Francesco d’Errico is a Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Director of Exceptional Class at the University of Bordeaux, France, and Professor at the Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (CASB), University of Bergen, Norway. His academic interests focus on the evolution of human cognition, the emergence of symbolic cultural practices in Africa and Eurasia, and the application of innovative analytical techniques to the study of cultural heritage. He has conducted archaeological and ethnoarchaeological research in Europe, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Ukraine and China. His work has contributed to challenge the long-accepted model of a symbolic revolution corresponding to the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe 40,000 years ago by demonstrating that ornaments, engravings, pigments and elaborate bone tools were already in use in Africa at least 80,000 years ago, thereby calling into question the scenarios traditionally accepted for the origin of modern behaviour.
Recipient in 2014 of the Silver Medal of the CNRS and the Premio Frassetto for Anthropology of the Italian Academy of Science, he was between 2011 and 2015 the co-project leader of a large five year grant funded by the European Research Council (ERC) to investigate the origin of cultural modernity in Africa and Europe. He has been awarded in 2021 with three other colleagues a large ERC Synergy Grant to investigate the origin of typically human numerical cognition. He was between 2020 and 2023 co-leader of the University of Bordeaux funded large scale project Human Past, devoted to the identification of tipping points in biological and cultural evolution.
(Photo credit: Dr. Lucinda Backwell, University of the Witwatersrand)