Prof Oliver Harris

Professor of Archaeology

School/Department: Archaeology and Ancient History, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2729



I fell in love with archaeology after 25 minutes of my first lecture as a student. What made me love it was the realisation that people, places, things, burial practices - everything really - are so different from what I had assumed was simply ‘normal’. Ever since then I’ve been trying to find ways to develop and push at this notion of difference when studying the past, whether it’s looking at how the human body changes through time, Neolithic monuments or Vikings burials. I do that through research and teaching looking at a variety of scales from individual objects, to landscapes, to continents over millennia.


My research focuses on how we can use archaeological theory, especially what are termed new materialist approaches, to say new things about the past including the long-term history of gender, and the use of materials in the Neolithic and Bronze Age of Europe. I also co-direct fieldwork in Ardnamurchan Western Scotland.


Selected Publications


Harris O.J.T. 2021. Assembling Past Worlds: materials, bodies and architecture in Neolithic Britain. London: Routledge.

Crellin, R.J., Cipolla, C, N., Montgomery, L.M., Harris, O.J.T. and Moore, S.V. 2021. Archaeological Theory in Dialogue: situating relationality, ontology, posthumanism and Indigenous paradigms. London: Routledge.

Harris, O.J.T. & Cipolla C.N. 2017. Archaeological Theory in the New Millennium: introducing current perspectives. London: Routledge.

Robb, J. and Harris, O.J.T. 2013. The Body in History: Europe from the Palaeolithic to the future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Crellin, R.J., Tsoraki, C., Standish, C., Pearce R.B, Barton, H., Morriss, S., and Harris, O.J.T. 2023. Materials in movement: gold and stone in process at the Upton Lovell G2a burial. Antiquity 97. 86-103.

Robb. J. and Harris, O.J.T. 2023. Rethinking Neolithic and Bronze Age gender: facing the challenges. Responding to Gaydarska et al. To Gender or not To Gender? Exploring Gender Variations through Time and Space. European Journal of Archaeology online first.

Roy, A., Crellin, R.J., Harris, O.J.T. 2023. Use-wear reveals the first direct evidence for use of Neolithic polished stone axes in Britain. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports online first

Tsoraki, C., Barton, H., Crellin, R.J. and Harris O.J.T. 2023. From typology and biography to multiplicity: Bracers as ‘process objects’. Cambridge Archaeological Journal online first doi:10.1017/S0959774323000094

Cipolla, C.N., Crellin, R.J. and Harris, O.J.T. 2021. Posthumanist archaeologies, archaeological posthumanisms. Journal of Posthumanism 1, 5-21.

Crellin, R. and Harris, O.J.T. 2021. What difference does posthumanism make? Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 31(3), 469-75.

Crellin, R.J. and Harris, O.J.T. 2020. Beyond binaries: Interrogating ancient DNA. Archaeological Dialogues 27, 37-56

Harris, O.J.T. 2021. Archaeology, process and time: beyond history versus memory. World Archaeology online first: DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2021.1963833

Tsoraki, C., Barton, H., Crellin, R.J. & Harris, O.J.T. 2020. Making marks meaningful: new materialism and the microwear assemblage. World Archaeology 52, 484-502.

Robb, J. and Harris O.J.T. 2018. Becoming gendered in European prehistory: was Neolithic gender fundamentally different? American Antiquity 83, 128-147 DOI:


I am interested in supervising PhD topics that integrate archaeological theory with Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age Britain. Any aspect of theory would be welcome but especially those interested in affect, new materialism and the ontological turn.


I teach on all of our undergraduate and masters archaeology programmes. Modules include AR1004 World Archaeology BC, AR2032 Britain and Ireland in the Neolithic Bronze and Iron Ages, AR2029 Theory in Archaeology, AR2551 Archaeological Theory, AR3089 Power and Difference in the Past, AR7525 Critical Approaches to Archaeological Heritage

Press and media

I can be contacted as an expert on British archaeology, Mesolithic - Bronze Age, and questions about long-term human understandings of gender and material culture.


Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute


2021 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2019 Curl Lectureship - Royal Anthropological Institute

2016 Philip Leverhulme Prize for Archaeology

2014 Archaeological Training Forum Award for the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project
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