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Department of Archaeology

 

Displaying 66 projects

At the intersection among the arts, science, and technology, printing is widely recognised as the invention of the millennium. However, and in spite of a resurgence of traditional typographic methods among artists and craftspeople, letterpress equipment and technology face an uncertain future...
The ways Neanderthals treated their dead have been a key focus of long-standing debates about their capacities for compassion and symbolic thought, and their similarity to modern humans. These questions feed into broader questions concerning how similar Neanderthals were to ourselves, modern humans...
The above photo shows: A left lateral aspect of a cranium from Catignano (a Middle Neolithic village in Abruzzo), showing two healing trepanations on the left parietal bone and healed fracture on the left frontal and parietal bones of a 40-50 year old female How did politics and inequality work in...
Image: Pastoralist rock art, Serengeti, Tanzania. Photo: P. Lane. The Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC) project focuses on documenting the parameters leading to socio-ecological resilience in the borderlands area of Kenya and Tanzania, with specific reference to the Serengeti Basin...
The project will develop an innovative new model to examine the pivotal role of anthropogenic wetlands in the long transition to agriculture in the Levant. Remarkably, while this transition has been explored in some detail, we still do not have a good grasp on the long-term developments and causes...
Archaeological data is often biased and incomplete. This is a well-known issue for most archaeologists. Although studies of specific sites and small regions can have this into account, the effect of this problem increases exponentially as archaeologists expand their chronological and geographic...
The archaeology of Sub-Saharan Africa is rapidly gaining momentum, thanks to renewed efforts to decolonise and empower indigenous narratives of agency and creativity that have been bolstered further by the increasing application of scientific methods. However, important challenges remain. One is...
This project aims to study the crucibles and finished metal objects recently recovered from the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage site, using techniques from earth and materials sciences.
The bioarchaeological characterization of disabled individuals from the past is particularly challenging because it pushes the boundaries of the interpretation of pathologies recognisable on human remains. With my project, namely B-CARED, I will investigate the bioarchaeological approaches for...
The aim of the ERC project Beasts to Craft (B2C) is to document the biological and craft records in parchment in order to reveal the entangled histories of improvement and parchment production in Europe from 500-1900 AD.
A multidisciplinary project investigating the interrelations between crop plants, insect pollinators, and human management in prehistory.
Co-production Networks for Community Heritage in Tanzania.
Archaeological investigation of the history of Cape Verde.
The Community Heritage and Education for Sustainable Development in Tanzania project is a continuation of some of the activities initiated by the AHRC-funded Co-production Networks for Community Heritage in Tanzania (CONCH) project ( https://www.conchproject.org/ ), that ran in 2018 and 2019. This...
This research employs archaeobotanical and biomolecular methods to reconstruct ancient agropastoral change over the first millennium CE in two microregions, the Aravah valley along the southern border of modern Israel-Jordan and the adjacent Negev Highlands. The region witnessed unprecedented...
This project is documenting the knowledge, skills, and practices of traditional dry-stone masonry at Great Zimbabwe, southern Zimbabwe. Once the capital of an Iron Age empire, Great Zimbabwe is an ancient settlement complex with dry-stone structures covering over 720 hectares. Around it, local...
ENCOUNTER investigates the Jomon-Yayoi transition, a demic and cultural diffusion event that led the predominantly hunting, gathering, and fishing-based communities of the Japanese islands to adopt rice and millet farming during the 1st millennium BC.
Research into global connections, which formed the basis for the spread of objects, ideas, innovations, religions and empires, continues to fundamentally shape our understanding of the development of contemporary society. While the historiography of global connections is dominated by a European...
Tracking the early emergence of derived Homo -like cerebral features in the hominin fossil record can be expected to contribute to an understanding of the timing (i.e., chronology) and mode (i.e., process) of critical brain changes. Because brain tissue is not preserved in the fossil record...
The project will research how archaeological and palaeoecological narratives of past land management and climate change adaptation can shape sustainable farming, regenerative agriculture, and rewilding strategies in the Cambridgeshire Fenlands. The nationally important agricultural area is...
Now represented by only two living genera restricted to tropical forests, sloths once were a dominant group within South American ecosystems until as recently as 10 ka, right before the last ice age extinction. Fossil sloths are considered plant eaters, like their modern relatives, but their...
During the Early and Middle Bronze Age (2500-1600 B.C), a range of exchange networks linked Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain and South Asia, facilitating the long-distance movement of a wide variety of raw materials and finished products. Texts from the Sargonic and Ur III period (2300-2000 BC) provide...
Our knowledge of human evolution is limited by several factors. One is tightly linked to the nature of the fossil record, as bones of our extinct human relatives and other primate species rarely appear in archaeological and paleontological sites, and when they do, they very commonly appear in an...
