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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.

This Cluster focuses on how the past is negotiated in the contemporary world, and the role of material culture of past conflicts in memory and post-conflict reconstruction. Researchers in this cluster exploit new forms of information dissemination such as YouTube and Facebook.
Human Behaviour and Evolution
This cluster engages in innovative work that combines archaeology, anthropology, art, biological evolution, cognitive science, genetics, linguistics, neuroscience and music, which combined with parallel work in archaeology, genetics, and bioanthropology at the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies has made Cambridge a notable world centre.
Human Landscapes
This cluster focuses on understanding the relationships between short- and long-term human and landscape processes through which cultural places are constructed and transformed.
Human Palaeoecology
This cluster is at the forefront of developing research agendas and methodologies to investigate human engagement with plants and animals.
Material Culture and the Body
Driven by The Leverhulme Trust funded "Changing Beliefs of the Human Body" project and the new Material Culture Laboratory, this cluster brings together colleagues working on materialisation, e.g. households in the European Bronze Age and pre-Columbian Caribbean, and variable conceptualisation of the body by different societies.
Urban Society and the State
This cluster focuses on later prehistoric and historic period evidence for the development of complexity and the built environment in areas ranging from the Ancient Near East to the UK and Scandinavia.