How do you tame wildness? With Professor Alice Roberts

Professor Alice Roberts, known to fans for Coast (BBC Two), The Incredible Human Journey (BBC Two) and Horizon (BBC Two) comes to Swindon in November.  How do you tame wildness? For hundreds of thousands of years our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals. They were hunter-gatherers – consummate survival experts, but taking the world as they found it. Then a revolution happened: we started to domesticate wild species. The human population boomed, and civilization took off.

Join Alice Roberts as she delves into archaeology, history and genetics to reveal the amazing stories of the species that became our allies. From dogs, cattle and horses to wheat, potatoes and apples, find out how taming these species has left its mark on them – and us.


Hi Alice, thank you very much for your time. We are really looking forward to the show. What can audiences expect from your show?

The show combines immersive storytelling with surprising revelations about domesticated species – from dogs to horses, wheat to apples. Drawing on the latest archaeological and genetic research, I reveal how wild species first became tamed, how they spread across the world, and how they changed us.

_Please credit university of Birmingham

Photo credit: University of Birmingham 

That sounds great, really intriguing, whats the most intriguing species you have you researched?

It’s us – humans – Homo sapiens. I’ve spent my career delving into the biology and evolutionary history of humanity, and it’s an endlessly fascinating subject. But all these other species are profoundly interesting too, and they’re woven into our own story. We’re all interconnected and interdependent.


Where is the most interesting location you have ever visited?

That’s tricky, as I visited so many places in the course of writing and filming. But I think that Gobekli Tepe, in southern Turkey – an 11-thousand-year-old temple site built by hunter-gatherers – is the most astonishing and thought-provoking archaeological site I’ve ever been to. I write about in the book, because I think it offers us insights into why our ancestors turned from hunting and gathering to farming.

Alice Roberts 2015 - please credit Lorian Reed-Drake

Photo Credit: Lorian Reed-Draken 

Whats the most interesting thing you have discovered about us as humans?

We’re hybrids! Ten years ago, most experts thought this was not the case. Now, with ancient DNA extracted from Ice Age skeletons, we know that our ancestors interbred with all sorts of other, archaic human species, from Neanderthals to the enigmatic Denisovans. I’m 2.7% Neanderthal!

What project/s have you got coming up?

I’ve just finished two wonderful and very different archaeology series. One is Digging for Britain, which will air on BBC4 towards the end of the year. We’re on our sixth series now, and this year’s brand new archaeological discoveries are as stunning and surprising as ever.

The other project that is almost finished now is Britain’s Most Historic Town – a new series for Channel 4, looking at time slices in different towns, from Norman Winchester to Victorian Belfast. It’s a great mix of archaeology and history, uncovering secrets from the past in British towns, and again, drawing on the very latest research and discoveries. It should hit our small screens in spring 2018.


Tamed with Professor Alice Roberts will be at the Wyvern Theatre on Mon 20 November.

For more information and to buy tickets please visit:

Follow Professor Alice Roberts on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

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