Robert L. Kelly

Archaeologist Robert L. Kelly will visit MSU Tuesday to speak on discoveries from his recent book titled “The Fifth Beginning: What Six Million Years of Human History Can Tell Us about Our Future.”

On Tuesday, a noted archaeologist will speak at Mississippi State University.

Robert L. Kelly will discuss how the study of cultural past can predict the future of humanity at 4 p.m. in McComas Hall.

The talk will focus on discoveries from Kelly’s book “The Fifth Beginning: What Six Million Years of Human History Can Tell Us About Our Future.” The book won the 2018 Felicia A. Horton Book Award from the Archaeological Institute of America. Kelly’s Career as an archaeologist began in 1973, when he was involved in an excavation of the Gatecliff Rockshelter in Nevada, where indigenous people camped over a 7,000-year period.

He has excavated sites across the country and in Chile.

Currently, he is involved in excavations surveying ice and snow for artifacts to find connections to past climate changes at Glacier National Park in Montana. He is currently a professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming.

His lecture is presented as part of the MSU Institute for the Humanities Distinguished Lecture Series, and is co-sponsored by the MSU Cobb Institute of Archaeology. The lecture is free and open to the public.

D. Shane Miller, an archaeologist and senior research associate at the Cobb Institute, said Kelly was a “very rare example” of someone who could discuss archaeological topics in an engaging way for a broader audience.

“I’m excited to hear Dr. Kelly discuss the big picture of humanity from the perspective of an archaeologist, and what that might tell us about where we’re going in the future,” Miller said. 

Kelly has authored more than 100 archaeological articles, books and reviews, and is a past president of the Society for American Archaeology and past secretary of the Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association.

He has been a distinguished lecturer at University of California, Los Angeles, Washington State University, University of Colorado, and the University of Tennessee, as well as the University of Leiden (Netherlands) and the Universities of La Plata and Cordoba (Argentina).

He has served on both the National Science Foundation and Wenner-Gren proposal review panels.

“Dr. Kelly’s talk should interest those who are curious about the past but also the future of humanity,” said Institute for the Humanities Director and MSU Department of History assistant professor Julia Osman.

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