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  • Dr Sarah Byrne
  • Honorary Research Associate
  • s.byrne@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Sarah Byrne

Sarah Byrne received her BA in Archaeology and English at the National University of Ireland, Galway (1999) and subsequently worked on archaeological projects in Ireland, UK, Australia and Papua New Guinea. As part of her MA in Artefact Studies at UCL (2002), she researched the Pacific collections amassed by Alfred Court Haddon at the Horniman Museum (1902-15).

Her doctoral research (2003-2008) focused on the long-term histories of stone monuments and rock art on Uneapa Island, Papua New Guinea.  After her PhD, Sarah worked in local history publishing and a number of community heritage projects including leading a Heritage Lottery Funded oral history project.

Her main research focus is on Pacific Island material culture. She has worked with the British Museum, helping co-ordinate programmes for the Melanesia Project which involved source communities visiting the collections and assessing their contemporary relevance. From 2010 to 2012 she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at UCL researching collections from the Banks Islands (Vanuatu) in UK Museums, focusing specifically on the Melanesian Mission. Sarah is currently Project Coordinator on the Collections People Stories project at the Horniman Museum.

Research Interests

  • Theories of social practice
  • Relationship between archaeology and anthropology
  • Community heritage
  • Indigenous representation in museums
  • The role of oral history in museums
  • Relationship between memory and materiality
  • Digital anthropology
  • Pacific ethnographic collections
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Relationship between architecture and artefact
  • Actor-network theory

Research Directory Records

  • Byrne, S. 2013. Rock Art as Material Culture: A Case Study on Uneapa Island, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Archaeology in Oceania, 48: 63–77.
  • Harrison, R. Byrne, S., Clarke, A. (eds.) 2013. Reassembling the Collection: Ethnographic Museums and Indigenous Agency. SAR Press, New Mexico.
  • Byrne, S. 2013.  Exposing the ‘heart’ of the museum- the archaeological sensibility in the storeroom. In Reassembling the Collection: Ethnographic Museums and Indigenous Agency. SAR Press, New Mexico.
  • Byrne, S. 2012. Voicing the Museum Artefact. Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies. 10(1): 23-34.
  • Byrne, S. and Hudek, A. 2012. Voice in the Museum. Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies. 10 (1).
  • Byrne, S. March 2012. Community Archaeology as Knowledge Management: Reflections from Uneapa Island, Papua New Guinea. Public Archaeology, 11 (1): 26-52.
  • Byrne, S., Clarke, A., Harrison, R. and Torrence, R. (eds.) 2011. Unpacking the collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum, One World Archaeology Series, Springer.
  • Byrne, S., Clarke, A., Harrison, R. and Torrence, R. (eds.) 2011. Networks, Agents and Objects: Frameworks for Unpacking Museum Collections, In Unpacking the collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum, pp. 3-26.
  • Byrne, S. 2011. Trials and Traces: A. C. Haddon’s Agency as Museum Curator . In Unpacking the collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum, pp. 306-25. One World Archaeology Series, Springer.
  • Byrne, S., 2005. Recent Survey and Excavation of the Monumental Complexes on Uneapa Island, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Papers of the Institute of Archaeology, 16:95-102.

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