David Wengrow

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David Wengrow
David Wengrow in 2020.jpg
OccupationArchaeologist, author, professor
EducationUniversity of Oxford (BA, MSt, DPhil)

David Wengrow (born 25 July 1972) is a British archaeologist and Professor of Comparative Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.[1] He co-authored the international bestseller The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity which was a finalist for the Orwell Prize in 2022.[2] Wengrow has contributed essays on topics such as social inequality and climate change to The Guardian[3] and The New York Times.[4] In 2021 he was ranked No. 10 in ArtReview’s Power 100 list of the most influential people in art.[5]


Wengrow enrolled at the University of Oxford in 1993, obtaining a BA in archaeology and anthropology.[6] He went on to qualify for an MSt in world archaeology in 1998 and then studied for a D.Phil. under the supervision of Roger Moorey completed in 2001.[7] Andrew Sherratt was a notable influence during Wengrow's time at Oxford.[8]

Academic career[edit]

Between 2001 and 2004 Wengrow was Henri Frankfort Fellow at the Warburg Institute and Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford. He was appointed to a lectureship at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in 2004, and in 2011 he was made Professor of Comparative Archaeology (a post formerly held by Peter Ucko).[9] Wengrow has conducted archaeological excavations in Africa and the Middle East, most recently with the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraqi Kurdistan.[10] He is the author of three books and numerous academic articles on topics including the origins of writing, ancient art, Neolithic societies, and the emergence of the first states in Egypt and Mesopotamia.[11] In 2020 Wengrow completed a book on the history of inequality with the anthropologist David Graeber just three weeks before Graeber's death.[12] The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity was published in the autumn of 2021.[13]


Wengrow is a recipient of the Antiquity Prize[14] and has delivered the Rostovtzeff Lectures (New York University),[15] the Jack Goody Lectures (Max Planck Institute)[16] the Biennial Henry Myers Lecture (Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain),[17] the Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology (British Academy),[18] and the Sigmund H. Danziger Jr. Memorial Lecture in the Humanities (University of Chicago).[19] He served as external coordinator of the Mellon Research Initiative at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts[20] and was Distinguished Visitor at the University of Auckland.[21]

Selected publications[edit]


  • The Archaeology of Early Egypt: Social Transformations in North-East Africa, 10,000–2650 BC. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2006.
  • What Makes Civilization?: The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press 2010.
  • The Origins of Monsters: Image and Cognition in the First Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2014.
  • The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (co-authored with David Graeber). New York City: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2021

Short essays[edit]


  1. ^ UCL Homepage
  2. ^ "The Orwell Prizes". 17 May 2022.
  3. ^ Humanity is not trapped in a deadly game with the Earth – there are ways out, The Guardian, Opinion COP26, 31 October 2021
  4. ^ Ancient History Shows How We Can Create a More Equal World, The New York Times, Opinion, Guest Essay, 4 November, 2021
  5. ^ ArtReview Power 100, 2021
  6. ^ UCL Institute of Archaeology, D. Wengrow 'Education and biography'
  7. ^ Obituary Roger Moorey, (1937–2004) The British Academy
  8. ^ J. O'Shea, S. Shennan and D. Wengrow, 'Andrew Sherratt Remembered', Antiquity Sep 2006, Vol.80 (309), pp.762–766
  9. ^ Wengrow, Education and Biography as listed by University College London, 1.1.2020
  10. ^ Field report, "New Excavations in the Shahrizor Plain, Iraqi Kurdistan". Iraq (2016) 78: 253–284
  11. ^ "David Wengrow | University College London - Academia.edu".
  12. ^ Harper, Annie; Read, Mark; Herrine, Luke; Neary, Dyan; Liu, Yvonne Yen; Bookchin, Debbie; Jordan, John; Frémeaux, Isabelle; Ross, Andrew; Wengrow, David; Sahlins, Marshall (5 September 2020). "David Graeber, 1961–2020". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  13. ^ "'Inspirational' Activist Author David Graeber Dies". www.penguin.co.uk. 3 September 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  14. ^ The Antiquity Prize, list of past winners
  15. ^ The Rostovtzeff Lectures, list of past recipients, New York University, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
  16. ^ The Jack Goody Lectures, list of past recipients, Max Planck Institute for Ethnology and Social Anthropology
  17. ^ The Henry Myers Lecture, past recipients, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain
  18. ^ The Radcliffe-Brown Lecture, past recipients British Academy
  19. ^ "Sigmund H. Danziger Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series | Department of Classics".
  20. ^ Mellon Research Initiative, Homepage, New York University, Institute of Fine Arts
  21. ^ Announcement (UCL), 'David Wengrow named as Distinguished Visitor, University of Auckland, 2019

External links to academic articles[edit]