60 | Lynne Kelly on Memory Palaces, Ancient and Modern
Memory takes different forms. Memories can be encoded in the strength of neural connections in our brains, but there’s a sense in which photographs and written records are memories as well. What did people do before such forms of memory even existed? Lynne Kelly is a science writer and researcher who specializes in forms of memory in the ancient world, as well as a competitive memory expert in her own right. She has theorized that ancient structures such as Stonehenge might have served as memory palaces, encoding social knowledge over extended periods of time. We talk about how to improve your own memory, the origin of religion, and how prehistoric cultures preserved their know-how.
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Lynne Kelly received her Ph.D. in English from La Trobe University. Originally trained as a computer scientist, she has worked as an educator before transitioning into science writing and memory research. She is an Honorary Research Associate at La Trobe University. She is the author of a number of books, including The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal. Her work on memory methods and ancient societies was published as an academic book, Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory, and the Transmission of Culture, as well as in trade form as The Memory Code: The Traditional Aboriginal Memory Technique That Unlocks the Secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and Ancient Monuments the World Over. Her most recent book is Memory Craft: Improve Your Memory Using the Most Powerful Methods From Around the World.