This archaeology-led initiative focuses on the East Anglian Fens, an extraordinary landscape where exceptional preservation of organic artefacts and environmental evidence gives unparalleled insights into the last 5,000 years of communities, resources and habitats. The Fens are the richest and most...
Geoarchaeological research on Bantu landscapes is being carried out as part of the interdisciplinary Bantu Mobility Project. This project is exploring Bantu expansions in the Kafue floodplain of central Zambia. By combining archaeological survey and excavation, spatial analysis, historical...
This project takes as its focus the 1937 aerial bombardment of Gernika as a political and artistic event rooted in—and in ongoing dialogue with—colonial violence in the Middle East & North Africa. It connects the 1920s aerial bombardment of civilians in colonial Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and...
My project for the McDonald Institute investigates the interplay of institutional authorities, private citizens, localities, and global networks in the Late Bronze Age (ca. 16th-12th centuries BC), the first phase of globalization in world history. Globalization is not only an issue of...
HEAAT aims to develop a multidisciplinary, theory-focused and data-driven research framework and agenda for East African historical archaeology that will privilege the research of the internal dynamics of African communities and account for the region’s history of complex identities. By...
How did our ancestors walk? Perhaps the greatest challenge that this question has posed in the past, is the lack of methodological applications in which no study has previously reconstructed how our ancestors moved using biomechanical modelling techniques. We need to consider not just individual...
Despite recent progress in molecular analyses and the constant increase of the hominin remains in the fossil record, the chronological, geographical and evolutionary context of the emergence of the genus Homo remains largely debated. More importantly, the identity of our direct ancestors and...
Northern Bosnia is a key location in which to investigate human-environment interactions in the Late Pleistocene /Middle-Upper Palaeolithic. Our research aims to evaluate hominan resource networks and investigate palaeoenvironmental conditions during this period, and address the following...
Excavations at the settlement adjoining the prehistoric sanctuary on Keros in the Cycladic Islands of Greece, the earliest maritime sanctuary in the world (2750-2240BC).
Children experiencing food insecurity, repeated infections and psychosocial stress have compromised development, and increased risk for non-communicable diseases in adulthood. While public health interventions have had limited benefits, addressing this is critical, both from a public health...
As the world's remaining hunting and gathering societies interact more actively with their settled agricultural neighbours, they face major changes in their diet, mobility and community networks. The 5-year MOBILE project is studying the impact of these changes on the health and biological...
Image: Ancient pastoralist settlement viewed from the air, Amboseli, Kenya. Photo: P. Lane. Mapping Africa's – Endangered Archaeological Sites and Monuments (maeasam.org) project aims to identify and document endangered archaeological heritage sites across Africa using a combination of remote...
The Mapping Archaeological Heritage in South Asia (MAHSA) project will document the endangered archaeology and cultural heritage of the Indus River Basin and the surrounding areas and publish this information in an Open Access Arches geospatial database. This database will be a collaborative output...
The Must Farm project is the first landscape scale archaeological investigation of deep Fenland, with its complex geological history.
Our understanding of the origins of our species, Homo sapiens, has undergone a major shift. New fossils, dates and genomic studies have consolidated our African origin. Yet, they also indicate a deeper past, involving multiple events. These events stretch to nearly three quarters of a million years...
The project seeks to examine the economic and social relationships of ancient Egyptian tomb owners. Drawing upon both textual and archaeological sources, in particular the interplay between them, the project will analyse new quantifiable economic data from private rock-cut tombs during the New...
This project integrates maritime archaeology, history, geophysical survey and anthropology to investigate illicit trade between the Caribbean islands St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Thomas, St. Bartholomew and St. Maarten from 1816 to c.1840 with the aim of understanding: -The entanglements between...
This project is a response to calls to build long-term sustainability and resilience into pastoral social-ecological systems in sub-Saharan Africa through provision of deep histories of human-environment interactions. It focuses on collecting and analysing archaeological and related data on the...
The Promised project forms a network of excellence in Bioarchaeology and Archaeological Materials Science within the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) at the Cyprus Institute linked with the advanced research centres in Archaeological Science at KU Leuven and the University of Cambridge.
Cooperation is a markedly human mix of innate and learned behaviour, and a key to tackling some of our greatest concerns. Paradoxically, studies of social dynamics often focus on hierarchies, state formation and political structures ruled by coercive power, with comparatively little regard to the...
Fordwich has been revealed to be the oldest directly-dated Acheulean occurrence in the United Kingdom, with artefacts dating from 560,000 to 620,000 years ago (MIS 15). This makes it the second oldest Acheulean site in north-west Europe, and the oldest to display a known handaxe assemblage...
