Institute of Archaeology


David Wengrow to give the McDonald Institute Annual Lecture for 2023

15 November 2023

David Wengrow (UCL Institute of Archaeology) has been invited to give the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Annual Lecture for 2023.

Prof David Wengrow, UCL Institute of Archaeology (Image credit: Tom Jamieson)

The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge hosts a keynote Annual Lecture delivered by eminent, international scholars on a wide range of archaeological research which crosses continents, periods and approaches in its exploration of the diversity of the human past. 

David Wengrow has been invited to give the 35th Annual Lecture on 22 November 2023 entitled 'What might an archaeology of freedom look like?'


In The Dawn of Everything, David Graeber and I describe three basic forms of human freedom: to move away, to disobey, and to transform the social order. Far from being a special achievement of Western civilization, we argue, these freedoms were available to a great many societies across the span of human history, extending back into our species’ prehistoric past. Today, these same freedoms have been largely erased from the lives of most people, such that it is difficult for us now to even imagine what it might mean to live in a world based on such principles. My lecture will consider the challenge of recovering and visualising these forms of freedom in the archaeological record, as an antidote to teleological understandings of social evolution.

Pre-booking is essential via the McDonald Institute event webpage 

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (2021), which was named a Sunday Times, Observer and BBC History Book of the Year, has been translated into French, German, and Italian, and is due to appear in over 30 languages worldwide.  

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Image: Prof David Wengrow, UCL Institute of Archaeology (Image credit: Tom Jamieson)