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In this session, as archaeologists, we will give you our unique perspective on our environments, today and in the past. We will explore how ‘wild’ foxes skirted on the edges of early villages and urban settlements, visit debates on the domestication of cereals and talk about how the close association between our ancestors and wildfires may have led to one of the most important technological advancements of humans.
The wily fox and its long history with us
Dr Ardern Hulme-Beaman (Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University)
Foxes are a familiar sight in our back gardens, but just how long have they been doing this? What distinguishes them from wild foxes and are they all that different? We’ll delve into the evidence, past and present, to explore our relationship with these handsome creatures. Hear about on-going research in the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University on these critters.
How did we start farming?
The beginning of agriculture has been a topic that has fascinated the public and inspired research for several decades. However, despite the wealth of research into the topic- including genomic, ecological and archaeological- we are still left puzzled as to the how, why and when domestication of cereal crops happened. In this talk, I will take you through a tour of the earliest cultivated wheats- and discuss if people were really intending to select cultivars from the wild? And how on earth did we come to rely on a narrow group of plants as our staples?
Human evolution’s burning question
Dr Sally Hoare (Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Liverpool)
Fire is one of the most important technological advancements of the Homo genus due to the many benefits that its use and control affords in terms of human adaptation e.g. light, heat, cooking, defence against predators, modification of material culture and environments. Despite these benefits little is currently known about the circumstances by which fire use arose and became important as a major human adaptation. In this talk we will discuss how the close association of humans and natural fires 3 million years ago may have provided a stimulus for the initial use of fire by humans.