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Exploring the past, understanding the present and shaping the future

Department of Archaeology & Anthropology research

We are concerned with all aspects of the Historic Environment as evidence of past human activity and its associated consequences that people can find, see, hear, understand, feel, debate, and contest in the present world.

Archaeology involves the systematic study of human cultures through material remains, asking: Who did what? When? Where? How? And Why? Physical and biological Anthropology involves the study of humankind through comparative studies of societies and cultures. Forensic archaeology and anthropology focus on crime-scene investigations and the preparation of evidence for use by courts of law. Heritage, whether cultural or natural, tangible or intangible, focuses on the things inherited from the past that we choose to investigate, document, manage, interpret, use, and represent in various ways.

Research centres and institutes

Institute Studies Landscape Human Evolution hero

Institute for Studies in Landscape & Human Evolution

Our research is focused on tackling these questions from a landscape based perspective, integrating palaeoanthropology, ecology, remote sensing of modern analogues and both earth and computer science. We are collaborating with computer animators to bring our science alive in the imaginations of both scientific and non-scientific audiences.

A–Z of current and past research projects

Map showing the distribution of recorded field investigations in England 1990-2010

AIP – Archaeological investigations Project

The Archaeological Investigations Project (AIP), funded by English Heritage, systematically collected information about the nature and outcomes of more than 80,000 archaeological projects undertaken between 1990 and 2010.

Timothy Darvill in front of the cameras at Avebury

Avebury Landscapes

Extensive geophysical surveys of Avebury World Heritage Site address big academically and societally relevant questions, such as the social use of space at different times in the past.

Roman baths at Bath, UK

Building Roman Britain

This innovative programme of archaeological science will characterise stone and ceramic building materials and explore the contexts within which they were produced.

A chicken

Chicken Project

Understanding how important chickens’ diffusion to the west was.
Cotswolds burial monument

Cotswolds burial monument

A 6,000-year-old prehistoric burial monument has been uncovered northeast of Cirencester in the Cotswolds by archaeologists from BU.
The octagonal cold plunge bath at Dewlish, Dorset

Dewlish Roman Villa

Excavations directed by Bill Putnam at the Dewlish Roman villa from 1969-1979 inclusive.
Big Dig site with crowd of fieldworkers

Durotriges Project (Big Dig)

Excavations and surveys studying the transition from the late Iron Age to the early Roman period in central southern England.
A group participating in an activity as part of the Human Henge project

Heritage and well-being

BU is a partner in the Human Henge project co-ordinated by the Restoration Trust and also involving Richmond Fellowship, English Heritage, and The National Trust. Using natural and constructed landscapes to promote health and well-being has a long and distinguished history stretching back to the pilgrimages of medieval times.

Field work on the Living with Monuments project

Living With Monuments Project

Survey and excavation in the UNESCO World Heritage landscape of Avebury, to discover more about the people that inhabited it and the ways they lived. 

A manuscript illumination

Lost voices of Celtic Britain

Looking beyond the tales of magic, wizards and giants to see what life was really like for the inhabitants of late prehistoric and Roman Britain.
MAD about the wreck

MAD about the wreck

Making maritime archaeology accessible to the community through studies of wrecks within and around Poole Harbour, Dorset, UK.
The ‘reconstructed’ skull of Piltdown Man

Piltdown Man

The story of the world’s biggest archaeological hoax.
A fragment from a marble portrait of the young emperor Nero hints at possible links between the owners of the house and the imperial family.

REGNVM: the First Kingdom

A reassessment of cultural change across central southeastern Britain from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD, examining, in particular, the nature of trade, globalisation, and direct Roman Imperial patronage.
Surveying ruined 13th Century town of Songo Mnara

Research at Songo Mnara

BU archaeologists conduct magnetometry and electrical conductivity survey at the Swahili stonetowns site.
Huts at Stonehenge

Seeing beneath Stonehenge

Using Google Earth to transport you around the virtual landscape of this magnificent monument (Funded by Google and AHRC).
Skeleton found

Sidon Excavation

BU archaeologist, Nina Maaranen researches human skeletal remains at Sidon, Lebanon.
Excavations at Hang Moi, Vietnam, as part of the SUNDASIA project

SUNDASIA

Exploring how prehistoric tropical communities adapted to cycles of coastal inundation over the last 60,000 years in northern Vietnam. A collaboration involving universities and research institutions in the UK and Vietnam.
Swash Channel Wreck

Swash Channel Wreck

Investigating an early 17th century armed merchantman, probably of Dutch origins, on the seabed outside Poole Harbour, Dorset, UK (Funded by Historic England).
The Hyksos

The Hyksos Enigma

European Research Council Advanced Grant jointly hosted by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Bournemouth University to study the origins, establishment, and legacy of the Hyksos in Egypt during the mid-second millennium BC.
Virtual Avebury nears completion

Virtual Avebury

Virtual Avebury is an AHRC/EPSRC funded project under the 2017 Immersive Partnerships call.
Vlochos project team

Vlochos Archaeological Project

Examining the Classical-Hellenistic urban site at Vlochós in the municipality of Palamás, Greece. A collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Karditsa, the Swedish Institute at Athens, and the University of Gothenburg.

Athena Swan logoAthena Swan

CAA is committed to working to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, and is delighted to be supporting the Departments of Archaeology, Anthropology, and Forensic Science; and Life and Environmental Sciences in their November 2016 Silver Award submissions.

Latest news from the department