Institute of Archaeology


Prof David Wengrow

Professor of Comparative Archaeology

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
1st Dec 2002

Research summary

Social inequality; culture and cognition; prehistoric art and aesthetics; state formation and urbanisation; early writing systems; intellectual history of archaeology and anthropology.

- Co-Director: Shahrizor Research Project, in collaboration with the Sulaimaniyah Board of Antiquities

- Principal Investigator: Radical Death and Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East (AHRC-funded)

Teaching summary

David co-coordinates the BA in Archaeology & Anthropology, and the MA in Archaeology & Heritage of Egypt and the Middle East. He teaches on a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate modules.


University of Oxford
Other higher degree, Master of Studies | 1998
University of Oxford
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1996


David Wengrow is Professor of Comparative Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology.

David trained in archaeology and anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he obtained his doctorate (DPhil) and was Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church. Since joining UCL, David has also held visiting professorships at New York University, the University of Auckland, and the universities of Freiburg and Cologne. He has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Africa and the Middle East, and is the author of books including The Archaeology of Early Egypt: Social Transformations in North-East Africa, c. 10,000 - 2650 BC (Cambridge UP); What Makes Civilization? The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West (Oxford UP); The Origins of the Monsters: Image & Cognition in the First Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Princeton UP), as well as academic articles on topics such as the origins of writing, ancient art, Neolithic societies, and the emergence of the first cities and states. David has contributed op-eds on climate change and inequality to The Guardian, and The New York Times, and was ranked #10 in ArtReview’s (2021) ‘Most influential people in the contemporary art world.’ He is co-author of the New York Times bestseller The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Penguin), a finalist for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing.