Our research is motivated by the desire to apply knowledge to contemporary concerns by using anthropology and archaeology as tools of the 'long view'.  

Research areas

Our four-field approach means we are uniquely placed to address key issues in contemporary society, reflected in three key cross-cutting research themes

  • adversity - we address the resilience of humanity in the face of major challenges past and present, such as disease, conflict and technological change
  • adaptation - we explore the biological and cultural evolutionary processes that generate human diversity
  • globalisation - we discover how the movements of people, ideas, and objects articulate with continuity and change from the Neolithic to the present day

Field research creates our primary material, and staff share a strong commitment to empirical and ethnographic research that reveals the material evidence of the past, and the scope of behaviours and beliefs in contemporary communities across the globe. Current archaeological and anthropological fieldwork takes place in the UK, Jordan, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, France, Mongolia, Slovenia, Cameroon, Hungary, Finland, and the USA.  

 Current projects and collaborations

  • Indigenous Animations (2018-2019) PI: Camilla Morelli
  • Ontology of bone microstructure (2017-2019) PI: Kate Robson-Brown
  • Globalising Luxuries (2016-2020) PI: Tamar Hodos
  • Palaeolipidomics (2016-2019) PI: Lucy Cramp
  • FGC in Africa (2016-2018) PI: Mhairi Gibson
  • VARIKIN (2015-2020). PI: Fiona Jordan
  • The Power of Relics (2015-2016). PI: Joanna Brück 
  • The Social Context of Technology (2014-2017). PI: Joanna Brück
  • D-PLACE (2013-ongoing) PI: Fiona Jordan
  • Yamnaya Impact (2013-2020) PI: Volker Heyd
  • i-bone (2013-2016) CI: Volker Heyd
  • NEOMILK (2013-2018). PI Richard Evershed. CI: Volker Heyd
  • Ecology of Infectious Disease (2012-2017): Co PI: Mhairi Gibson
  • EUROTAST Network (2012-2016): PI: Kate Robson Brown
  • Labour saving in Africa (2000-ongoing):  Mhairi Gibson

Skeletons: Our buried bones

In 2017, Professor Kate Robson Brown and the forensic anthropology team from the University of Bristol's School of Arts, produced an archaeological exhibition at the M Shed Bristol. The project took place in collaboration with Bristol Museums, the Wellcome Trust, the Museum of London and Avon Archaeology Ltd.

Associated centres

Research in the faculty

Our research forms part of the overall research activities and strategies of the Faculty of Arts.

Research events

We run a regular research seminar series and are frequently involved with one-off research events.

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