Research strengths

Archaeology at York presents a model for the integration of science and the humanities. Our research strengths reflect our ambitions to pioneer research into the natural and built environment, its management & sustainability; to be a centre of excellence for the interpretation and management of cultural heritage around the world; to develop new digital methods to make archaeological data sustainable and accessible and to effectively integrate the latest bioscience technologies across the humanities.


The Bioarchaeology research cluster, led by staff based in our collaborative bioarchaeology research facility BioArCh, brings together Archaeology, Biology and Chemistry and offers a unique concentration of expertise in human palaeoecology and environmental archaeology, with internationally recognised strengths in mammals and birds, soils, proteins, lipids and DNA.


Led by the Archaeology Data Service, our Digital Archaeology research cluster is primarily concerned with ways in which internet and digital technologies impact on communications and the ordering of knowledge within archaeology and related disciplines.


Research in Prehistory & Human Evolution at York spans from our primate ancestors to the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic-Neolithic and periods of Later Prehistory. Specialisations include subsistence and shell middens, colonisations and migrations, coastal and submerged prehistory, taphonomy, cognitive and social evolution, and soils.

null Medieval & Historical Archaeology covers Classical, Medieval, Historical and Contemporary periods. Specialisms range from landscape to the built environment and from a European focus to the global networks that include Islamic Africa and the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean and Americas. 

Heritage & Conservation research at York is focused on the social and cultural relevance of heritage; why it matters to society and how diverse communities can benefit from it.

Research themes in Theory & Practice and Material Cultures cut across our five research clusters.
null Our research into Theory & Practice investigates innovative approaches to fieldwork, looks at the design of regional research frameworks and seeks out new links with the commercial sector. Theoretical ecology provides a valuable paradigm for developing new models in bioarchaeology, and rethinking archaeological taphonomy takes the practice of zooarchaeology in new directions. We are also in the vanguard of institutions developing innovative technologies for the recording of the archaeological process, the preservation of data and the dissemination of archaeological knowledge. 
Viking comb We have a wealth of expertise in the field of Material Cultures research. As an internationally renowned centre for Medieval and post-Medieval studies, we have been in the vanguard of work on the archaeology of commemoration, the inhabitation of religious and secular architectures, and the role of artefacts in the construction of social identities. These themes are carried through to the study of the more recent past, with major projects including the more dramatic ‘Big Science’ projects of the 20th century.