Research in Archaeology

Photograph of mosaic from Villa SileneResearch at Birmingham is loosely structured under broad headings reflecting the diverse interests of the archaeology group within Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham.

Chronologically, we explore some of the earliest settlements and landscapes through cutting-edge research in regions inundated after the last ice age, examine the major civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean world and the contemporary societies in Britain and northern Europe from the Mesolithic to the early Middle Ages and unravel the complex archaeology of industrial societies in the modern age.

Our work is conducted through traditional applied technologies, such as material culture studies or pollen analysis but is also cutting edge in applying visualisation technologies and powerful computer modelling to reconstruct the past in imaginative and innovative ways.

Thematically, our work can be characterised under the following headings, details of which can be displayed on clicking the titles below:

Urbanism

Explored through the classical Greek and Roman World, researching how cities have evolved and changed over time and under the impact of the varying demands of societies. Our scale of study can be on the micro level through urban excavation through to non-invasive technologies to explore whole cities.

Landscapes

A major focus, whether through visualising lost landscapes, reconstructing past environments or exploring the perception of monuments now and in the past. Our research examines too the impact of the modern world on the sustainability of ancient landscapes.

Cultures

A central concern in all areas of archaeological study within the IAA is the interpretation of past societies and cultural practices through surviving material remains. Period specialisms range from the Neolithic and Bronze Age of Britain and north-west Europe, to classical Greek and Roman societies and early medieval states in Europe and the Mediterranean.

Heritage

Investigates how is the past perceived by society, and who has the power to manipulate the survival and interpretation of the past. This might be through the examination of battlefields, or how societies may use heritage to build national identities, or foster economic growth through tourism.

Material studies

Archaeology is ultimately a material-based approach to the past, exploring, researching and reconstructing the past through surviving objects, whether that is the extraordinary and unusual material in the Staffordshire hoard, or the apparently mundane study of pottery or flint.