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Department of Archaeology



I hold a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology (University of Exeter, 2010-13), an an MSt in Archaeology (University of Oxford 2013-14). My DPhil in Archaeology (University of Oxford, 2015-18) explored the long-term history of Sengwer foraging communities facing a series of community evictions from the Embobut Forest, western Kenya with the aim of foregrounding indigenous histories and challenging forms of failed modernity.

Since completing my DPhil, I have undertaken work through the British Museum’s Endangered Material Knowledge Programme in order to document threatened practices of apiculture in Kenya’s western highlands. I have also worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the transdisciplinary Institute for Global Prosperity (2019-2021), UCL, where I worked on projects that built a historiographical and ethnographic understanding of environmental management and agricultural practice for the construction of culturally appropriate policy interventions. 

I joined the McDonald Institute as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in 2022.


My current research focuses on the archaeology of the recent past and contemporary world in Africa, drawing upon archaeology’s predilection for exploring social life through everyday objects and landscapes in order to foreground histories, memories and things that are otherwise obscured by dominant development narratives. This approach weaves together a range of theoretical and methodological threads, drawing inspiration from contemporary archaeology, historical ecology, material culture, ethnography and post development thinking in the pursuit of pluralising knowledge production to inform policy thinking. My current research project uses these methods in order to reconceptualise smallholder innovation in Kenya as an iterative historic process harnessable as a mechanism for future agricultural design. 

Key Publications

Key publications: 

Lunn-Rockliffe, S., Davies, M.I., Willman, A., Moore, H.L., McGlade, J.M., Bent, D. 2020. Farmer Led Regenerative Agriculture for Africa. London, Institute for Global Prosperity 

Lunn-Rockliffe, S., Kay, D.K., 2020. Agropastoralists? Late Iron Age and historic forest livelihoods in the Cherangani Hills of north-west Kenya. Antiquity, 94(374). 

Lunn-Rockliffe, S., Derbyshire, S., Hicks, D. 2020. Material Culture, Analysis of. In P. Atkinson, S. Delamont, A. Cernat, J.W. Sakshaug, & R.A. Williams (Eds.), SAGE Research Methods Foundations. doi: 10.4135/9781526421036843497 

Lunn-Rockliffe, S., 2019. Beyond the Ruins of Embobut: Transforming Landscapes and Livelihoods in the Cherangani Hills, Kenya. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology. 

Lunn-Rockliffe, S. 2019. Connecting past and present: changing landscapes in the Embobut Forest, western Kenya. Nyame Akuma 89. 

Kay, D., Lunn-Rockliffe, S., Davies., M. 2019. The archaeology of South Sudan from c. 2,000 to 1,000 BP. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa 54, 516-537 

Mitchell, P., Lunn-Rockliffe, S 2022. Here be dragons: the untapped archaeological potential of São Tomé and Príncipe. World Archaeology DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2021.2002716 

Davies, M.I.J., Haklay, M., Kipkore, W., Kiprutto T.K., Laws, M., Lewis, J., Lunn-Rockliffe, S., McGlade, J.M., Moreu Badia, M., Yano, A. 2022. Supporting the capacities and knowledge of small-holder farmers in Kenya for sustainable agricultural futures: A Citizen Science pilot project. UCL Open: Environment Preprint

Job Titles

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Socio-Politics of the Past
Archaeological Theory
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies
Cultural Heritage

Contact Details

spl47 [a]
McDonald Institute
Downing Street


Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Material Culture
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Other Historical