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About Rebecca

I'm an archaeologist, author and public scholar. I'm passionate about the human past in all its fascinating, surprising and inspiring guises. 

I've always been driven by a fierce hunger to learn and understand the world, in particular humanity's ancient past, but also to share that knowledge. Following degrees in archaeology and prehistory, and a post-doctoral fellowship in France, I now also work in many aspects beyond academia. 


Curiosity, critical thought and creativity are the foundations of my practice, whether that's scientific research, public and literary communication, or professional consultancy. I hold Honorary positions at the University of Cambridge and University of Liverpool, and my academic interests include human origins – especially the Neanderthals –, ancient technology and cognition, and elements of human experience in the past, in particular women. My expertise is interwoven with my writing and other forms of public engagement, which in turn fuel new research ideas and collaborations. 

My first book, Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art, won the PEN Hessell Tiltman prize for literary history, and my broader work has been recognised with the Royal Anthropological Institute's 2022 Public Anthropology Award, the 2022 President's Award from the Prehistoric Society, and the 2024 Darwin Day Medal from Humanists UK.


Captivated by the past since childhood – including digging for pot sherds in the family garden – Rebecca was trained in archaeology, and especially drawn to prehistory. Her 2010 doctoral thesis was the first synthesis of evidence for late Neanderthals in Britain.

Between 2013-15 she held a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship at PACEA focusing on prehistory in the Massif Central mountains. She has numerous academic publications on various subjects from prehistory to the role of women in archaeology.

After returning to the UK in 2017, Rebecca began to refocus her career trajectory to merge continuing academic collaborations with a long-standing commitment to communication. She has developed a reputation for exceptional public scholarship via popular writing, diverse speaking and broadcast work.


Rebecca's critically acclaimed first book Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art (2020) is published in 20 languages,. It won the 2021 PEN Hessell-Tiltman prize for history and Current Archaeology's Book of the Year and was selected as one of the 2021 New York Times' 100 Notable Books, plus featured in many other listings from the Sunday Times to New Scientist and Bloomberg. Translation accolades include being finalists  n Italy's Premio Galileo awards and Poland's Mądra Książka Roku prize, and longlisted in Germany's Wissenschaftsbuch des Jahres. 

Rebecca's next popular book, Matriarcha: Prehistory Re-imagined, is forthcoming  with Picador (UK) Simon & Schuster (US) and varied foreign editions.