Institute of Archaeology


The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

25 March 2021

David Wengrow has been invited to give a Keynote Lecture as part of the Dumbarton Oaks Symposium 'Faces of Rulership in the Maya Region'.

David Wengrow, Professor of Comparative Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology

The three-day Symposium on Faces of Rulership in the Maya Region, organised by Dumbarton Oaks and taking place online from 25-27 March 2021, aims to better understand concepts of rulership and governance in Ancient Maya culture. It will explore the different faces of rulership in the Maya region with an eye to the monumental and enduring fashion in which rulers inscribe their legacies on landscape and how structures of authority were reconstituted, with innovations, through time.

David Wengrow's invited Keynote Lecture is entitled Towards a New Framework for Comparing Ancient and Modern Forms of Social Domination (or, ‘Why the State Has No Origin’) and will explore a new approach to understanding systems of extreme inequality and their development in human societies, based on ideas developed in his forthcoming book with the late anthropologist David Graeber, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity.

David is also the author of the volumes What Makes Civilization? and The Origins of Monsters and was working with David Graeber on a whole series of projects completely re-imagining the question of ‘the origins of social inequality’. He is currently collaborating on the AHRC-funded project, Radical death and early state formation in the Ancient Near East, with Brenna Hassett.

Further details