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Research Clusters

The research carried out in the Department of Archaeology and at the McDonald Institute primarily falls within a series of broad, distinct and overlapping research clusters that foster links across periods, regions, methods, and theoretical approaches. This strengthens the cohesion of Cambridge's large archaeological research community and fosters its richness and diversity. There are seven clusters, each characterized by innovative theoretical and methodological studies and syntheses, humanities-based and science-based archaeology, active field projects, significant research grants, and conferences.

The main community of archaeologists in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology works within six major research areas:



The boundaries between the six clusters are deliberately permeable and many of us contribute to more than one of them.  Their most attractive features are that they deliberately bring together archaeologists working on different periods of the past with very different methods, making for some dynamic and exciting collaborations in which many graduate students participate.  These complementarities and collaborations are promoted especially by a dense matrix of around 25 seminar, project, and laboratory groups meeting weekly or fortnightly in term and involving staff, post-doctoral research fellows, visiting scholars, doctoral and masters students, with undergraduates developing research interests in a particular field also welcome. The Institute hosts about 200 such meetings each year. Our research is also greatly enriched by the many scholars from all parts of the world who come to pursue their research for a term or a year – over 120 were hosted by the Institute between 2008 and 2013, for example.