Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Steven MithenLEXINGTON, Ky.—Why do people in all cultures sing or play instruments? And why do humans have a special capacity to make and enjoy music?

Steven Mithen, professor of early prehistory and pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Reading in England, will offer his theories on these questions during a lecture at Transylvania University on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Carrick Theater. The lecture is sponsored by the Bingham-Young Fellowship Program and Transylvania’s Creative Intelligence Lecture Series. It's free and open to the public.

The subject of Mithen’s lecture, “The Music Instinct: The Evolutionary Basis of Musicality,” is drawn from his life-long research into early prehistoric communities and the evolution of human intelligence, language and music. His research includes long-term field projects in western Scotland (Mesolithic) and southern Jordan (early Neolithic). In 2005 he wrote “The Singing Neanderthals,” one of several books he has authored on the creative and cognitive life of early man.

Having originally studied fine art at the Slade School, he completed a B.A. in prehistory and archaeology at Sheffield University, an M.S. in biological computation from York University and a Ph.D. in archaeology from Cambridge University, where he taught prior to moving to the University of Reading in 1992.

For more information about the Bingham lecture, contact music professor Ben Hawkins at bhawkins@transy.edu or 859-233-8259.