Meet Professor Alice Roberts host of Curse of the Ancients
Professor Alice Roberts is a biological anthropologist, author, broadcaster, and the host of Curse of the Ancients on Sky HISTORY. During the five-episode series, which is on Mondays at 9pm, Alice will reveal how scientists are unearthing the evidence of cataclysmic past events, their disastrous consequences, and the modern explanation for their occurrences.
Education and early professional career
After originally studying medicine and anatomy at Cardiff University, Alice began her career as a junior doctor in South Wales. However, she swapped clinical medicine for a lecturer position at Bristol University in 1999, specialising in anatomy. She spent seven years working part-time on her PhD in paleopathology, the study of ancient diseases and injuries in humans and other organisms.
Alice received her degree in 2008, after completing a thesis titled ‘Rotator cuff disease in humans and apes: a palaeopathological and evolutionary perspective on shoulder pathology’.
In 2012, the University of Birmingham appointed her as its first professor of public engagement in science. Through this role, Alice was tasked with inspiring people about science while also promoting the universities academics and various research.
Alice holds several board and advisory positions at various organisations across the UK. These include The Conversation UK, Milner Centre for Evolution, and Twycross Zoo amongst others.
She started her three-year term as president of Humanists UK at the beginning of 2019. The charity campaigns for a neutral outlook on religion and ideology of leading a good life without adhering to set religious or supernatural beliefs. She was named ‘Humanist of the Year’ in 2015 by the same organisation.
Alice’s television debut came in 2001 as a resident bone expert on Time Team. Since then, her presenting skills have branched far and wide across different channels and topics. She unsurprisingly specialises in anthropomorphic history and the evolution of life in the UK. Her most notable projects include Coast, Digging for Britain, and Britain’s Most Historic Towns.
She’s presented two Horizon documentaries for the BBC. Are We Still Evolving? speculated where human evolution might end and Is Your Brain Male or Female? investigated whether or not men and women are wired differently on the neurological level.
As one of the leading voices in biological anthropology in the UK, Alice has published several books on the subject. Notable titles include Don’t Die Young, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, and, most recently, Ancestors: A History of Britain in Seven Burials.
She also published The Celts: Search for a Civilisation in 2015 which was tied to a BBC documentary she presented at the time titled The Celts: Blood, Iron, and Sacrifice. The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize in the same year. The award celebrated the representation of health and medicine in literature.
Alice married her husband David Stevens in 2009. The pair met in 1994 while both studying at Cardiff University and have two children together. She has previously said that being a mother has made her less selfish and more focused in terms of only working on projects that she finds particularly interesting.