Archaeology and Ancient History

New Approaches to the Material World

How can we blend theoretical and methodological approaches to develop new understands of past material worlds? How do people and things bring those worlds into being? This theme seeks to integrate scientific, literary, and cutting-edge philosophical approaches to the past, rather than seeing these as competing traditions of thought. Work under this theme combines the study of past technologies and creative practices on the one hand, with current theoretical and methodological innovations on the other. From the craft of Islamic potters to new materialism, and from early metallurgy to innovations in academic collaboration, this theme focuses on how things have been, are, and can be done. Within this theme, we have particular expertise in archaeological theory and diverse forms of materials analysis.

Core staff

Allison, Barton, Carvajal López, Crellin, Harris, Samson, Thomas

Key research projects

Recent publications

  • Allison, P. (ed.) 2018. ‘Big Data on the Roman Table: new approaches to tablewares in the Roman world’, theme volume of Internet Archaeology. 
  • Dolfini, A. and Crellin, R.J. 2016. Metalwork wear analysis: the loss of innocence. Journal of Archaeological Science 66: 78-87.
  • Harris, O.J.T. 2018. ‘More than representation: multiscalar assemblages and the Deleuzian challenge to archaeology’. History of the Human Sciences 31: 83-104.
  • Harris, O.J.T. 2018. ‘Archaeology is process’. Archaeological Dialogues 25: 34-8.
  • Harris, O.J.T. and C. Cipolla. Archaeological Theory in the New Millennium. Routledge.
  • Samson, A.V.M., Wrapson, L.J., Cartwright, C.R., Sahy, D., Stacey, R.J., Cooper, J., 2017. ‘Artists before Columbus: A multi-method characterization of the materials and practices of Caribbean cave art’. Journal of Archaeological Science 88: 24-36.

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