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The University of Southampton
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Dr Ben Chan 

Research Fellow

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Dr Ben Chan is a Research Fellow within Archaeology at the University of Southampton.

I specialise in the Neolithic archaeology of Britain, focusing on the analysis of stone tools, and the role of material practices in the social reproduction of prehistoric societies. After receiving my PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2003 I went on to hold post-doctoral positions on the Stonehenge Riverside Project (at the University of Manchester) and the Feeding Stonehenge Project (at the University of Sheffield), both funded by the AHRC. In 2013 I won a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship, which was based in the Laboratory for Artefact Studies in the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University. I am currently working on the AHRC-funded Living with Monuments Project, which investigates settlement and related activities in the Avebury region from the 4th to 2nd millennia BC. I have also worked extensively within commercial archaeology and have held positions as an archaeological consultant to the Antiquities and Monuments Office in Hong Kong, and as an Assistant Heritage Protection Adviser within English Heritage.

Research interests

The main focus of my research is on macroscopic (techno-typological) and microscopic (use-wear) analyses of stone tools. I use these approaches to investigate the role that technology played within prehistoric societies, and more specifically, to investigate the manner in which craft and subsistence activities bound societies together. Within the context of Neolithic Britain these interests have led to an interest in the broader setting in which gatherings at prehistoric monuments occurred. Were monument complexes used by local populations, or widespread communities? What things did people do when they were gathered at monuments? I have addressed these questions through the analysis of the ploughsoil assemblages of the Stonehenge landscape. The necessarily coarse narrative that this analysis produced was refined significantly through my subsequent work on the assemblages of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, particularly the analysis of material from the Neolithic village at Durrington Walls. The latter involved the detailed analysis of the choreography of material practices within a Neolithic settlement. I explored this theme in greater depth during my Marie Curie Fellowship through the use-wear analysis of stone tools from the Neolithic settlements of the Braes of Ha’Breck and Barnhouse in Orkney. My work for the Living with Monuments Project will allow my research to once again address the full range of varied and often ephemeral traces that typify the settlement record of Southern Britain. It is my continued belief that if we attend to these understudied sources of evidence we can repopulate the land between the monuments. The Living with Monuments Project will provide long-needed research into the settlement history of the Avebury landscape, and provide insightful comparisons with the contemporary inhabitation of the Stonehenge environs.


Research project(s)

Living with Monuments: life and cultural landscape between the 4th and 2nd millennia BC in the Avebury region, Wiltshire

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Dr Ben Chan
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus, Highfield
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom

Room Number : 65A/3015

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