Archaeology of the invisible

Tue 10 Dec 2019, 18:30 - 19:45

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

Event ended

Albert Reckitt Archaeological Lecture

Humans have a deep and complex relationship with microbes, but until recently their history has remained largely inaccessible to us. Advances in genomic and proteomic technologies are opening up dramatic new opportunities in the field of archaeology, allowing us to investigate the invisible microbial communities that have long inhabited our human bodies and our food systems - both in sickness and in health. Beyond disease, microbes profoundly shape human health and behaviour through their activity in the microbiome and their diverse roles in food and cuisine. From epidemic disease to alcoholic beverages, microbes are the invisible and often overlooked figures that have profoundly shaped human culture and influenced the course of human history. This lecture discusses how emerging research on ancient microbes is impacting how we investigate the human past and how we understand human and microbial cultures today.

Speaker: Dr Christina WarinnerAssistant Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University; Group Leader of Microbiome Sciences, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History; University Professor of Biological Sciences, Friedrich Schiller University

Christina Warinner earned her PhD in Anthropology at Harvard University and completed her postdoctoral training in evolutionary medicine and microbiome sciences at the University of Zürich and the University of Oklahoma. She is now an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University and a Professor of Microbiome Sciences in the Department of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Chair: Professor Norman Hammond FBA, Senior Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge; Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, Boston University

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