Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Organisation profile

Organisation profile

Welcome to the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol. We are an international department dedicated to the study of humankind in the past and the present. Anthropology and Archaeology have been studied at the University of Bristol since its foundation in 1876, and the Department was formed in 2004 to unite the fields. 

The Department recognises Anthropology and Archaeology as fields, and field practices, that bridge disciplines and offer a creative and common space for dialogue and exchanges between the humanities, social and natural sciences. We are proud to offer, uniquely in Britain, the fields of Social Anthropology, Biological AnthropologyLinguistic Anthropology and Archaeology within a single academic Department.  

Our research clusters include revealing human lifeways; cultural and biological evolution; and materialities, identities and memory. These are reflected in our department’s research themes: adversity, adaptation and globalisation. Our research embraces the classic anthropological approaches of fieldwork, ethnography and comparative work, and we have a strong tradition in anthropological and archaeological sciences: phylogenetics and data science, as well as high-spec lab facilities for imaging, archaeological chemistry, and high precision radiocarbon dating. Cross-disciplinary skills and approaches are central in our recent research initiatives in creative anthropology, evolutionary anthropology and scientific archaeology and anthropology.  

Our research tackles some of the key challenges of our contemporary world. For example, how extractive industries and urbanisation are affecting societies in Amazonia, and how the drugs trade is impacting upon East Africa. We have a strong ethos of engaged and participatory research, with projects using animations and photography in collaborative methodologies. Our research is also changing policy and practice beyond academia, in such varied contexts as the Vietnamese museum sector, andevelopment practice across rural Sub-Saharan Africa.  

The Department is a centre of excellence in teaching and maintains an internationally recognised research reputation. International and local fieldwork opportunities often arise from our broad geographical base, which ranges from Avon to Amazonia, and from the Palaeolithic to the present day. Currently members of staff are directing fieldwork and research projects in the UK, Mediterranean, East Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. We also have strong interests in the Bristol area, and students have opportunities to get involved in Bristol networks and initiatives from drugs charities to city farms. Our graduate students are actively involved in a range of anthropological projects working overseas, as well as those local to Bristol.  

The relatively small size of the Department means there is a friendly and informal atmosphere. Undergraduates, graduates and staff have many opportunities to work and socialise together, through seminars, fieldtrips and fieldwork. There is also the student-organised Archaeology & Anthropology Society, which hosts a lively series of guest lectures on anthropological topics each year. 



Dive into the research topics where Department of Anthropology and Archaeology is active. These topic labels come from the works of this organisation's members. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or