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  • Donald Henson
  • Honorary Lecturer
  • d.henson@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Donald Henson

Don Henson originally specialised in the study of prehistoric flint tools, but then moved into public archaeology and heritage education. He was Head of Education at the Council for British Archaeology until 2011 and is now involved in research in public archaeology, the archaeological landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales, as well as the history of Anglo-Saxon England and early medieval Britain. His interest in public heritage covers both theoretical issues of public engagement with the past, and practical issues of narrative creation and communication within heritage, and the place of heritage within formal education. He has a keen interest in the portrayal of the past and of archaeology on television and in feature films, and in the use of audio-visual media in communicating archaeology to diverse audiences. He also believes that heritage enriches children's education and believes firmly in supporting schools’ engagement with heritage and archaeology.

He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA), a Member of the Institute for Archaeologists (MIfA) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Other positions he holds include:

  • Hon. Director, CASPAR (Centre for Audio-Visual Study and Practice in Archaeology) at UCL,
  • Academic Associate for Archaeology with the Higher Education Academy,
  • Trustee of the Yorkshire Dales Landscape Research Trust,
  • Chair of the World Archaeological Congress Public Education,
  • Member of the National Trust Learning and Engagement Panel,
  • Member of the York Archaeological Trust General Advisory Council,
  • Judge for the Sandford Heritage Education Awards,
  • Learning Adviser, Historic Houses Association.

Research Interests

  • Public archaeology
  • Heritage education
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Early medieval Britain


  • 2012 Doing archaeology, Routledge
  • 2006 The origins of the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Books
  • 2004 Education and the historic environment, Routledge (with P G Stone & M Corbishley)
  • 2001 The English elite in 1066: gone but not forgotten, Anglo-Saxon Books
  • 1999 Guide to archaeology in higher education, CBA
  • 1998 A guide to late Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon Books
  • 1997 Archaeology in the English national curriculum, CBA

Published conference papers

  • 2013 ‘Romanes eunt domus?’, in N Mills (ed.) 2013 Presenting the Romans: interpreting the frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site: 139-146, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge
  • 2011 ‘Does archaeology matter?’, in G Moshenska & S Dhanjal (eds.) Community archaeology: themes, methods and practices: 123-130, Oxford University Press
  • 2011 ‘The educational purpose of archaeology: a personal view from the United Kingdom’, in A Matsuda & K Okamura (eds.) New perspectives in global public archaeology: 217-226, Springer
  • 2009 ‘Friend or enemy? Community archaeology in the United Kingdom’, in P Gonzalez Marcen (ed.) Patrimoni, identitati ciutadania: un nou paper per a l'arqueologia i la historia, Treballs d'Arqueologia 15: 43-49, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
  • 2009 ‘Bonekickers: informing, educating, entertaining?’, in S Lemaitre & C Schall (eds.) How do the media represent archaeology, what is at stake?: 31-44 (with G Bailey & A Piccini)
  • 2006 ‘Television archaeology: education or entertainment?’, Institute of Historical Research conference publications http://www.history.ac.uk/education/conference/henson.html
  • 2006 ‘The educational value of archaeology’, in J-C Marquet, C Pathy-Barker & C Cohen (eds.) Archaeology and education: from primary school to university, British Archaeological Reports International Series (BAR S) 1505: 35-39, Archaeopress, Oxford (with A Bodley & M Heyworth)

6 others since 1989


  • 2011 ‘Education is a central issue for all archaeologists’, British Archaeology 119: 64-65
  • 2010 ‘An anti-Pagan edict brings Britons and Saxons together’, BBC History Magazine 11 (10), October 2010: 29
  • 2010 ‘The academy and the public’, in I Russell & S Koerner (eds.) Unquiet pasts: risk society, lived cultural heritage, re-designing reflexivity: 209-222, Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate
  • 2010 ‘Chronicle: a glimpse of TV heaven’, Viewfinder: 14-15
  • 2009 ‘What on earth is archaeology?’, in E Waterton & L Smith (eds.) Taking archaeology out of heritage: 117-135, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • 2009 ‘In my view: the true end of archaeology?’, Primary History 51: 7-8

28 others since 1985

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