Rebecca Wragg Sykes, KINDRED

We talk with Rebecca Wragg Sykes about her bestselling book, Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art. Her book sheds new light on the complex culture of our Neanderthal ancestors.

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Rebecca Wragg Sykes

Many have long been fascinated by Neanderthals, even before we discovered that many people contain Neanderthal DNA. Who was this hominem who seems so far from us, yet somehow near—as if the DNA many of us carry of this vanished species is signaling to our unconscious that we are kin?

In her bestselling book Kindred—now out in paperback—Neanderthal expert Rebecca Wragg Sykes shoves aside the clichÁ© of the shivering ragged figure in an icy wasteland, and reveals the Neanderthal you don’t know, our ancestor who lived across vast and diverse tracts of Eurasia and survived through hundreds of thousands of years of massive climate change.

Her book sheds new light on where they lived, what they ate, and the increasingly complex Neanderthal culture that researchers have discovered.

Rebecca Wragg Sykes is an archaeologist and Honorary Fellow in the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. Kindred won the 2021 PEN Hessell-Tiltman prize for history and was awarded Book of the Year by Current Archaeology, among other honors. She is the creator of the blog The Rocks Remain.