Angels or Demons? An archaeologist's view on what it means to be human

Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture


Our popular image of the distant past is one where brutish human ancestors, club in hand, were prone to violence at the slightest provocation. Have we suppressed our violent natures through modern civilisation or is there another story about our ancestors? In this talk I'll look back to the earliest archaeological evidence to consider to what extent our earliest ancestors were 'angels' or 'demons'. We'll ask what evidence for care and compassion in the distant past means about being human, and why this matters when modern political crises can make us despair about the nature of humanity.
Period17 May 2017
Held atPint of Science, United Kingdom


  • compassion
  • evolution
  • evolution of emotions
  • Archaeology