Dr Rob Dinnis
Dr Rob Dinnis is an expert on the Palaeolithic, and particularly the archaeology of the last Ice Age.
Rob has led several projects across Europe focused on early Homo sapiens, and has directed excavations at a number of late Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens cave sites. He has published widely on human dispersals, Palaeolithic material culture and the Ice Age environments in which people lived. Rob is unerringly fascinated by our prehistoric past and feels passionately that it should be made approachable for all. This is evident in his book Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story, which, thanks to its accessibility for a non-specialist audience, has become a bestseller. Rob also leads a collaborative project called Early Modern Human Europe, which you can find out more about here.
What first sparked your passion for archaeology?
As a kid I always preferred dinosaurs over spaceships, so that was probably the start of it. I'm also very interested in people. We're strange creatures - (much stranger than dinosaurs) - so to understand prehistoric people seemed like a tantalising challenge.
What does archaeology mean to you?
Archaeology is my passion, it's something I put my heart and soul into. Trying to understand how we lived and what changes shaped our future is simply a fascinating pursuit. But of course one of the most beautiful things is that no matter how much we find out, there will always be so many things we don't know...
What is the most interesting experience you have had leading an Andante tour?
I was genuinely (and very pleasantly) surprised by the level of enthusiasm for Ice Age art and archaeology. For me the most interesting experience was joining in with group discussions trying to figure out *why* these mysterious hunters painted what they painted.
What is your favourite archaeological site?
I'm going to be awkward here and answer a slightly different question. My favourite *place* for its archaeology is Les Eyzies in Dordogne. The area has so many incredible Ice Age sites it is simply impossible to choose one. It also feels a little like a second home, given that I spent many months studying collections and excavating there as a student.
How many tours have you led for Andante?
I led my first tour last year, and it was thoroughly enjoyable!
Have you written any books or featured in any TV programs?
I had the great opportunity to write a book to accompany a major exhibition at the Natural History Museum (Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story), and a couple of my excavations have featured on Digging for Britain (Kents Cavern, Ffynnon Beuno Cave).