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Archaeology and History

Material Culture and Social Agency

Material culture and social agency research at Exeter blends theoretical and methodological concerns with interdisciplinary perspectives, aiming at understanding the relationship between people and things both in the past and in the contemporary world.

Our current research covers a range of themes:

  • Organic and inorganic materials and technologies
  • The sensory worlds of prehistoric societies
  • The acquisition and transmission of technical skills and craft traditions
  • The circulation and exchange of artefacts and materials in ancient societies
  • Identity, representation, and material culture
  • Heritage and value
  • The presentation and representation of archaeological materials and artefacts
  • The materiality of socio-political complexity: feasting and monumentality
  • The origins and development of complex stone flaking technologies
  • Identification of tool uses in relation to changing land use patterns 
  • Iron smelting technologies and their relationships to Iron Age interactions across Europe and South Asia 
  • Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans in Eurasia 
  • Early hominin brain development

Many of our research projects involve active collaboration with scholars from other disciplines including classics and ancient history, anthropology, geography, arts and performance, material sciences, and digital technologies.