**Due to new travel restrictions, this event has been postponed until further notice.**
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Over the last twenty years, our conception of human evolution has changed dramatically. We now know that Homo sapiens shared the world with many other species of human for most of our existence as a species, living alongside them, interacting with them, even interbreeding with them. More and more, archaeologists and palaeontologists have found themselves looking to fiction, from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children, to help understand what life must have been like for prehistoric humans. Authors and archaeologists Tom Higham (The World Before Us) and Rebecca Wragg Sykes (Kindred) and literature and science expert John Holmes will be discussing the role of the imagination in the science of prehistory and how we tell this radical new story. Includes a chance to buy signed copies of the panellists books.
About the Speakers:
Tom Higham is a Professor of Scientific Archaeology at the University of Vienna. He was, until August 2021, the Director of the radiocarbon accelerator unit at the University of Oxford, where he worked since 2001. He specialises in radiocarbon dating using accelerator mass spectrometry, particularly the dating of archaeological sites back to around 50,000 years ago. His research work for has focused on the dating of the replacement of Neanderthals and the dispersal of Homo sapiens across Eurasia between 50-30,000 BP. He is one of the team working at the important Russian site of Denisova Cave, where a new species of humans - The Denisovans - was found in 2011. His recent book "The World Before Us: How Science is Revealing a New Story of Our Human Origins", tells this story and others relating to late human evolution.
>John Holmes is Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Birmingham. He is an honorary associate of Oxford University Museum of Natural History and has worked extensively with the museum on projects including Visions of Nature, Ruskin 200 and the exhibition Truth to Nature. His most recent books are The Pre-Raphaelites and Science (Yale University Press, 2018) and Temple of Science: The Pre-Raphaelites and Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Bodleian Library, 2020).
>Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes is an archaeologist and author, and an Honorary Fellow in the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. Her first book Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art (Bloomsbury Sigma) is a critically-acclaimed bestseller, and won Current Archaeology's Book Of The Year for 2020.