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UK Fellow, Section H7, 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
Professor Stephen Shennan FBA 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
  • Director, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, University College London, 2005
  • Lecturer, University of Southampton, 1978
  • Professor of Theoretical Archaeology, University College London, 1996


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 Susan Alcock

Classical archaeology; the material culture of the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia, particularly in Hellenistic and Roman times; archaeologies of landscape, imperialism, sacred space, and memory

Dr Leonardo López Luján

The politics, religion, and art of Pre-Columbian urban societies in Central Mexico; the history and development of Mesoamerican archaeology

Professor Charlotte Roberts

Studies archaeological human remains; her key research interests are contextual approaches to past human health (palaeopathology); ethical considerations and and human remains; the relevance of past health to contemporary health; evolutionary approaches to the origin and history of infectious diseases; big data projects in palaeopathology; public engagement

Professor Matthew Collins

Biomolecular archaeology; interdisciplinary approaches for the recovery and interpretation of molecular signals from ancient materials, with a specific focus on proteins and their breakdown products

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