About us

The Centre for Historical Archaeology was established in 2008 by Professor Marilyn Palmer to build on the strength of historical archaeology in Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester.

We are the UK's only research institution dedicated to the archaeological study of the past 500 years, and we strive to foster productive and exciting scholarly discussion and debate on the recent past.

In 2013, we hosted the Society for Historical Archaeology's 46th annual conference.

What we do

We coordinate research seminars and interdisciplinary research, while mentoring our postgraduate students as teachers and researchers. We aim to nurture a highly engaged community of historically-minded archaeologists and archaeologically-minded historians, interested primarily in the material and social issues that cross-cut our various theoretical, temporal and geographical specialities.

We are focusing activity on developing jointly-funded research projects, creative student dissertation projects, PhD studentships and postdoctoral fellowships. We also offer a well-established distance learning Masters programme, Archaeology and Heritage MA, as well as providing campus-based modules in historical archaeology across other degrees.

Currently, our staff play major roles in the Society for Historical Archaeology, the Society for Medieval Archaeology, the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, the Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA), the Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory (CHAT) group, and the Association for Industrial Archaeology.

About historical archaeology

As a Centre, we take historical archaeology to mean the study of the past 500 years, but we embrace comparison with other historical periods. Drawing upon archaeological, archival and oral data sets, historical archaeologists combine multiple lines of evidence to foster sophisticated and complex perspectives on the past.

Our members practice local, regional, national and international archaeologies, and we focus on themes which have relevance in contemporary societies, such as social inequality, identity, conflict and heritage.

Our flagship project was the criminal corpse project, directed by Professor Sarah Tarlow, and you can browse our research and recent dissertations pages to explore the diverse array of topics, approaches and sources that comprise historical archaeology.