Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes is an archaeologist, writer and creative professional.
Fascinated by the past since childhood– including digging for pot sherds in the family garden–, Rebecca studied archaeology through to PhD level. She was especially drawn to the ancient world of the Palaeolithic. Her doctoral thesis, awarded in 2010, was the first synthesis of evidence for late Neanderthals in Britain, and she has since accrued numerous academic publications on their broader archaeology.
Following a prestigious Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship at Université de Bordeaux on Neanderthal and prehistoric landscapes in the Massif Central mountains, from 2015 she diversified into working outside scientific research.
Her current projects include the August 2020 upcoming publication of her first book Kindred – a deep dive into the 21st century science and understanding of Neanderthals – together with other popular science writing, and creative heritage consultancy.
As one of the four founders of TrowelBlazers, another strand of Rebecca's work since 2013 has been highlighting the role of women past and present in archaeology and the earth sciences. This includes writing and editing many biographies for the popular website, and projects including co-creating the Fossil Hunter Lottie action figure. Most recently she collaborated with artist Leonora Saunders to create the touring portrait exhibition Raising Horizons, culminating at the UK Houses of Parliament 2018 'Women Firsts' event celebrating one hundred years of women's suffrage.
Further developing this interest, Rebecca is active in current movements to advance equality within the archaeological professions, including being part of the Inclusive Archaeology project, and working collectively with organisations including British Women Archaeologists.