UCL Anthropology


Chris Tilley

Chris Tilley Photo

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 8635

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632

E-mail: c.tilley@ucl.ac.uk

Room: 124

PhD, Archaeology and Anthropology,
University of Cambridge

Professor of Anthropology & Archaeology


General Interests

Archaeology, material culture and social identity

He has written a number of books on archaeological theory exploring the relations between hermeneutic, structuralist and post-structuralist perspectives and material culture.

Current Research

My research falls into two main areas (i) the exploration of different theoretical perspectives in relation to the study of material culture and (ii) the relationship of these perspectives to the study of substantive archaeological and ethnographic data sets. These concerns are reflected in my publications.

Theoretically I have explored the use and value of structuralist, post-structuralist, Marxist, hermeneutic and phenomenological perspectives. My substantive analyses have been very broad and wide ranging including the following:

  • studies of museums and tourism
  • modern material culture
  • contemporary and prehistoric landscapes, topography and monuments
  • Bronze Age Scandinavian rock art
  • The Neolithic in south Scandinavia, Brittany, Britain and Malta
  • Artefact construction, ethnicity, heritage and identity in the western Pacific (Vanuatu)
  • Landscape and installation art
  • Contemporary residential gardens and gardening in Sweden and England. 

Recently I have been engaged in three major areas of substantive research activity:

  • The Leskernick (Bodmin Moor) archaeology and landscape project involving the excavation and field survey of a Bronze Age village and its relationship to the surrounding landscape in the past and present. Fieldwork completed in 1999. Monograph in final stages of preparation.
  • Landscape and monumentality in prehistoric Europe. Studies in Conwall, (Neolithic to Iron Age monuments) Brittany (menhirs), southern Sweden (Bronze Age rock carvings and cairns) and Malta (Neolithic Temples) Book in Press.
  • A comparative ethnographic study of residential gardens and gardening in Sweden and England. Swedish field research completed. First stage of English research to be completed by August 2003. Preparation of first book planned after that.

My current research is as follows:

  • I am beginning to research the second of three projected volumes in Landscape Phenomenology. This will be concerned with the relationship of art to landscape and will involve ethnographic and archaeological studies.
  • I am working on a small project involving the study of Iron Age monuments in selected landscapes of south-west England.
  • I am continuing my major ethnographic study of residential gardens and gardening in England.

Undergraduate Teaching

I currently teach two undergraduate courses in the Department of Anthropology:

  • Material Culture and Social Theory. This is a broad ranging course covering theoretical and philosophical approaches to the study of material forms. Includes structuralist, post-structuralist, phenomenological and biographical approaches to things
  • Material Culture and Social Identity. This course considers in detail the relationship between places, landscapes, material forms and the construction of social identies. Includes ethnographgic studies of nationalism and materiality, heritage and tourism, landscape and place, conceptualizations of nature and culture, material forms in Melanesia and the south Pacific

Masters Teaching

I co-teach with others members of the Material Culture staff the MA in Material and Visual Culture

PhD Supervision

I am currently principal supervisor for twelve students:

Henry Broughton - Research on locality and place in Fowey, Cornwall
Arsim Canolli - Behind open doors: the social significance of food in Kosova
Matt Cochran - Research on shopping malls and the historic center of Annapolis, USA
Eli Collis - Research on relationships to place in Kalkan, Turkey
Agnes Hennebique - Research on photography in the home
Andreas Ioannou - Research on Icons and modern Greek Identity
Chris Kuepper - Research on Balinese painting and the art market in Bali
Paula Mota Santos - Research on social identity, materiality and belonging in Porto's historic centre, Portugal
Layla Renshaw - Research on foresenic archaeology and the interpretation of human remains
Anna-Lisa Runnarsdottir - Research on domestic spaces in Tonga
Esther Solomon - Research on Knossos and Cretan identity
Sarah Turner - Research on art and landscape in the Neolithic of Brittany 

The following students have recently completed their Ph.D. theses and received their doctorates under my supervision:

Rima Bartlett (2001) 'Bringing the bright land into being: seeding and feeding space and place in Hawaii'
Paul Basu (2002) 'Homecomings: Genealogy, heritage-tourism and identity in the Scottish Highland diaspora'
Andrew Garner (2002) 'Contemporary forest landscapes in Britain: ownership, environmentalism and leisure'
Pauline Garvey (2002)' Decorative order: normativity and transgression in the Norwegian home'
Haidy Geismar (2003) 'Museums, markets and material culture: prestations and presentations in Vanuatu, south-west Pacific'
Patrick Laviolette (2003) 'Meaning towards metaphor: creating and contesting identity through Cornish landscape forms'
Astrid Lindenlauf (2000) 'Waste management in ancient Greece'
John Postill (2000) 'The domestic and social significance of television among the Iban of Sarawak, Malaysia'
Eleana Yalouri (2000) 'Global fame, local claim: The Ath