IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Michael Walker

Professor Walker BMVP profile pictureMichael Walker directs the archaeological excavations and annual Internaional summer field school at Pleistocene cave sites in Murcia (SE Spain) with Neanderthal and pre-Neanderthal hominin remains. He was appointed foundation professor of Physical Anthropology at Murcia Universtiy in 1988, after lecturing at Sydney and Edinburgh Universities. He read Medicine, Physiology and Prehistoric Archaeology at Oxford where he was research fellow at The Queen’s College and wrote his doctoral thesis on SE Spanish palaeoanthropolgy and prehistory. Born in 1941, he studied both the Classics and Natural Sciences at Bradford Grammar School where he founded its Archaeological Society. In 2012 he founded the Murcian Association for the Study of Palaeoanthropology and the Quaternary (MUPANTQUAT) which oversees the field school and excavations at the Sima de las Palomas del Cabezo Gordo where 50,000 year-old Neanderthal skeletons were uncovered along with Mousterian stone tools, and Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar which has 800,000 year-old hominin teeth, an Acheulian hand-axe together with Levalloiso-Mousteroid flake tools, and clear evidence of fire. Both sites have abundant faunal remains. The Sima de las Palomas Neanderthals not only roasted meat but also ate plant foodstuffs from which phytoliths became embedded in their dental plaque; the completeness of three Neanderthal skeletons allows accurate determination of their unusually short height. Michael Walker is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and belongs to the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and several other learned societies. He lives at Murcia, and is a widower with three sons and four grandchildren.

For more details regarding Professor Walker's visit, please contact Professor Robson Brown