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Department of Archaeology



I am currently an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Archaeology Department/Cambridge Heritage Research Centre, working on disseminating the results of my PhD on the endangered elephant-related traditions of the Indigenous Kui community in northeast Thailand. This includes publishing my first monograph with Amsterdam University Press. In addition to this, I will also continue teaching on the Heritage MPhil programme, with a focus on heritage in/and the Anthropocene. 

I have previously been involved in several research projects, including one examining the impact of climate on coastal communities in Thailand, and Cambridge Heritage Research Centre's project on developing a Heritage Ecosystem Impact Assessment. In addition to this, I helped organise the Indo-Pacific programme at the Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge and worked with Uncomfortable Cambridge, a social enterprise generating tours and discussions surrounding the city's 'uncomfortable' histories. 

I received my BA (Hons) in Human, Social and Political Science at the University of Cambridge in 2016, where I looked at conflicts between mineral and heritage rights in South Africa as part of my undergraduate dissertation. I then went on to do my MPhil in Archaeological Heritage and Museums. Before returning to Cambridge to complete my PhD, I worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Thailand as part of their Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development team. 


I completed my PhD (Archaeology) at Cambridge in 2023 on The Last Elephant Catchers: (In)Visible Indigenous Heritage in Thailand. I examined the concept of the Authorised Heritage Discourse and the impact of authority at various scales on Indigenous heritage in Thailand, working with a community known as the 'Kui'. The Kui traditionally caught elephants from the wild - a practice that ended in the 1960s. I examined the various factors contributing to the end of this tradition, as well as the run-on effects this loss has had in terms of the endangerment of other aspects of the Kui community's elephant heritage. 

My research interests include: 

  • Heritage and the Anthropocene
  • Indigenous Environmental Heritage 
  • Intangible Heritage in Southeast Asia (Thailand)

Key Publications

Key publications: 

Santikarn, A., 2023. Rights to Heritage and the Environment in Thailand: A case study of the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex. In Kim, Jongkil and Zoh, Minjae (eds). Asia’s Heritage Trend: Examining Asia’s Present through Its Past. London: Routledge. 

Santikarn, A., Doğan, E., Antczak, O., Ruf, K.E., Pinto Leitão Pereira, M. 2022. Rethinking the Archaeology–Heritage Divide. The Archaeological Review from Cambridge, 37(1): 1–11. Cambridge: Victoire Press.

Santikarn, A. (Forthcoming). The Politics of Indigenous Heritage in Thailand in Smith, L. Campbell, G., Whitehead, C., Bozoğlu, G. (eds). Routledge International Handbook of Heritage and Politics. London: Routledge.

Other publications: 

Santikarn, A. 2022. Archaeology and Photography: Time, Objectivity and Archive (Review). The Archaeological Review from Cambridge, 37(2). Cambridge: Victoire Press.

Teaching and Supervisions



Lecturer for G24 (Heritage in the Age of the Anthropocene)

Lecturer for G23 (Heritage Management

Lecturer for G22 (Socio-politics of the Past)


Research supervision: 



Job Titles

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Black and white photo of a smiling woman with long, dark hair, with grass and trees in the background

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Museum Studies
Heritage Management
Cultural Heritage

Contact Details

as2394 [at]


Person keywords: 
Cultural Heritage
Heritage Values
Heritage Studies
Geographical areas: 
Southeast Asia
Periods of interest: 
Modern / Contemporary