skip to content

Department of Archaeology



I am currently a Gerald Averay Wainwright postdoctoral fellow (2023-26), at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford, but based at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge. 

Prior to this, I was a MSCA EUTOPIA-SIF postdoctoral fellow at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain (2021-23)  and Fyssen Foundation fellow at CEPAM, CNRS, Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France (2020-21). I completed my PhD (2020) and MPhil (2015) in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge, UK. I majored in Anthropology and Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology during my undergraduate studies at Bryn Mawr College, USA (2009-2013). I am from New Delhi, India.


My research interests focus on investigating archaeological vessel use, foodways and exchange networks. I am specifically interested in the subsistence strategies and interaction networks used by populations of Bronze Age South Asia (Indus Civilisation; present-day Pakistan and NW India) and SE Arabia (present-day UAE and Oman). 

My current project will focus on larger questions related to exchange networks between Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain and South Asia during the Early and Middle Bronze Age (2500-1600 B.C). Focusing on sites in SE Arabia, I will use spatial and social network analysis to investigate the organisation of networks of exchange of different types of material goods and how they changed over time.

I am also interested in heritage and museum practices and the representation of historical narratives and contemporary communities within museums with a decolonial focus. 

-    Foodways, human-environment interactions through the use of biomolecular methods
-    Interaction and exchange networks using social network analysis
-    Heritage and museum practices with a decolonial focus

Key Publications

Key publications: 

I am currently working on a Cambridge Elements minigraph on Foodways in Ancient South Asia (Series on Archaeology of Food edited by Katheryn C. Twiss and Alexandra Livarda).

Suryanarayan, A., Méry, S., Mazuy, A., and Regert, M. 2022. Foodstuffs and organic products in ancient SE Arabia: preliminary results of ceramic lipid residue analysis of vessels from Hili 8 and Hili North Tomb A, al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Proceedings of the Seminar of Arabian Studies 54: 379-401. 

García-Granero, J. J., Suryanarayan, A.*, Cubas, M., Craig, O.E., Cárdenas, M., Ajithprasad, P., and Madella, M. 2022. Integrating lipid and starch Grain analyses from pottery vessels to explore prehistoric foodways in northern Gujarat, India. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10. (*co-first authors) 

Suryanarayan, A., Cubas, M., Craig, O.E., Heron, C. P., Shinde, V. S., Singh, R. N., O’Connell, T. C. and Petrie, C. A. 2021. Lipid residues in pottery from the Indus Civilisation in northwest India. Journal of Archaeological Science, 125, 105291. 

Bates, J., Lancelotti, C., Suryanarayan, A., Madella, M. 2021. The challenge of the unique and unprecedented, comment on Agnihorti et al. (2021). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 39, 103174. 

Singh, R.N., Petrie, C.A., Alam, A., Bates, J., Ceccarelli, A., Chakraborty, S., Chakradhari, S., Chowdhury, A., Dixit, Y., French, C., Giesche, A., Green, A., Green, L.M., Jones, P.J., Lightfoot, E., Pandey, A. K., Pawar, V., Ranjan, A., Redhouse, D. I., Singh, D. P., Suryanarayan, A., Ustunkaya, M. C. & Walker, J. 2018. Living in the hinterland: Survey and Excavations at Lohari Ragho: 2015-2017. Purattatva 48: 130-141. 

Suryanarayan, A. 2017. Review of Artefacts of History: Archaeology, Historiography and Indian Pasts by Sudhesha Guha. Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd. 2015.
Singh, R.N., Petrie, C.A., Redhouse, D.I., Pandey, A.K., Singh, D.P., Ranjan, A., Alam, A., Suryanarayan, A., Chakradhari, S., and Chowdhary, A. 2016. Small-scale excavations at Lohari Ragho II, Hissar District, Haryana: a preliminary report, Haryana. Bharati 40: 44-52.

Other articles and blogposts:
Aronovsky, I. and Suryanarayan, A. 2022. Bringing an archaeologist into the classroom. Primary History 91: 30-33. 

Suryanarayan, A., Mishra, A., Parikh, D, 2021. Untold Histories Museum Tours. In Communicating Archaeology: case studies in the use of, and engagement with, archaeological collections, Boyle, G & Butterworth, J. (Eds.) Society of Museum Archaeology. 

Suryanarayan, A. 2019. Food, Animals and the Indus Civilisation. Blogpost for The Spirited Horse blog. Link :

Suryanarayan, A. 2017. New ways of looking for food in old pots. Blogpost for TwoRains blog. Link:

Teaching and Supervisions


I have delivered lectures to high school, undergraduate and graduate students and heritage professionals on archaeology and archaeological science since 2018 at institutions around the world (UK, India, Sweden, France, South Korea) 

Research supervision: 

I previously supervised Archaeological Theory and Practice (2016-2018).
I have supported PhD dissertations on organic residue analysis. I was the opponent for a PhD defense at Gothenburg University, Sweden.

Other Professional Activities

  • Member of International Association for the Study of Arabia (IASA)
    Member of International Society for Biomolecular Archaeology (ISBA

Job Titles

Gerald Averay Wainwright Postdoctoral Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Museum Studies
Biomolecular Archaeology
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Computational and Quantitative Archaeology
Cultural Heritage

Contact Details

as2429 [a]
McDonald Institute
Downing Street


Person keywords: 
Indus Civilisation
SE Arabia
Lipid residues
Exchange networks
Heritage Studies
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Material Culture
Rethinking Complexity
Geographical areas: 
Mesopotamia and the Near East
South Asia
Periods of interest: 
Copper/Bronze Age
Other Prehistory