This project seeks to develop a theoretical and practical understanding of the relationship between reparations, responsibility and victimhood in transitional societies.
The Rising from the Depths Network aims to identify ways in which the marine and maritime cultural heritage of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar can be used to benefit coastal communities in these countries. Many of these communities are among the poorest in the region and are especially...
SCATTER investigates the multivocal notion of territory in Protohistory through the study of settlement patterns in ecological settings. Specifically, SCATTER focus on the Central Anatolian region during the Middle and Late Bronze Age, i.e. the second millennium B.C. The goal is to acquire better...
This five-year project funded by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance seeks to write European heritage guidelines for Holocaust and Roma genocide sites in order to safeguard them for the future.
The project Science @ Tarquinia aims to provide the complementary scientific support for the long-standing study of the ancient Etruscan city of Tarquinia by the University of Milan. This Unesco World Heritage site is well known for its magnificent painted tombs, its city walls, the Temple of Ara...
Shanidar cave viewed from the south (Photograph: Graeme Barker) The Shanidar Cave Project Following an invitation to Professor Graeme Barker from the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, the Shanidar Cave Project was established as a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the...
Igbo-Ukwu is a famous archaeological site in southeastern Nigeria. Excavated by Professor Thurstan Shaw in the 1960s, the site was settled over a thousand years ago. The materials from the site were unlike anything yet found in West Africa at the time. This discovery brought to our consciousness...
A Bronze Age fortified tell settlement on the right bank of the river Danube 30km south of Budapest.
Agriculture in Africa faces multiple challenges. Climate extremes, ecosystem degradation and population growth continually prompt calls for the urgent transformation of food systems. Mainstream attempts remain focused on modernising paradigms in ways that overlook historic and contemporary...
What does a river do? As anyone who has lived by one knows, rivers structure human worlds in many ways. This project explores the role of Europe’s greatest river in the formation of new societies, in and after the last centuries of the Roman Empire in the West (150–700 AD). The Danube occupied a...
What was understood to be ‘good government’ in the Ancient Near East? While the notion of a ‘constitution’ – a key mechanism for setting out how to govern – is typically associated with relatively modern societies, this project sets out to explore the core ideas behind state power, the rule of law...
This is a pilot project aimed at developing an interdisciplinary approach to research on the legacies of enslavement and emancipation in Senegal, West Africa. The project is situated within the context of renewed archaeological engagements with local communities and paralell changes in...
This project will challenge the extant model on the beginning and spread of Islamic glazes, which asserts that they were all derived from the Middle East and spread with Arab expansion, and that new technologies were adopted passively by conquered societies. It will include a variety of glazed ware types dating to the 9th to 13th centuries CE from different regions of Central Asia.
Traumatic death affects our daily life, but how did traumatic mortality affect human behaviour from an evolutionary perspective? TRAUMOBITA aims to understand how traumatic mortality among prehistoric humans shaped our behaviour during the Late Pleistocene to the Middle Holocene. Confirming that...
The PlaCe network is a high-profile partnership focused on the interdisciplinary study of pre-modern ceramics and plasters. This Innovative Training Network aims at training Early-Stage Researchers to conduct state-of-the-art, science-based research on the technology, use, and provenance of...
The transition from Oldowan to Acheulean technologies are hypothesised to be concomitant with advances in cognition and behaviour. However, the nature of these shifts, and their cultural and evolutionary implications are poorly defined and understood. While extensive literature exists on these...
This project is examining resource landscapes and urban transition on Zanzibar during two major periods of urban growth. Fieldwork at Unguja Ukuu (7th–15th centuries) and Tumbatu (11th–15th centuries) on Zanzibar is exploring domestic contexts and investigating resource uses supporting the...
This project brings together several research streams to examine the nexus relations between land and water resources, societal development, and landscape stability in sub-Saharan Africa. What processes and practices support long-term settlement and resource use? How did past societies secure water...
This is a collaborative research project between archaeologists and pastoralist community organisations on the long-term history of indigenous water management and well digging in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. In these arid and semi-arid parts of eastern Africa, wells form a key component...
As the complex mosaic of Quaternary human lineages across and beyond Africa becomes increasingly apparent, an accurate chronology is critical to disentangle the patterns and process, particularly those that link human evolution to palaeoenvironmental and climatic change. “Wisdom Teeth” is a NERC-...
This project analyzes the historiography of the Yangshao Culture and its functioning as a heritage icon for the Chinese nation as well as its impact on various societal concerns.
The Assyrian Empire was the first multinational empire in the ancient near east. By the seventh century BC it had grown to cover all of Iraq, Syria and the Levant, substantial portions of western Iran and south-eastern Turkey and even, for brief periods, Egypt. In the site of Ziyaret Tepe we have...

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