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Department of Archaeology



I was born and bred in London. As an undergraduate at Oxford I studied History and received an education in archaeology from Andrew Sherratt. I took an MA in Aegean and Anatolian Prehistory at Bristol, and first came to Cambridge in 1987 to start a PhD with John Cherry. I returned briefly to Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow in 1991, and from 1993 spent twenty years at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, starting as Lecturer in Aegean Archaeology and ending as Professor of Mediterranean Archaeology. In 2014 I returned to Cambridge to take up my current position. In 2015 I was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. I have held visiting fellowships at All Souls, Oxford, and at institutions in the US. My books have won the Runciman Prize, James R. Wiseman Prize, Wolfson History Prize and Premio Nonino. I am married with two young children.


I see archaeology as a form of deep history, as the best way of understanding the global experience of humankind over time and why we are where we are today. My interests are therefore broad, comparative and not period-specific. My first grounding was in the Aegean, where I have been centrally involved in a project on the island of Kythera for the last twenty years. The Aegean, not least as an in-between place in spatial, analytical and interpretative terms, taught me the value of theory, material culture study, landscape archaeology, archaeological science, comparison and connectivity. From there my interests led outwards to island archaeology world-wide and to the overall early history of the Mediterranean, itself a space that brings together Europe, Africa and Asia. My most recent projects explore the long-term dynamics of Mediterranean Africa, and the archaeology of politics and urban life through the lens of fieldwork on Iron Age to Roman Kythera. I have a long-term interest in trans-Eurasian cultural processes and in the scope for an archaeology of oceanic connectivity.

Key Publications

Key publications: 

Broodbank, C. and G. Lucarini 2019. ‘Mediterranean Africa, 9600-1000 BC: an interpretive synthesis of knowns and unknowns’ Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 32, 2.

Broodbank, C. 2018. ‘Does island archaeology matter?’, in A. Knodell and T. Leppard (eds.) Regional Approaches to Social Complexity; Studies in Honour of John F. Cherry, 188-206. Sheffield: Equinox.

Broodbank, C. 2013. The Making of the Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Threshold of the Classical World. London: Thames and Hudson.

Broodbank, C. 2010. ‘“Ships a-sail from over the rim of the sea”: voyaging, sailing and the making of Mediterranean societies c. 3500-500 BC’, in A. Anderson, J.H. Barrett and K. Boyle (eds.) The Global Origins of Seafaring (McDonald Institute Monographs), 249-64. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Broodbank, C. and E. Kiriatzi 2007. ‘The first “Minoans” of Kythera re-visited: technology, demography and landscape in the pre-palatial Aegean’, American Journal of Archaeology 111: 241-74.

Broodbank, C. 2007. ‘The pottery’, in C. Renfrew, C. Doumas, L. Marangou and G. Gavalas (eds.), Keros, Dhaskalio Kavos: The Investigations of 1987-88 (McDonald Institute Monographs), 115-237. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Broodbank, C. 2006. ‘The origins and early development of Mediterranean maritime activity’, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 19: 199-230.

Broodbank, C. 2004. ‘Minoanisation’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 50: 46-91.

Broodbank, C. 2000. An Island Archaeology of the Early Cyclades.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Broodbank, C. 1989. ‘The longboat and society in the Cyclades in the Keros-Syros culture’, American Journal of Archaeology 93: 319-37.

Teaching and Supervisions


I currently teach mainly on the paper A1 — World Archaeology

Research supervision: 

Since 1994 I have been lead or secondary supervisor for some 45 PhD students, across a range of subjects, approaches and regions of the world. Almost all those students completed successfully, and many are in post today. I am currently particularly interested in supervising topics within the deep history and archaeology of the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and globally of islands and oceans, but am equally open to other compelling suggestions.

Recently completed Cambridge PhD students:

• Roeland Decorte

• Michael Loy

Current research students:

• Emily Wright

• Dylan Gaffney

• Rafael Laoutari

• Polina Kapsali

• Elisa Scholz

Other Professional Activities

I have a long association (since 1983) with the British School at Athens, through which I co-direct (with Dr Evangelia Kiriatzi) the Kythera Island Project. I am a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Society of Antiquaries, as well as a Corresponding Member of the Archaeological Institute of America. I currently also advise the publishing house Thames & Hudson.

Job Titles

Disney Professor of Archaeology, Director, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Archaeological Theory
Cultural Evolution

Contact Details

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Department of Archaeology
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
cb122 [at]
01223 (3)39340


Person keywords: 
Deep History
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Material Culture
Rethinking Complexity
Geographical areas: 
Egypt and Sudan
Mesopotamia and the Near East
Oceania and the Pacific
Periods of interest: 
Classical - Roman
Copper/Bronze Age
Iron Age
Other Historical
Other Late Prehistory
Other Prehistory