The Institute of Archaeology is home to unparalleled global expertise, which builds upon over 75 years of agenda-setting activity. The Institute’s World Archaeology section provides a vibrant and progressive teaching and research environment for social and cultural archaeological studies situated at the cutting edge of contemporary social science. As well as providing a forum for the cross-fertilization of ideas and collaborative activities between academic staff, post-doctoral scholars, research students, and an extensive honorary membership comprising scholars and professionals from around the globe, the World Archaeology section hosts an unmatched range of seminar series and conferences, and a steady stream of visiting scholars.

World-class scholars engage in research and outreach activity that seeks to address fundamental issues relating to the development of human societies. Archaeology is uniquely placed to investigate human behaviour in long-term perspective in its many guises, situations, periods and places, and the Institute of Archaeology is at the forefront of the contemporary development of the discipline. The World Archaeology section aims to consolidate its impact and breadth by attracting world-class teachers, researchers and students in its mission to place the long-term study of human societies at the forefront of social science.

Over 30 full-time academic staff in the section engage in field, network-based and individual research which contributes to many aspects of knowledge of the human past ranging from human origins, the development of empires, the uniqueness of local societies and the emergence of the modern world. Broad comparative approaches cover deep time and all subsequent periods and aspects of the human past. Research activity takes place across the globe, in the UK and mainland Europe, Africa, Central and South-west Asia, the Middle East, the Far East, Pacific, North, Central and South America and elsewhere.

Academic staff, post-doctoral scholars and research students are engaged in research clusters pursuing the understanding of topics of global significance including rural and urban sustainability, wellbeing, social organisation and developing perceptions of local, regional and global environments. Considerations of important issues of art, material culture, social landscapes, literacy and social theory are addressed in order to provide critical understandings of pattern and process in human cultures in long-term perspective.

Many scholars engage in interdisciplinary activities where anthropological, historical and sociological approaches combine with archaeology to cut across traditional regional, chronological and methodological boundaries in archaeology. Collectively, our work contributes to public policy and the public understanding of social science, in addition to the cultural enrichment of society.


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