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Department of Archaeology


The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research hosts a keynote Annual Lecture delivered by eminent, international scholars on a wide range of archaeological research which crosses continents, periods and approaches in its exploration of the diversity of the human past.


The Thirty-fourth McDonald Annual Lecture will be given by Professor Amy Bogaard, (University of Oxford)

Prehistoric farming futures? Recent insights from western Asia and Europe

at 5.30pm on Wednesday 16th November

The McCrum Lecture Theatre (,0.118128,18)

Zoom registration link:




In this talk I explore how the deep past of farming can shape more sustainable futures. The archaeology of early farmers offers opportunities to rediscover lost crops, ancient ecological knowledge and strategies resilient to climate change. The Neolithic story ranges from the formative agrobiodiversity of initial farming in western Asia, to emerging perspectives from ‘wet’ (lakeshore) Neolithics in south-east Europe and the inventive efforts of early farming communities in central and western Europe to maintain biodiverse farming systems against the odds. Subsequent prehistory reveals a sequence of intermittent simplification and loss of agrobiodiversity, notably where power structures constrained farming strategies. These processes increased social vulnerability to climate change. Equally, however, the archaeological record preserves forms of resistance through smallholder farming, dispersal of new crops through long-distance networks and resurgences of ‘Neolithic’ agroecology. The prehistory of farming reveals its creative beginnings and radical future potential, from rural production to (sub)urban gardening.

Image: An ear of Timopheev's wheat, a lost crop of prehistoric western Eurasia (photo by Ian Cartwright)



My formal archaeological training began with Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. This afforded the opportunity to work at sites like Troy, but also to develop interests in the ancient and contemporary farming contexts of such iconic places. The MSc in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy at Sheffield opened up new methodological possibilities, and the richness of potential feedback between past and present farming. After completing a doctorate at Sheffield in 2002, on Neolithic-Bronze Age farming in Central Europe, I took up a lecturership in archaeological science at Nottingham. Here the proximity of the British Geological Survey and agricultural campus at Sutton Bonington provided further stimulus for method development in comparative studies of ancient and contemporary farming, alongside archaeobotanical work on sites in Europe and Turkey. Since 2007 I’ve been at Oxford, where I am Professor of Neolithic and Bronze Age Archaeology. My current research aims to combine agroecological enquiry with questions of social and ecological process over the long term. 



Recent McDonald Annual Lecture speakers:

  • 2021: Professor Alison Wylie (University of British Columbia) - Bearing Witness: Collaborative Archaeology in a Settler Colonial Context
  • 2020: Professor Robert Foley (University of Cambridge) - The fourth handshake: selection, diversity and ecology in human evolutionary studies
  • 2019: Professor Shadreck Chirikure  (University of Cape Town, University of Oxford) - The Political Economy of Precolonial African States - Metals, Trinkets, Land, etc, etc
  • 2018: Professor Roberta Gilchrist (University of Reading) - The Medieval Ritual Landscape: Archaeology and Folk Religion
  • 2017: Jean-Jacques Hublin, (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig) - Modern Human Origins: In Search of a Garden of Eden
  • 2016: Eske Willerslev, (University of Cambridge and University of Copenhagen) - Human migration and mega faunal extinctions
  • 2015: Norman Yoffee (University of Michigan, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University) - Counternarratives of Early States in Mesopotamia (and Elsewhere)
  • 2014: Graeme Barker, (University of Cambridge) - The archaeology of climate/people interactions: science or story telling?
  • 2013: Christine Hastorf (University of Berkeley) - Houses, food and distributed people in the later Prehistory of the Central Andes (AD1000-1500)