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Archaeology & Conservation Research

The Department of Archaeology and Conservation conducts international-quality and groundbreaking research ranging from social archaeology to conservation science.  We undertake fieldwork in the UK, continental Europe, the Mediterranean and the Near East from the Mesolithic through to the post-medieval periods.  We collaborate with colleagues around the world and researchers from countries including Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA have chosen to work with us.

Excavations on the rampart at Ham Hill

To support our research, we attract funding from the Research Councils, charitable trusts, and local and national government organisations.  Our research is underpinned by excellent technical, illustration, photographic and conservation support. Facilities include a dedicated graphics and photographic studio and laboratories for bioarchaeology, conservation science and the analysis of archaeological materials. We are well provided with geophysical, surveying and analytical equipment, including scanning electron microscopy.


Archaeology organises a weekly seminar series during term time for nationally and internationally-recognised guest speakers and there is a bi-weekly series for conservation and analytical scientists. We host conferences and workshops that cover a broad range of themes and periods; recent events in 2013 include: the 7th Experimental Archaeology Conference and the UK Archaeological Science and Association of Environmental Archaeology Conference.

Phil Parkes working at Castell Coch

We have a thriving postgraduate community with students benefiting from integration in our research culture, including full access to our research facilities and to a purpose-built postgraduate study suite. The Department is part of The South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership which receives funding from the AHRC. To find out more about postgraduate opportunities in the Department's areas of research strengths and the Masters and research schemes we offer please visit our postgraduate pages.

Research Impact

We are consistently in demand to provide services, inform practice, excite interest and influence understanding of the historic environment and all staff are committed to bringing the results of their research to a wider audience.  As part of our research we change people’s understanding of the past by new discoveries, popular writing, interactive experiences and media performances. We also provide professional heritage services to outside contractors and influence government policy towards the Historic Environment. Please see our Research Impact page to find out more about these activities.

Research Themes

We are committed to both the practical and theoretical nature of archaeology and have made significant resource investments to support major fieldwork projects and the detailed scientific analysis of materials (both artefactual and environmental). Our principal research themes cut across the geographical and chronological groupings of staff and create lively and intellectually productive debate. Our research themes are:


The built environment

Human and animal lifeways

Materiality (conservation, technology and agency)

Fieldwork and data collection

Research Areas and Groups

Broadly our geographical remit is Europe and the Mediterranean world, and much of our work crosscuts period/geographical/methodological boundaries. We have grouped our research into a number of periods and areas of particular strength:

The European Mesolithic and Neolithic

Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain

Early and later Medieval Europe

Early Materials, Technology and Conservation

Mediterranean and Near Eastern Archaeology

The Archaeology of Wales