HMC Student wins Gibbs Prizes

We offer our warmest congratulations to Drake Slaikeu-Lawhead on a double first in Archaeology and Anthropology, and on being awarded two more Gibbs prizes by the University: for the highest overall mark in Finals and for the best dissertation, which argued against evidence of symbolic behaviour in early humans. Drake argued that ‘symbolic’ objects such as engravings, cave paintings, and personal ornaments in Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens contexts are not necessarily evidence of symbolic behaviour but instead can be explained as a curiosity for certain objects grounded in innate aesthetic preferences and dopaminergic drives.

Drake also won a Gibbs prize in his first year for Mods, which means that he has won three Gibbs Prizes in all, while at Oxford. This is a remarkable achievement – and it can’t be repeated because it was during Drake’s time as an undergraduate that the Gibbs prize went from being awarded for Mods to becoming a prize for Finals results.

The Gibbs Prize is one of the University’s most prestigious undergraduate prizes. It was founded in 2009 with a benefaction from Mr Charles Day Dowling Gibbs.


Photo: Edmund Blok