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Ancestors

A prehistory of Britain in seven burials

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

An extraordinary exploration of the ancestry of Britain through seven burial sites. By using new advances in genetics and taking us through important archaeological discoveries, Professor Alice Roberts helps us better understand life today.


‘This is a terrific, timely and transporting book - taking us heart, body and mind beyond history, to the fascinating truth of the prehistoric past and the present’ Bettany Hughes

We often think of Britain springing from nowhere with the arrival of the Romans. But in Ancestors, anthropologist, broadcaster and academic Professor Alice Roberts explores what we can learn about the very earliest Britons, from burial sites and by using new technology to analyse ancient DNA.

Told through seven fascinating burial sites, this groundbreaking prehistory of Britain teaches us more about ourselves and our history: how people came and went and how we came to be on this island. It explores forgotten journeys and memories of migrations long ago, written into genes and preserved in the ground for thousands of years.

This is a book about belonging: about walking in ancient places, in the footsteps of the ancestors. It explores our interconnected global ancestry, and the human experience that binds us all together. It’s about reaching back in time, to find ourselves, and our place in the world.

Professor Alice Roberts is an academic, author and broadcaster, specialising in human anatomy, physiology, evolution, archaeology and history. In 2001, Alice made her television debut on Channel 4’s Time Team, and went on to write and present The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us and Ice Age Giants on BBC2. She is also the presenter of the popular TV series Digging for Britain. Alice has been a Professor of Public Engagement with Science at the University of Birmingham since 2012.
 

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (July 1, 2021)
  • Length: 448 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471188015

'This is a book everyone should read. Roberts is the new Da Vinci, able to shift between science and humanities, the objective and subjective, the global and the individual. There is such a scope of knowledge between the covers of this book that you feel like a better and more knowledgeable person having read it. A mind-altering, life-altering book.'

– Dr Janina Ramirez

‘While the rest of us read words, Alice reads bones - and what stories they have to tell. In her hands they seem slick with life, bearing messages from ancient worlds. I was captivated.' 

– Neil Oliver

'Another classic from Alice Roberts. She writes as a scholar with the intensity and flair of a novelist.'

– Dan Snow

‘Roberts is a prolific TV presenter, and Ancestors skilfully deploys the arts of screen storytelling: narrative pace, a sense of mysteries being unfolded. […] [It] is above all a tribute to the archaeological profession.’

– Dan Hitchens, The Times