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Department of Archaeology


Histories of Archaeology Research Network


The Histories of Archaeology Research Network (HARN) is an exciting new interuniversity and interdisciplinary postgraduate and postdoctoral research initiative dedicated to the unravelling archaeology's past and practice. Founded by Pamela Jane Smith in Spring 2008, HARN now has 120 participants worldwide. The network successfully provides an overarching, cross-institutional structure to promote communication and support innovative new work and holds regular, well-attended meetings to share original research.


The young collective untangles the histories and philosophies of archaeology and reconstructs the lesser-known social, political and intellectual aspects of archaeology's history. Group members investigate previously unexamined archival and primary sources and gather original oral-historical evidence. Participants produce innovative, fine-grained descriptions and in depth historical analyses based on entirely fresh material. Using diverse multi-disciplinary approaches, they engender a critical approach to the study of archaeology's past.


The members' research covers a broad range of never-before-researched subjects; the resulting new research regularly appears on Antiquity's Project Gallery under HARN's logo.

  • Flinders Petrie and eugenics, Kathleen Sheppard
  • Louis Leakey: Man and myth, Julie Lawrence


Examples of work produced are:

  • Rana Daroogheh (University of Durham) investigates how archaeology was used to promote a secular state before the Revolution in Iran and a Shia nation state after the Revolution;
  • Monika Steinel (Institute of Archaeology, UCL) details the interplay between archaeological research and the politico-ideological conditions of the National Socialist period in Germany;
  • Sera Baker, (University of Nottingham) examines the complex history of excavations and poor preservations at Pompeii;
  • William Werner (Syracuse University) looks at German archaeologists in Latin America at the turn of the century;
  • James Doeser (Institute of Archaeology, UCL) examines the history of archaeological policies in Great Britain;
  • Lydia Carr (University of Oxford) documents Tessa Wheeler's life;
  • Silas Michalakas (Goldsmiths College) is interested in visual media and the history of archaeology;
  • Katherine Cooper (University of Cambridge) studies how museum collections constructed and represented prehistory in late-nineteenth century Europe;
  • Anwen Cooper (University of Reading) reconstructs the histories of recent prehistoric research in Britain;
  • Jennifer Baird (Birkbeck College) constructs a critical history of Roman archaeology in the Near East; and,
  • Sara Perry (University of Southampton) discusses the epistemological significance of imagery to the development of academic archaeology.

"Miles Burkitt and the roots of an intellectual empire":archaeology in early twentieth-century", now available in the Antiquity Project Gallery (Antiquity vol. 87 issue 338 December 2013).


New members and all queries are welcomed. For more information please contact Amara Thornton (Institute of Archaeology, UCL) at Please also visit HARN's blog at where anyone interested in the history of archaeology can post announcements or comments or initiate discussion.

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