricae, 30, 35-42.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2010. Book Review of A Key to the Identification of Domestic Bird Bones in Europe: Preliminary Determination, Z. Bochenski, T. Tomek. Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow (2009). PP. 109, £ 45.50. ISBN 978-83-61358-04-6. and A Key to the Identification of Domestic Bird Bones in Europe: Galliformes and Columbiformes, T. Tomek, Z. Bochenski. Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow (2009). PP. 111, £ 45.50. ISBN 978-83-61358-08-4. Journal of Archaeological Science.
  • Stewart, J.R., Lister, A.M., Barnes, I. and Dalen, L., 2010. Refugia revisited: individualistic responses of species in space and time. Proceedings of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 277, 661-671.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2009. The evolutionary consequence of the individualistic response to climate change. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22, 2363-2375.
  • Hofreiter, M. and Stewart, J.R., 2009. Ecological change, range fluctuations and population dynamics during the Pleistocene. Current Biology, 19, R584-R594.
  • Miller, R., Otte, M. and Stewart, J.R., 2009. Le Mesolithique recent du Trou Al'Wesse (Modave, Prov. de Liege) Decouverte de tessons non rubanes ou "Bereikeramik". Notae Praehistoricae, 29, 5-14.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2009. Review of YALDEN, D.W. & ALBARELLA, U. The History of British Birds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-19-921751-9. John R Stewart. Ibis, 151, 605.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Dalén, L., 2008. Is the glacial refugium concept relevant for northern species? A comment on Pruett and Winker 2005. Climatic Change, 86, 19-22.
  • Miller, R., Zwyns, N., Stewart, J.R. and Otte, M., 2008. Modave/Modave: interpretation des datations de la sequence holocene du Trou Al'Wesse. Chronique de l'Archeologie Wallone, 15.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Cooper, A., 2008. Ice Age refugia and Quaternary extinctions: An issue of Quaternary evolutionary palaeoecology. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27, 2443-2448.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2008. The progressive effect of the individualistic response of species to Quaternary climate change: an analysis of British mammalian faunas. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27, 2499-2508.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2007. Neanderthal extinction as part of the faunal change in Europe during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3. Acta zoologica cracoviensia, 50A, 93-124.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2007. The fossil and archaeological record of the Eagle Owl in Britain. British Birds, 100, 481-486.
  • Miller, R., Stewart, J.R. and Otte, M., 2007. Résultats préliminaires de l’étude de la séquence paléolithique au Trou Al’Wesse (comm. de Modave). Notae Praehistoricae, 27, 41-49.
  • Miller, R., Zwyns, N., Stewart, J.R. and Otte, M., 2006. Trou Al’Wesse: Campagne de Fouille 2006. Notae Praehistoricae, 26, 103-108.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2006. Book review: Neanderthals and modern humans. An ecological and evolutionary perspective, C. Finlayson. Publisher Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004 (265 pp.). ISBN: 0 521 82087 1. Journal of Quaternary Science, 21, 206-207.
  • Wenban-Smith, F.F., Allen, P., Bates, M.R., Parfitt, S.A., Preece, R.C., Stewart, J.R., Turner, C. and Whitaker, J.E., 2006. The Clactonian elephant butchery site at Southfleet Road, Ebbsfleet, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science, 21, 471-483.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Beech, M., 2006. The Miocene birds of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) with a discussion of the age of modern species and genera. Historical Biology, 18, 103-113.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2005. The ecology and adaptation of Neanderthals during the non-analogue environment of Oxygen Isotope Stage 3. Quaternary International, 137, 35-46.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2005. The use of modern geographical ranges in the identification of archaeological bird remains. Documenta Archaeobiologiae, 3, 43-54.
  • Miller, R., Zwyns, N., Stewart, J.R., Otte, M. and Noiret, P., 2005. La séquence Holocène du Trou Al’Wesse: géologie, archaéologie et environment. Notae Praehistoricae, 25, 129-144.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2004. Neanderthal–modern human competition? A comparison between the mammals associated with Middle and Upper Palaeolithic industries in Europe during OIS 3. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 14, 178-189.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2004. Wetland birds in the recent fossil record of Britain and northwest Europe. British Birds, 97, 33-43.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2003. Comment on “Buffered Tree Population Changes in a Quaternary Refugium: Evolutionary Implications”. Science, 299, 825a.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2002. Book Review of ‘Late Pleistocene reindeer populations in Middle and Western Europe. An osteometrical study of Rangifer tarandus’ by Jacobo Weinstock. Archaeofauna, 213-214.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2002. Sea Birds from coastal and non-coastal archaeological and “natural” Pleistocene Deposits or not all unexpected deposition is of human origin. Acta zoologica cracoviensia, 45 (Special Issue), 167-178.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Lister, A.M., 2001. Cryptic northern refugia and the origins of modern biota. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 16, 608-613.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2000. Intraspecific Variation in Modern and Quaternary European Lagopus. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, 89, 159-168.
  • Currant, A.C. and Stewart, J.R., 2000. A rare Lutrine fossil from the beach at Cadzand in Holland. Cranium, 17, 78-79.
  • Gardiner, M., Stewart, J.R. and Bell, G., 1998. Anglo-Saxon whale exploitation: some evidence from Dengemarsh, Lydd, Kent. Medieval Archaeology, 42, 96-101.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Carrasquilla, F.H., 1997. The Identifcation of Extant European Bird Remains: a Review of the Literature. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 7, 364-371.


  • Stewart, J., Miller, R. and Otte, M., 2014. Le site prehistorique du Trou Al'Wesse, Modave. Origines, Services de Prehistoire, University de Liege.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2008. Ice Age refugia and Quaternary extinctions: An issue of Quaternary evolutionary palaeoecology.. Elsevier.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2007. The Evolutionary study of some Archaeologically Significant Avian Taxa in the Quaternary of the Western Palaearctic.. Oxford, England: Archaeopress.
  • Stewart, J., Miller, R., Zwyns, N., Otte, M. and Noiret, P., 2005. Le site Prehistorique du Trou Al'Wesse a Modave. Service de Prehistoire, Universite de Liege.
  • Proceedings of the 4th meeting of the ICAZ Bird Working Group, Krakow, Poland, 11-15 September, 2001.. Krakow: Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences.


  • Stewart, J.R. and Parfitt, S.A., 2011. Late Quatermary environmental change at Walou Cave: evidence from a preliminary analysis of the small mammals. In: Draily, C., Pirson, S. and Toussaint, M., eds. La Grotte Walou a Trooz (Belgique). Namur, Belgium: Departement du Patrimoine et l'Institut du Patrimoine Wallon, 38-59.
  • Pirson, S., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2011. Contexte chronostratigraphique et paléoenvironnemental de la séquence de la grotte Walou: synthèse et perspectives. In: Draily, C. and Toussaint, M., eds. La Grotte Walou a Trooz (Belgique). Fouilles de 1996 a 2004. Les Sciences de la Vie et les datations. Namur, Belgium: Departement du Patrimoine et l'Institut du Patrimoine Wallon, 214-233.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2010. Understanding evolutionary processes during past Quaternary climatic cycles: Can it be applied to the future? In: Grant, F., Mergeay, J., Santamaria, L., Young, J. and Watt, A.D., eds. Evolution and Biodiversity: The evolutionary basis of biodiversity and its potential for adaptation to global change. Report of an e. Mallorca, Spain: Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, INBO, IMEDA, CSIC-UIB.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2010. The Bird Bones from H3. In: Carter, R. and Crawford, H., eds. Maritime Interactions in the Arabian Neolithic: Evidence from H3, As-Sabiyah, an Unbaid-Related Site in Kuwait.. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 157-161.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2009. The Past as a source of data for evidence-based conservation: is the past the key to the future? In: Turvey, S.T., ed. Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 249-261.
  • Miller, R., Stewart, J.R., Zwyns, N. and Otte, M., 2009. The Stratified Early to Late Mesolithic Sequence at Trou Al'Wesse (Modave, Belgium). In: Crombé, P., Van Strydonck, M., Sergant, J., Boudin, M. and Bats, M., eds. Chronology and Evolution within the Mesolithic of North-West Europe: Proceedings of an International Meeting, Brussels, May 30th-June 1st 2007. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 277-296.
  • Stewart, J.R. and Parfitt, S.A., 2006. Small Vertebrate Remains from Pupicina Cave Ostaci malih kralježnjaka iz Pupićine peći. In: Miracle, P.T. and Stašo, F., eds. Prehistoric herders of northern Istria : the archaeology of Pupicina Cave. Pula, Croatia: Archeoloski Muzejistre, 447-453.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2005. Miocene geology and fossils of Abu Dhabi. In: Beech, M. and Hellyer, P., eds. Abu Dhabi – 8 million years ago. Late Miocene Fossils from the Western Region.. Abu Dhabi, UAE: Abu Dhabi Archaeological Survey, 14-20.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2004. The Fate of the Neanderthals – a special case or simply part of the broader Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions? In: Dewez, M., Noiret, P. and Teheux, E., eds. The Upper Palaeolithic: Acts of the XIVth UISPP Congress, Liege, Belgium, 2 – 8 September 2001.. Oxford: Archaeopress, 261-273.
  • Keeley, H., Stewart, J.R. et al., 2004. The environmental evidence. In: Clark, P., ed. Dover Bronze Age Boat. Swindon, England: English Heritage, 229-250.
