The British Academy has announced a panel discussion on themes explored in the British Academy Centenary Project, From Lucy to Language: The Archaeology of the Social Brain. This free, public event will take place at the British Academy on 19 November as part of the Being Human Festival.
In 2003 the British Academy awarded its largest ever single grant to From Lucy to Language. This seven year project was a multidisciplinary endeavour, integrating the sciences, social sciences and humanities to consider:
• Who we are as humans, why we are so different from other monkeys and apes and how we came to be that way.
• How we can use primatology, anthropology and psychology to gain insights into human evolution. Until this project, archaeologists’ research explored the anatomical and material culture aspects of human evolution; the social and cognitive aspects had barely been touched.
• How primatology, anthropology and psychology can be used to make predictions, combining these with the archaeological record to search for signatures of key events.
As a result of the ‘From Lucy to Language’ project, around 500 works have been published, including books, journal articles and book chapters. Most recently, two major volumes have been published on the project as a whole: Lucy to Language: The Benchmark Papers and Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind.
On Wednesday 19 November, Professors Robin Dunbar FBA, Clive Gamble FBA and John Gowlett will discuss how their research into the evolution of human cognition and social lives furthered our understanding of the relationship between our minds and the world. Further information about the project is available.