UCL News


Comparative archaeology expert recognised with prestigious honour and lecture series

21 June 2023

Congratulations to Professor David Wengrow (UCL Archaeology), who has been named the 2023 Albertus Magnus Professor at the University of Cologne, one of the university’s highest academic honours, for his work on comparative archaeology around the world.

Professor David Wengrow

The University of Cologne noted that “Professor Wengrow is one of the leading exponents of ‘World Archaeology’ and investigates the history of humanity and the understanding of human culture in innovative ways.”

In addition to his academic work, which has earned him numerous prizes and honours, the University also noted that Professor Wengrow has made efforts to communicate his scholarship to the broader public, notably as co-author of the best-selling book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity.

Recently, Professor Wengrow also co-curated an exhibition for the Venice Architecture Biennale about the remains of a 6,000-year-old city in Ukraine. Titled The Nebelivka Hypothesis, the multimedia exhibition combined 3D modelling, photogrammetry, remote sensing and simulations to challenge notions of the city as an incubator for extractive economies and social hierarchy.

To mark his receipt of the Albertus Magnus Professor chair, Professor Wengrow will deliver two public lectures and host a seminar about his research. His first lecture is titled ‘Kairos: Human Prehistory in the Eye of the Storm’ while his second lecture will be ‘On the Origins of “The Origins of Inequality” (Analysis of a Contemporary Myth)’.

The Albertus Magnus professorship was founded in 2005 and named in honour of the medieval polymath Albertus Magnus, who led the general studies of the Dominican Order in Cologne in the mid-13th century and is considered one of the spiritual fathers of the university founded in 1388. Previous recipients of the professorship include renowned scientists and researchers such as Jean-Luc Nancy, Giorgio Agamben, Noam Chomsky, Martha Nussbaum, John Searle, Judith Butler and Eva Illouz.

Professor David Wengrow said: “It is a great honour for my work to be recognised in this way. Joining this prestigious list of academics means a huge amount to me, and I look forward to being able to use this position to further demonstrate the importance of archaeology for the historical and social sciences.”


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Mike Lucibella

  • E: m.lucibella [at] ucl.ac.uk