The European Association of Archaeologists awards the 2019 Student Award to Annabell Zander of the University of York for her paper Lost in transition: tracing cultural traditionsat the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in northwestern Europe.

This paper reconsiders the question of cultural change during the Palaeolithic-Mesolithic transition in northwestern Europe. The climatic Pleistocene-Holocene transition has traditionally been used by archaeologists to divide the Stone Age in this region into two separate periods and cultural traditions: the Palaeolithic during the Ice Age, and the Mesolithic following the establishment of a warmer climate. However, recent research is presenting a more complex picture of the transition, characterised by a variety of different technological traditions which overlap in time. In order to better define the relations between these traditions, Zander’s paper presents a diachronic, comparative study of transitional lithic assemblages, combining analysis of lithic technology and typology with chronological, zooarchaeological and environmental datasets. In particular, new data from two transitional assemblages in western Germany indicatea continuity of Final Palaeolithic technology into the early Holocene in this region; in contrast, for example, to evidence of a hiatus between Palaeolithic and Mesolithic cultural traditions in the Vale of Pickering in northern England. Zander consequently reformulates the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in northwestern Europe in terms of complex, regionally variable developments across a mosaic landscape.

This paper represents a very good piece of research, which defines a European-scale question and marshals a large and diverse dataset to answer it. It is well structured, the data are presented clearly, and the illustrations enrich the information presented in the text.

We congratulate Annabell Zander and look forward to the presentation and publication of her paper.

Professor Robin Skeates

Chair of the European Association of Archaeologists’ Student Award Committee