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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of HumanitiesOur research

Research themes

Archaeology is structured around research centres, units and discrete research groups, and also around four broad research themes. Members of the various themes, centres and other groups are all engaged in collaborative research and teaching activity that crosses these divisions.

Classical and historical archaeology

Classical and historical archaeology is a key focus within Archaeology. Within our general interest in questions of social and cultural change, we are currently exploring specific issues such as the structure and organisation of the Roman Empire, and broader areas such as the origins of capitalism, colonialism, social power, material culture and identity, architecture, urbanism and built space. Read more

Maritime archaeology

This theme is structured around the Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA), while drawing on expertise, teaching and research interests from across Archaeology. Maritime research in archaeology continues to be focused on the development and application of novel theoretical and practical approaches throughout the maritime sphere. Our ongoing work in areas as diverse as port studies, coastal palaeo-landscapes, medieval ship construction, and South Asian maritime ethnography demonstrate the breadth and sophistication of the work undertaken across this theme. Read more

Social prehistory (including human origins and later prehistory)

Within the theme of social prehistory we have begun to approach the ‘big questions’ of humanity and social organisation, in part through a fundamental integration of interpretive theory and science. This is manifested in our work on ethno-archaeology, material culture, memory and the body, and also in theorised applications of scientific techniques and craft skills to areas such as diet, ceramics, osteology, and the visualisation of landscape and the built environment. Read more

Theory, representation and cultural politics

Archaeology at Southampton has theoretical reflection as its focus, and engages with archaeology in its cultural, social and political context. Archaeological representation and community archaeology are as a consequence key aspects of our research and teaching. Theoretically, we concentrate in areas such as questions of social process, academic practice, gender, nationalism, the social construction of the body, and interpretatively focused artefacts science. Read more

Key facts

We have a tradition of research which is both academically and geographically diverse. This is demonstrated by our current research, which extends across the globe.

Archaeologists work collaboratively across disciplines with the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture
Medieval and Renaissance research

Southampton archaeologists uncover evidence of large ancient shipyard near Rome

University of Southampton and British School at Rome (BSR) archaeologists, leading an international excavation of Portus - the ancient port of Rome, believe they have discovered a large Roman shipyard.

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