Louise Cooke
Lecturer in Conservation



Louise Cooke is a conservation expert interested in sustainability, historic buildings, archaeological sites and landscapes. 

She undertook an undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham and then worked for the Museum of London Archaeology Service before joining the Archaeology Commissions team at English Heritage. In 2001 she was based in Lebanon working on the archive from the post-civil war Beirut Souks excavations. She then returned to study at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, undertaking an MA in Managing Archaeological Sites, and her PhD researching approaches to the conservation of earth structures. Her fieldwork was undertaken in Central Asia and the Middle East with particular focus on the multi-period earthen cities of Ancient Merv (Turkmenistan).

From 2006 Louise combined teaching for the Open University with a wide-ranging portfolio of freelance and project-based work including work overseas (in the UEA, Peru and Turkey) and in the UK. 
She joined the Department in York in 2016 and is involved in conservation research and projects in the UK  and overseas, most recently as an invited expert to the World Heritage Young Professionals Forum as part of the World Heritage Committee Meeting in Bahrain.



Louise is interested in the ways in which we value the past and how we pass that on to the future and the challenges posed to this by the changing climate in the 21st century.  Earth building materials show these challenges really well – their conservation isn’t ever a static ‘product’ but rather a process of managing and accepting change. Louise is interested in how this ‘process’ applies to the conservation of archaeological sites, historic buildings and landscapes – different materials and different types of building respond in different ways and in turn these provide opportunities to tell their stories and retain their significance in different ways.

Selected publications

Cooke, L. 2017. Architecture of Turkmenistan. Contribution to. Vernacular Buildings. A New World Survey S. Piesik (ed). Thames & Hudson.

Cooke, L. 2015. The heritage of earth buildings: process, substance and climate change. In. The Future of Heritage as Climates Change: Loss, Adaptation and Creativity. Harvey, D & Perry J (eds). Routledge, Key Issues in Cultural Heritage Series. p. 217-229.

Cooke, L. 2014. Earthen Architecture in Archaeological Conservation and Preservation Encyclopaedia of Global Archaeology p. 2260-2265

Fodde, E and Cooke, L. 2013. Conservation of earth structures at Al Ain Abu Dhabi. Journal of Architectural Conservation Vol. 19, Issue 3.

Cooke, L. 2012. Emerging Debates. Heritage Theory, Environment and Development. In. Heritage, a driver for development, ICOMOS’ 17th General Assembly Scientific Symposium proceedings – Part V – Session 2. Adapting to climate change and new challenges. pp. 1076-1078.

Cooke, L. 2011. The Use of Historic Photographs for the Study of Earthen Architecture. In. Ranier, L, Bass Rivera, A and Gandreau, D. Terra 2008. 10th International Conference on the Study and Conservation of Earthen Architecture February 1st-5th 2008. Bamako, Mali. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute. p.155-160.

Cooke, L. 2011. Earthen architecture in the United Kingdom. In. Terra Europae – Earthen Architecture in the European Union. Pisa, Italy: Edizioni ETS. p. 188-191.

Cooke, L, Chabenet, M, and O’Reilly, B. 2011. Earthen architecture in Northwestern Europe: Ireland, the United Kingdom and Northern France. In. Terra Europae – Earthen Architecture in the European Union. Pisa, Italy: Edizioni ETS. p. 48-63.

Cooke, L, 2010. Conservation Approaches to Earthen Architecture in Archaeological Contexts. British Archaeological Reports International Series S2147. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Cooke, L. 2008. The archaeologist’s challenge or despair: reburial at Merv, Turkmenistan. Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites. Vol. 9 No. 2, 97–112.

Cooke, L. 2007. Shir Dor Madrasa, Samarkand, Uzbekistan; Saminid Mausoleum, Bukhara, Uzbekistan; GreatKyz Kala, Merv, Turkmenistan. 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die. Quintessence, London.

Cooke, L. 2004. Earthen Building Materials and Techniques at Merv, Turkmenistan. Preprints 4th International Conference on Building with Earth. 29.-30 October 2004. Leipzig, Germany. Weimar Germany: Dachverband Lehm e.V.



Undergraduate 2nd year World Archaeology option The Invention of World Heritage

Undergraduate 3rd year World Archaeology option The Invention of World Heritage

Undergraduate 3rd year Assessed Seminar option Sustaining the Historic Environment



Postgraduate Issues in Cultural Heritage Conservation

Postgraduate Practical Building Conservation Skills

Postgraduate Heritage Protection

Postgraduate Sustainable Conservation Skills

Postgraduate Conservation Solutions

Contact details

Dr Louise Cooke
Archaeology Department
University of York
The King's Manor


External activities


Louise is an expert member of the International ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage.

Louise has been a consultant to the Abu Dhabi Association for Cultural Heritage (ADACH), Global Heritage Fund (GHF), and desk-based reviewer for ICOMOS and World Monument Fund.

In the UK Louise has undertaken work for English Heritage and others. Most recently working for the North York Moors National Park on the development of a £3.5 million HLF funded This Exploited Land Landscape Partnership Scheme which will conserve industrial ruins relating to the 19th century ironstone and railway heritage of the North York Moors.

Louise was a founder member, director and Chair of Earth Building UK. The UK and Ireland’s earth building charity.

Louise was the UK contributor to the Terra Europae Project 2011.

From 2007-2013 Louise was reviews editor for the Journal of Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites.

Blog: https://lucooke.wordpress.com/