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Dr Rebecca Ellis-Haken
Postdoctoral Research Associate



Reb obtained her first class undergraduate degree in Archaeology and Heritage Studies from the University of Worcester in 2014, and completed her MA in Archaeology part-time at the University of Bradford between 2015-2017, where she was first introduced to La Tène studies.

Through a successful funding application to the Heritage Consortium, Reb was able to pursue her PhD at the University of Hull, along with a post-graduate certificate in Heritage Research (2018-2022). Her PhD focused on the use of genuinely figurative animals in the La Tène period art of England and Wales (c. 400BC - AD100). This study treated art as data, and aimed to test several theories regarding animal symbolism which had been developed by other researchers over the decades. As well as developing several new artefact typologies, this work also included an assessment of the contribution and potential of Portable Antiquities Scheme data (portable tangible heritage) to Iron Age artefact studies.

Reb has fifteen years experience in taking part and running community archaeology activities, and has been part of several fieldwork projects over the years. She continues to aid in community archaeology activities where possible with the Roman Roads Research Association.


Prior to York, Reb worked for the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a Finds Liaison Assistant, and continues to advise the Scheme on animal and human figurative finds of the period. She has also previously completed a number of artefact photography projects, most notably on the Marlborough Bucket (the second most figuratively decorated vessel in Iron Age Europe).



Reb’s research focus is on the development, changes and use of both abstract and figurative art, and its social role, in mid-to-late Iron Age Britain and the Near Continent (c. 400BC - AD100). In recent years this has been concentrating on the politically tumultuous first centuries BC and AD in England and Wales, with an increasing focus on Iron Age coinage. This is seated within a general interest in art and artefact studies ranging from the Neolithic to the Roman periods.



Ellis-Haken, R. and Lamb, A.W (2024) An Iron Age anthropoid sword pommel and guard from Belton, North Lincolnshire: A potential depiction of a bearded or female figure on a La Tène weapon. Études Celtiques, 49(1), 9-30.


Ellis-Haken, R. (2023) Ducks corvids and buckets: Birds in the La Tène period art of England and Wales; in: E. Wamenbol and J. Cao-Van (eds.) Les Celtes et les oiseaux: Archaeologie et iconographie (des Proto-Celtes aux Gallo-Romains), Musee des Celtes/SBED editions: 69-80.

Ellis-Haken, R. (2023) The Marlborough Bucket: A new analysis of imagery within the artistic context of Late Iron Age and Southern Britain. Wiltshire Archaeology & Natural History Magazine, 116(1), 143-166.


Ellis-Haken, R.L (2022) The Marlborough Bucket: A symbol of alliances? British Archaeology, NovemberDecember edition, 40-45.


Ellis, R.L. (2021) “So it begins” A personal view of UK Archaeology. The Pipeline, 7th July [online]. Available at:

Ellis, R.L. (2021) A Day in the Life of Many – The Importance of Archaeology to Society. Council for British Archaeology: A Day in Archaeology, 28th July. Available online: 

Ellis, R.L. (2021) The Figurative Amongst the Abstract: new PhD research into Late Iron Age art. PAST Newsletter of The Prehistoric Society 99(1), 11-13.


Ellis, R.L. (2020) Seen but not ‘herd’: Animals in La Tène art in England and Wales. In K. Kaercher et al. (eds) New Frontiers in Archaeology: Proceedings of the Cambridge Annual Student Archaeology Conference 2019, 178-193. Oxford: Archaeopress.


Ellis, R.L. (2019) A cosmetic mortar reanalysed: Implications for the classification of artefacts within the study of early Celtic art in England and Wales. Later Prehistoric Finds Group Newsletter 14(1), 3-6.

Ellis, R.L. and Lamb, A.W. (2019) The Breckland Beast: An Iron Age Zoomorphic Terminal with Implications for our understanding of artistic influences during the Iron Age in Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology 48(2), 165-173.


Cults of the Head? The Dean Hall Temple carvings in context

The remarkable collection of carved stone heads from Dean Hall Roman Temple in Gloucestershire represents a unique corpus of vernacular Late Iron Age/Romano-British art. Unlike previous examples, which have usually been isolated finds, devoid of context, the Dean Hall corpus forms a unitary assemblage from a long-lived religious site, set in a spectacular location overlooking the River Severn. This project examines the meaning and significance of these heads in the context of vernacular art, cosmology and ritual in Late Iron Age/Roman Britain and NW Europe: a pivotal period of social, cultural and religious change.

External activities


  • Later Prehistoric Finds Group (member)
  • Prehistoric Society (member)
  • Yorkshire Archaeological Society - Prehistoric Section (Committee Member)

Invited talks and conferences



Art and data: The Portable Antiquities Scheme and its contribution to the story of La Tène period art in England and Wales.

Portable Antiquities Scheme Conference 2023: The contribution of detector finds to archaeology


Wiltshire Museum, Devizes; “The Marlborough Bucket.”


Council of British Archaeology Yorkshire Branch Fireside chat; “One person’s junk, another’s treasure: Tips and tricks on dealing with archaeological finds in the community.”

Gallische Hoeve Museum (Belgium); “Imagination, Landscape and Connection: The use of bird imagery in the La Tène art of Britain and its connections to Europe”.

Hoxne Community Group; “La Tène art in East Anglia: An introduction to the regionally specific artefact classes and animal forms.”


East Riding Archaeological Society (invited); “The ‘Celtic’ Menagerie: animals and humans in Late Iron Age art and their story in Yorkshire.”



Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Conference: The contribution of detector finds to archaeology [invited]: “Art and Data: the Portable Antiquity Scheme and its contribution to the story of La Tène period art in England and Wales.”


Later Prehistoric Finds Group Conference; “The Marlborough Bucket: Photo-stacking and new findings.” 


Iron Age Research Student Symposium; “Animals and Humans in La Tène Art: Results of a data-driven approach in England and Wales.”

Later Prehistoric Finds Group Symposium; “Narrative and performance in art: New interpretations of Iron Age Buckets”.

Celtes et Oiseaux II Conference Proceedings (Belgium); “Birds in the La Tène period art of England and Wales.”


Iron Age Student Research Symposium; “The European Menagerie: Animals and humans in La Tène art in England and Wales and their continental counterparts.”

Later Prehistoric FInds Group Online Symposium; “A warrior’s emblem or part of the feast? Boars and pigs in La Tène art in England and Wales.”

Reb Ellis-Haken stood in front of ruins

Contact details

Dr Rebecca Ellis-Haken
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor