Neil Oliver

Neil Oliver

Wisdom of the Ancients: Life Lessons from our Distant Past

Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival Online 2020
Broadcast Date
Sunday 20 September

Neil possesses far too many talents than is decent for one man; archaeologist, historian, gifted speaker and television presenter and a writer, all mixed with a self-deprecating sense of humour. But a philosopher? Who knew?

Neil obviously, because in this superb account, packed with insights triggered by the likes of stone circles, cave paintings, rituals in Southern India, the footprints of some of our earliest ancestors found preserved in Tanzania and much else, he weaves a remarkable narrative.

Distilling all of this archaeology and history into twelve messages that have endured across millennia, he shows how they all apply to how we think about our lives today. This is an intensely personal, witty and often moving book. Peace of mind can be difficult to find in the modern world, especially in these strange and unsettling times, but Neil takes us back through our history to show that amidst the swirl of incessant change, there are some constants worth cleaving to.

He talks to Alistair Moffat.

photo credit: © Bill Osment

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