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Our research – University of Reading

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  • World-leading research

    First the UK for internationally excellent research publications in archaeology

Our research

We are one of the world's best centres for archaeological research. Our strength lies in combining scientific techniques with more traditional social approaches to explore the past – and to address modern global challenges.

Our research is transforming how we look at everything from the impact of climate change on societies, to changes in the onset of puberty. We can even use archaeological data to help inform discussions about migration and identity, and issues at the core of current events such as the exodus from Syria.

A reputation for excellence

We have an excellent track record in attracting funding from research councils, charities, learned bodies, government and industry, and our staff include some of the most influential researchers in the discipline. Four of our senior academics are Fellows of the British Academy (FBA) the UK's national body for the humanities and social sciences which means we have more in-post FBAs than any other archaeology department in the country.

renowned for archaeological research

97% of our research was judged to be of international standing in the latest Research Excellence Framework, 2014.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published the results of its REF 2014 on 18 December 2014. The REF is the method for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions approximately every six years.

Expert peer review confirmed 81% of our research scored within the 4* (world-leading) and 3* (internationally excellent) categories, in a competitive field of more than twenty submissions. Our grade point average was 3.08, well above the sector mean, with outstanding scores in outputs (31.9% at 4*) and environment (62.5% at 4*).

For more information on the University's results, please see: Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

Research topics

While supporting individual research, our strategy stresses the investigation of major topics:

  • agricultural development, diet and food supply
  • disease, ageing and death
  • cultural diversity, identity and material culture
  • landscapes of cult and devotion
  • human-environment interactions, human responses to climate change.

Research within these topics is guided through our four research clusters, maximising the strengths of social and scientific approaches that are distinctive to the discipline of archaeology. Our archaeological research enhances the University-wide research themes of Environment, Food, Health, Heritage and Creativity, and Prosperity and Resilience, with archaeological research into diet, health, agriculture, food storage and palaeoclimate contributing to the University's world-leading research on these topics.

Through internal and external collaborations, an active programme of conferences, and national and international research partnerships, Archaeology at Reading is productively engaged in the shaping and pursuit of contemporary research agendas in world archaeology.

Research clusters

See our research cluster pages for more about Archaeology research projects:

Archaeology staff also contribute to the:

Archaeological Science facilities

Scientific archaeology at Reading is underpinned with state-of-the-art facilities in bioarchaeology, stable isotopes and geochemistry, geoarchaeology, archaeobotany and paleoclimatology.

Our research community

Our research community is a rich mix of academic researchers, research fellows, postdoctoral research assistants and postgraduate research students.

Additionally, ours is the only archaeology department in England that holds an Athena SWAN silver award, which recognises our focus on gender equality.


Join our community

Are you interested in collaborating with us?

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