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Prehistoric Minds: Darwinism, Culture and Human Origins during the 19th Century

December 11, 2009
No specified host institution

United Kingdom

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A one-day conference organised by the Royal Society Centre for the History of Science in conjunction with the University of Durham.

The publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 is often treated as a watershed event within the history of the human sciences. Yet, despite using the word 'origin' in the title, the book did not clearly spell out how Darwin's evolutionary views applied to the understanding of human origins. This effectively left nascent paleoarchaeologists and paleoanthropoligists to their own devices, and they continued to use previously existing evolutionary frameworks and cultural assumptions to interpret the artefacts and anatomy of early humans. This conference investigates the contemporary reception and relevance of attempts to suggest plausible attributes of early human 'minds' which could be used to interpret various types of prehistoric evidence provided by the emerging fields of archaeology, anthropology and enthnology.


Dr Matthew Eddy, Durham University, and Dr Felicity Henderson, Royal Society


The Kohn Centre, Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG, London, UK


Dr Felicity Henderson

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