Smithsonian Journeys Experts

April Nowell

photo of April Nowell

Dr. April Nowell is a Paleolithic archaeologist, Professor of Anthropology and a Distinguished Lansdowne Fellow at the University of Victoria, Canada where she has taught classes on cave art for more than 20 years.  She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.  She directs an international team of researchers in the study of Lower and Middle Paleolithic sites in Jordan and collaborates with colleagues on the study of cave art in Australia and France and on ostrich eggshell beads in South Africa.  In 2016, she and her colleagues working in Jordan published the world’s oldest identifiable blood on stone tools, demonstrating that 300,000 years ago early humans ate a range of animals from duck to rhinoceros. 

She is known for her publications on Paleolithic art, cognitive archaeology, neandertals, the archaeology of children and the relationship between science, pop culture, and the media. Her work has been covered by more than 100 outlets including The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, CNN website, The Economist, and NPR, and her blood residue work was named one of Time Magazine’s top 100 discoveries.

She is the author of the book Growing Up in the Ice Age, winner of the 2023 European Archaeological Association Book Prize.  Watch her in episode 5 of the NOVA series Ancient Earth and in the forthcoming CBC documentary Little Sapiens

What Our Travelers Say

A most competent lecturer and a fun person to meet.

- Smithsonan Journeys Traveler, Prehistoric Caves of France and Spain

Upcoming Tours

Prehistoric Caves of France and Spain

10 days | Starting at: $7,290
Multiple Departures
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