David Wengrow proposes new ways to think about the history of human social development — and the rise of inequality.

Why you should listen

Who are we, how did we get here and how might we live together most effectively? David Wengrow trained in archaeology and anthropology at the University of Oxford, and he believes that these two fields might just hold new ways to think about the ways society and culture have developed. Now a professor of archaeology at University College London, he has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Africa and the Middle East, and he makes the case that archaeological research is the only reliable way to reconstruct most of our species' history. "It has the power to challenge myths and overthrow conventional wisdom about what it means to be human," he says. 

Together with his co-author, the late anthropologist David Graeber, Wengrow wrote the bestselling book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Drawing on the latest discoveries from their respective fields, the book questions long-held assumptions and outlines a new vision of humanity's past.

David Wengrow’s TED talk

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April 13, 2022

The future of cities is inextricably tied to the future of humanity. They’re sites of innovation, culture, community building — and, at the same time, home to some of the world’s most intractable problems, like homelessness and pollution. In Session 9 of TED2022, six speakers explored an intentionally provocative whiplash of ideas tied to city […]

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