The Department has an active research culture, and a strong series of departmental research seminars. We regularly host national and international conferences. Further details of departmental events are listed on our events pages
The Department research clusters include:
One of the drivers of the recent revolution in Archaeology is the development of methodologies that allow facets of human lifeways, previously archaeologically invisible, to be revealed. This includes the development of scientific methodologies to reconstruct mobility, detailed subsistence strategies, familial relationships and new ways of understanding ancient technologies. These new datasets are changing the way we understand people in the past by revealing within lifetime activity, and enhance the archaeological interpretation to the extent that we can now view studies of the past as an extension of studies of the present. Thus, human behaviour and social organization can now be identified with a precision that allows a comparison between modern and ancient populations, thereby connecting Archaeology with Anthropology
[leader: Dr Kate Robson Brown]
Evolutionary anthropologists are only just beginning to understand the relationships between human culture, the physical environment and human diversity, and thereby develop models for gene-culture co-evolution. Successful studies in this field require an interdisciplinary approach covering variation in time and space. The Department’s strengths in these areas represent complementary approaches: the investigation of human behaviours on the one hand, and the physical human body on the other. Novel research has revealed how ecological/social change, e.g. in residential mobility, population growth or wealth inheritance influence both individual decision-making, and reproductive success in contemporary rural communities. A physical approach is also taken and we have shown how the microstructure of bone may reveal patterns of growth, development, health and loading in contemporary and archaeological humans and fossil hominins that can inform reconstructions of habitat selection, maturational schedules, and locomotion.[Leaders: Dr N.J. Saunders, Dr T. Hodos]
Materiality deals with people’s engagement with the material world, whether ‘constructed’ (as material culture) or ‘given’ (as natural kinds – fauna, flora, physical landscape). Individual and group identities are linked inextricably with materiality as they find physical and symbolic expression in the diversity of engagements that characterise social life. One critical area is the link between material practices and cognitive development – how engaging with the material world shapes people’s thoughts, perceptions, and actions, concerning themselves, others, the objects they make, and the beliefs they hold. Materiality’s conceptual links to identity, landscape, and memory are central to our understanding of what it means to be human, and therefore of primary concern to Archaeology and Anthropology.