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Thu, 06 Jul


Pickering Book Tree

Jim Leary

Join us for an evening with Archaeologist and Author Dr Jim Leary to learn about the history of human migration and how people interacted with ancient landscapes.

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Jim Leary
Jim Leary

Time & Location

06 Jul 2023, 19:30 – 21:15

Pickering Book Tree, 43a Market Pl, Pickering YO18 7AL, UK

About the event

Join us for a fascinating evening with archaeologist Jim Leary to celebrate the launch of Footmarks: A Journey Into our Restless Past.

Footmarks has already been highly reviewed by Alice Roberts, Ray Mears, Julia Blackburn, Amy-Jane Beer and Rob Cowen, among many others. It is an eye-opening exploration of human migration, mobility and interaction with landscapes. The book will be published on 6th July by Icon Books.

Jim will talk about his work, the research that has gone into his book, will answer questions and sign copies. The event will start at 7.30pm with doors open from 7pm and complementary drinks available on arrival. Tickets are free of charge but early booking is advised to guarantee a seat. 

Dr Jim Leary is an archaeologist at the University of York and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He has directed major excavations across Britain, including Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, the largest Neolithic monument in Europe. A passionate walker, much of his research is centred on the way people moved around in the past. You can follow him on Twitter to learn more. 

'Lucid, poetic and fascinating – a beautiful journey through time and across diverse landscapes. From ancient hominin footprints to hollow ways, from cattle drovers to pilgrims, Leary explores how journeys make us human'— Alice Roberts, anatomist, author and broadcaster

'Archaeologists have a superpower: time travel. Their digs show us cold hearths and colder graves, but as Jim Leary shows in this gripping read, the past was hot-blooded and alive with the movement of people who loved and laughed as we do. Yet history and archaeology are written as though humans and our creations are fixed, frozen entities: screenshots of past lives, not videos. Our ideas of our origins, history and ourselves today must all change, and those new ideas are not only more exciting, but tell us more about both our past and our future. They are also true' — John Harrison, award winning travel writer

On paths, roads, seas, in the air, and in space – there has never been so much human movement. In contrast we think of the past as static, 'frozen in time'. But archaeologists have in fact always found evidence for humanity's irrepressible restlessness. Now, latest developments in science and archaeology are transforming this evidence and overturning how we understand the past movement of humankind.

In this book, archaeologist Jim Leary traces the past 3.5 million years to reveal how people have always been moving, how travel has historically been enforced (or prohibited) by people with power, and how our forebears showed incredible bravery and ingenuity to journey across continents and oceans.

With Leary to show the way, you'll follow the footsteps of early hunter-gatherers preserved in mud, and tread ancient trackways hollowed by feet over time. Passing drovers, wayfarers and pilgrims, you'll see who got to move, and how people moved. And you'll go on long-distance journeys and migrations to see how movement has shaped our world.

'Footmarks is a joy. A dance with our predecessors, through settings that feel by turns intimate and familiar, then questing and bold. By animating the ancient past Leary reminds us that far from being distant observers of the ancient past, we are a product of it, in both spirit and substance' — Amy-Jane Beer, naturalist and author of The Flow


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