Darwin’s Apprentice: The Collections of John Lubbock, 1st Lord Avebury

September’s Object Stories are dedicated to our culture and science colleagues working across Europe, and internationally.

In 1868, Sir John Lubbock was the President of the Organising Committee for the third International Congress of Anthropology and Archaeology, held in London. He was joined on the Committee by fellow scientists that included Thomas Huxley, Joseph Dalton Hooker, John Evans, Pitt Rivers and Charles Lyell. The first of these annual meetings had been held in 1866, chaired by the Swiss geologist, Pierre Jean Edouard Desor.

John Lubbock was a banker, Liberal MP and scientist, who had been inspired to study evolution and its implications for human antiquity by his next door neighbour, Charles Darwin. He wrote articles, published books, gave talks and collected artefacts from across the world.

He travelled widely across Europe, and into North Africa and Anatolia, meeting scientists and visiting the latest archaeological discoveries. His collections include artefacts acquired during these excursions.

The mapping of John Lubbock’s collections on to The Earth Museum is an ongoing project, and we are sharing in this story a work in progress map of his international travels collecting. As well as information about the artefacts themselves, the story includes links to short sense of place films which enable anyone to take a sensory journey in Lubbock’s footsteps today. During September, we will publish more stories on his French, Swiss and Danish excursions.

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