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The Material Culture Laboratory


The Material Culture Lab is an open and dynamic hub for research on all aspects of material culture archaeology at Cambridge. However, the Laboratory actively includes material culture theory and researchers from aligned disciplines all interested in thinking about things and their relationship with people and society. Membership in the lab is open to all interested in material culture and  includes postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers and research staff.  Members have also included those from Classics, Museums and Social Anthropology.  Current research conducted in the lab spans from the Palaeolithic art to modern heritage concerns and identity construction and everything in between.  Among many other places, members work in Argentina, India, the Mediterranean,  Malta, Turkey, Scandinavia, Egypt and Britain. Our ethos of theoretical and material  opens up the door to thinking about what constitutes material culture and how we, as social scientists and archaeologists, think about it. 

The most important aspect of the Material Culture Laboratory is the encouragement of dialogue and thought.  The lab hosts a range of events including a Thinking about Things (TAT) reading group, lunchtime member presentations to help develop ideas, workshop days with other disciplines and a guest lecture series bringing in archaeologists and social theorists from around the world.  The laboratory also sponsors the occasional conference.  All of our events are open to the wider archaeology and academic research community!  A list of past speakers and events can be found here. 

Membership in the lab is not exclusive, but it does require an individual to be willing to participate in laboratory events and present on occasion at one of our lunchtime meetings.  Being a member means you can have access to the laboratory and its equipment for research purposes.  If you would like more information regarding membership, its privileges and responsibilities, please check here.

The Material Culture Laboratory is always outward looking - we want to engage with others interested in material culture and discuss similarities - and differences - in how we interpret the relationship between things and people.  Our current events for 2017-2018 can be found here and we are always listening to our members for great ideas about speakers, TAT themes and conference ideas.