Welcome to our website, summarising the work of the Evolutionary Determinants of Health and Urban Wellbeing group. If you’re familiar with the ground-breaking research taking place at UCL, you’ll be well aware of the Social Determinants of Health programme run by Professor Michael Marmot’s team in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. This looks at the social inequalities of health and how they should and could be addressed. Our approach to urban wellbeing in the 21st century looks at many of the same challenges, but takes a human evolutionary perspective. Indeed, as Professor Marmot himself observed "although our material and social environments have changed beyond recognition over the last 10,000 years… out underlying biology is essentially the same as it was in ancient Babylon."
We agree with this sentiment, but as archaeologists, would add many millennia to his chronology. The Palaeolithic period began long before farming or urbanization were developed, when ancient hunter-gatherer regimes successfully sustained the entire human race. We look at how our health and urban lifestyles are still influenced today by the deep genetic legacy of our Palaeolithic past.
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Our links section, like much of this new site, is expanding daily. It lists departments, research centres and organisations that work on directly or indirectly related themes: please tell us of others you know about or work with.
The pages listed in the contents summarise aspects of modern urban living from a human evolutionary perspective. They look at various themes, including Health Behaviours, Human Locomotion, Urban Greenspace, Town Planning and the importance of team sports.
Marmot, MG & Wilkinson RG (eds) 2006 Social Determinants of Health, p13