  • Stewart, J.R., van Kolfschoten, M., Markova, A. and Musil, R., 2003. The Mammalian Faunas of Europe during Oxygen Isotope Stage Three. In: van Andel, T.H. and Davies, S.W., eds. Neanderthals and Modern Humans in the European Landscape During the Last Glaciation: Archaeological Results of the Stage 3 Project.. Cambridge, England: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
  • Stewart, J.R., van Kolfschoten, M., Markova, A. and and Musil, R., 2003. Neanderthals as part of the broader Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions? In: van Andel, T.H. and Davies, W., eds. Neanderthals and Modern Humans in the European Landscape during the Last Glaciation: Archaeological Results of the Stage 3 Project.. Cambridge: McDonald Institute Monograph Series, 221-232.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2002. The evidence for the timing of speciation of modern continental birds and the taxonomic ambiguity of the Quaternary fossil record. In: Zhou, Z. and Zhang, F., eds. Proceedings of the 5th Symposium of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution. Beijing, China: Science Press, 261-282.
  • Stewart, J.R., 2001. Wetland birds in the archaeological and recent palaeontological record of Britain and Europe. In: Coles, B., Oliver, A. and Bull, D.E., eds. Heritage Management of Wetlands. Brussels: Europae Archaeologiae Consilium, 141-148.
  • Davies, S.W.G., Stewart, J.R. and van Andel, T.H., 2000. Neanderthal landscapes – a promise. In: Stringer, C.B., Barton, R.N.E. and Finlayson, J.C., eds. Neanderthals on the edge : papers from a conference marking the 150th anniversary of the Forbes' Quarry discovery, Gibraltar. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 1-8.
  • Stewart, J.R., 1999. The avifauna. In: Ashton, N.M., Lewis, S.G. and Parfitt, S., eds. Excavations at the Lower Palaeolithic site at East Farm, Barnham, Suffolk, 1989-94. London: British Museum Press.
  • Harrison, C.J.O. and Stewart, J.R., 1999. The birds remains. In: Roberts, M.B. and Parfitt, S.A., eds. The Middle Pleistocene Hominid Site at A.R.C. Eartham Quarry. Boxgrove, West Sussex, U.K.. London: English Heritage.
  • Stewart, J.R., 1998. Small vertebrates remains. In: Tingle, M., ed. The Prehistory of Beer Head: Field survey and excavation at an isolated flint source on the South Devon coast.. Oxford: Archaeopress, 23-26.
  • Stewart, J.R., 1996. Quaternary birds from Torbryan Valley. In: Charman, D.J., Newnham, R.M. and Croot, D.G., eds. Devon and East Cornwall: Field Guide. London: Quaternary Research Association.



PhD Students

  • Monika Knul. The project examines the dynamics of geographic ranges of both mammals that went extinct and those that survived during one of the most dramatic climatic changes in recent history: the Last Glacial Maximum up to the beginning of the Holocene. Furthermore it also explores changes in bio-geography in response to changes in climate between 60.000 and 8000 years ago. This comparative approach is likely to provide novel insights into the ways in which species respond to climate change and human presence e.g. the cause of mega faunal and Neanderthal extinction.
  • Monika Knul. Faunal and Human Biogeography and Terminal Ice Age Climate Change
  • Oxala García-Rodríguez, 2019. Comparative phylogeography as an integrative approach to understand human and other mammal distributions in Europe.
  • Jacqueline Pitt, 2017. The ecology of chickens: An examination of the introduction of the domestic chicken across Europe after the Bronze Age
  • Peter Allen. Investigating and visualising the effects of environment on prey detection: A Key variable in human evolution.


  • The historic peat record: A guide to restoration of blanket bog (Natural England, 01 Oct 2014). Completed


  • PhD in Zoology (UCL, London University, 1999)
  • MSc in Quaternary Environmental Change (Guildhall University, 1992)
  • BSc (Hons) in Geology (London University, 1988)


  • Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project, Associate,
  • Association for Environmental Archaeology, Member,
  • Quaternary Research Association, Member,
  • Society for Avian Palaeontology and Evolution, Member,
The data on this page was last updated at 04:12 on April 25, 2019.