Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Art and Death

Saturday, 28th November 2020, 15:00 - 16:00

Date & Time

Saturday, 28th November 2020

15:00 - 16:00


Online Event

Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Art and Death

About this event


Kindred is the definitive guide to the Neanderthals. Since their discovery more than 160 years ago, Neanderthals have metamorphosed from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins.

In Kindred, Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside clichés of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland. She reveals them to be curious, clever connoisseurs of their world, technologically inventive and ecologically adaptable. They ranged across vast tracts of tundra and steppe, but also stalked in dappled forests and waded in the Mediterranean Sea. Above all, they were successful survivors for more than 300,000 years, during times of massive climatic upheaval.

At a time when our species has never faced greater threats, we're obsessed with what makes us special. But, much of what defines us was also in Neanderthals, and their DNA is still inside us. Planning, co-operation, altruism, craftsmanship, aesthetic sense, imagination, perhaps even a desire for transcendence beyond mortality.

Kindred does for Neanderthals what Sapiens did for us, revealing a deeper, more nuanced story where humanity itself is our ancient, shared inheritance. It is only by understanding them, that we can truly understand ourselves.

Fascinated by the past since childhood, including digging for pot sherds in the family garden, Rebecca studied archaeology through to PhD level. She was especially drawn to the ancient world of the Palaeolithic. Her doctoral thesis, awarded in 2010, was the first synthesis of evidence for late Neanderthals in Britain, and she has since accrued numerous academic publications on their broader archaeology. Following a prestigious Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship at Université de Bordeaux on Neanderthal and prehistoric landscapes in the Massif Central mountains, from 2015 she diversified into working outside scientific research. As one of the four founders of TrowelBlazers, another strand of Rebecca's work since 2013 has been highlighting the role of women past and present in archaeology and the earth sciences.

Rebecca Wragg Sykes

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