Professor John Hunter

Professor John Hunter

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Emeritus Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology

Contact details

Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

John Hunter was appointed Professor of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham in 1996. As well as undertaking archaeological research and survey in Scottish islands for over 35 years, he developed forensic archaeology in 1988 and has worked with police forces in the UK and overseas ever since. He has written over a dozen academic books including three on forensics. His most recent, Ritual in Bronze Age Grave Goods and The Small Isles, on historic landscapes, appeared in 2013 and 2016 respectively. His current interests concern island landscapes, social change and diaspora. He was awarded an OBE for services to scholarship.


  • BA (Dunelm)
  • PhD (Dunelm)
  • MCIfA (Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists)
  • FCSFS (Fellow of the Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences)
  • FSA (Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries)  


Forensically he has been involved operationally throughout the UK in over 200 homicides, has also worked in Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Iraq and the Falklands and routinely lectures to police and forensic professionals. He helped found the Forensic Search Advisory Group, was a lead assessor for the former Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners (CRFP), and was primary in setting up the current validation system for forensic archaeology within the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. He currently chairs the Expert Panel of Forensic Archaeologists

John Hunter was also a Royal Commissioner on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, is an appointee of the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England at Worcester Cathedral and sits on the National History Museum Scientific Advisory Panel (human remains). His most recent interests, however, concern landscapes and social change in Scottish islands. 


  • Hunter J.R. 1986. Rescue Excavations on the Brough of Birsay 1974-82, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series 4.
  • Hunter, J.R. and Ralston, I.B.M. 1993. Archaeological Resource Management in the UK, Stroud: Sutton Publishing.
  • Hunter, J.R., Roberts C, and Martin, A. 1996. A Studies in Crime: an Introduction to Forensic Archaeology, Batsford.
  • Hunter, J.R. 1996. Fair Isle: the Archaeology of an Island Community, HMSO, 1996.
  • Hunter, J.R. 1997. A Persona for the Northern Picts, Groam House Lecture, Rosemarkie. 
  • Hunter, J.R. and Heyworth, M. 1998. The Hamwic Glass, CBA Research Report, York.
  • Hunter, J.R. and Ralston, I.B.M. 1999. The Archaeology of Britain, Routledge.
  • Hunter, J.R. and Cox, M. 2005. Forensic Archaeology: Advances in Theory and Practice, Routledge
  • Hunter, J.R. and Ralston, I.B.M. 2007. Archaeological Resource Management in the UK, Stroud: Sutton Publishing. 2nd edition.
  • Hunter, J.R. 2007. Investigations in Sanday, Orkney. Vol 1. Historic Scotland.
  • Hunter, J.R. and Ralston, I.B.M. 2009. The Archaeology of Britain, Routledge (second edition).
  • Woodward, A, and Hunter, J.R. 2011. Prehistoric Stone Bracers from Britain. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Hunter, J.R, Simpson, B and Sturdy-Colls, C. 2013. Forensic Approaches to Buried Remains. Wiley.
  • Woodward, A, and Hunter, J.R. 2015. Ritual in Early Bronze Age Grave Goods. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Hunter , J.R. 2016. The Small Isles. Edinburgh: Historic Environment Scotland.