About the book

Prehistoric human life is a common reference point in contemporary culture, inspiring our attempts to become happier, healthier, or better people. Exploited by capitalism, overwhelmed by technology, and living in the shadow of environmental catastrophe, we call on the prehistoric to escape the present and to model alternative ways of living our lives.

From everyday practices like lighting fires and walking in the woods to our engagements with genetic technologies and Neanderthal DNA, from megaliths and museum mannequins to TV shows and best-selling nonfiction, prehistory is alive in the twenty-first century.

Our popular flights back in time provide a revealing insight into present-day anxieties, obsessions, and concerns. This book explores how ideas about race are tightly woven into the prehistoric imagination, caught up in powerful origin stories about who we are, where we came from, and what we are like.

Back to the Stone Age shows that the human past is not set in stone: by opening up the prehistoric to critical contestation, racial justice becomes central to questions about the existence and persistence of Homo sapiens in the contemporary world.

Buy the book

Back to the Stone Age is published by McGill Queens University Press

The paperback retails at £29.99/$39.95. Support your local UK independent bookshop by ordering it here, or buy for around £26 from Blackwells or Wordery. 


I introduce some of the book's themes in this talk on 'Prehistory for antifascists' for Stone Club at The Social.

Back to the Stone Age features on the New Books in Critical Theory podcast where I talk with Dave O'Brien about cultural studies and the distant human past.

What do social scientists need to know about prehistory? I make some suggestions in this piece for the BSA. 

I also take part in episodes 3 and 4 of Zakia Sewell's BBC Radio 4 series My Albion.

Further details

See this page for some short chapter summaries and a preview of the first few pages.

See this page for reviews from Vron Ware, Subhadra Das and Mike Pitts. 

At the Institute of Contemporary Arts for the launch event of Epoch Review #2 with Bones Tan Jones and Hannah Catherine Jones, 31 October 2023.