Dr Yann-Pierre Montelle of New Zealand, a veteran archaeologist and author of Paleoperformance: The Emergence of Theatricality as Social Practice, delivered three lectures at the institute. Through the lecture series, Dr Montelle shared fascinating insights on some recent findings on human evolution. The talk series was co-organised by IITGN’s Centre for Cognitive Science and Archaeological Sciences Centre.

A rock art researcher and speleoarchaeologist, Dr Montelle has recently shifted his investigative interests towards India’s fascinating prehistory. His first talk, titled Human Evolution: Of mosaic, hybrids and braids, challenged some of the conventional theories on human evolution. He discussed recent discoveries and their impact on currently-held theories on the subject. In his second talk – Homo Faber: ubiquitous needs and cognition – Dr Montelle tried to establish an index of some of the fundamental gestures and their resulting by-products, and contextualised these in terms of cognition. His last talk explored the world-famous Chauvet- Pont D’Arc Cave (the so-called “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”) and the possible motivations for the authors of those spectacular paintings. The talk was titled Homo aestheticus: But is it Art?