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UK Fellow, Archaeology, elected in 2006

Professor Stephen Shennan FBA

Archaeology Prehistoric Archaeology Demography, Epidemiology and Health Prehistoric Demography Europe South America Central Europe Archaeology Eastern Europe including Russia Archaeology Northern Europe Archaeology Southern Europe Archaeology Western Europe Archaeology
Stephen Shennan profile picture

About this Fellow

Stephen Shennan is Professor of Theoretical Archaeology at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, where he was Director from 2005 to 2014. He did his undergraduate degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, where he also did his PhD, supervised by David Clarke. After Cambridge he held teaching positions at the University of Southampton before moving to University College London in 1996. He is a specialist in European prehistory but since the late 1980s his interests have been mainly focussed on exploring the use of method and theory from the study of biological evolution to understanding cultural stability and change, with a particular focus on the role of demographic factors. He has published over 100 papers and over 20 authored and edited books, including Quantifying Archaeology (2nd edition 1997), Genes, Memes and Human History (2002), Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution (edited, 2009), and most recently Connecting Networks: characterising contact by measuring lithic exchange in the European Neolithic (2015, co-edited with Tim Kerig). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Academia Europaea; he received the Rivers Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 2010 and a Shanghai Archaeological Forum Research Award in 2015.



Current post

  • Professor of Theoretical Archaeology, University College London

Past Appointments

  • Lecturer to Professor, University of Southampton, 1978 - 1996
  • Director, Institute of Archaeology, UCL, 2005 - 2014
  • Professor of Theoretical Archaeology, University College London, 1996 - 1970
  • Director, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, University College London, 2005 - 1970
  • Lecturer, University of Southampton, 1978 - 1970
  • Professor of Theoretical Archaeology, University College London, 1996 - 1970


Regional population collapse followed initial agriculture booms in mid-Holocene Europe (with S.S. Downey, A. Timpson, K. Edinborough, S. Colledge, T. Kerig, K. Manning & M.G. Thomas) Nature Communications 4:e2486 2013


Late Pleistocene Demography and the Appearance of Modern Human Behavior (with A. Powell and M. Thomas) Science 324: 1298-1301 2009


Property and wealth inequality as cultural niche construction Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366: 918–926 2011


Genes, Memes and Human History: Darwinian Archaeology and Cultural Evolution 2002


Quantifying Archaeology 1988, 1997 (2nd edition)


Demography and Cultural Innovation: a model and some implications for the emergence of modern human culture Cambridge Archaeological Journal 2001


Other Archaeology Fellows

Professor Robert Foley

Human evolution: the evolutionary ecology of extinct hominins; the evolution of human behaviour and culture; prehistory and archaeology of early human populations; evolutionary theory in archaeology and anthropology.

Professor John Blair

The society, culture and landscape of early medieval England, especially the Church and parochial organisation; historical and archaeological sources and approaches

Professor Roberta Gilchrist

Medieval and social archaeology, particularly gender and religion; burial, magic and religious communities, including nunneries, monasteries, hospitals, Norwich Cathedral and Glastonbury Abbey

Professor Martin Bell

Prehistoric environmental archaeology with a particular emphasis on coastal wetland and intertidal environments especially in the Severn Estuary. Wider interests in archaeological science including geoarchaeology and experimental archaeology