Archaeology and Ancient History at Leicester has long been in the vanguard of both archaeology and ancient history research in the UK. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 74% of our research activity, including 100% of our Research Environment, was classed as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', placing us in the top five archaeology departments in the UK, and 1st for the public impact of our research.
Our research has also achieved international prominence as a result of excavation of the body of Richard III in Leicester in 2012 by our professional field archaeologists (ULAS), and the ensuing interdisciplinary study of the remains led by our research staff. The rediscovery of the King's remains was an exceptionally spectacular outcome of more typical School activity; investigation and research of archaeological remains and historical records (in this case of Leicester's medieval monastery of Greyfriars).
Our research strategy exploits the disciplinary mix within Archaeology and Ancient History at Leicester, developing new ideas in innovative ways. Our cutting edge research is currently focused on the following research themes:
- Big Antiquity: Pushing the boundaries of the classical antiquity. From the marginalised poor of Rome to the ‘barbarian’ neighbours of the Greeks, we are redefining the classical.
- Active Heritage: The past in the present, from the destruction of archaeological sites in the 21st century to the rewriting of historiographical traditions.
- Living Landscapes: Investigating the construction of space, place, and the environment around us.
- Producing People: The making of bodies and personhood, from the cultural production of gendered identities to the archaeological traces of the ageing process.
- Transformative Technologies: From prehistoric craftworking traditions to the latest developments in archaeological theory, we are exploring the doing of things.
Our staff work all over the world on research projects in Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Greece, Central Europe, Egypt, North Africa, Sudan, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, South East Asia, China, Australia, the USA, Cuba and elsewhere. We cover all periods, from the earliest humans to the recent past. Many projects are externally-funded and are collaborative with scholars from outside institutions. Our research postgraduate cohort feeds from and enhances this expertise and range.
Browse our current research projects and past research projects to find out more about some of the exciting research undertaken by our academic staff and postdoctoral scholars, ranging from the ancient parkland at Bradgate, to the endangered archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa, to the birth of Greek culture.