Institute of Archaeology


Anne Best - Honorary Research Associate

Anne Best

Anne Best graduated at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, in 1994. She was subsequently a Post Graduate Research Student (British Academy Studentship 1995-1999) at the University of Southampton. Research into hunter-gatherer social systems using data from aboriginal societies in Queensland Australia was supervised by Professor Clive Gamble. Her PhD was awarded in 2000.

Since then she has developed a research interest in ethnographic objects held in museum collections. Appointed Honorary Research Assistant at the University of Queensland, 2009-2012, she joined the ISISA Project - an ARC funded, large multidisciplinary research project titled 'Isolation, Insularity and Change in Island Populations - an Interdisciplinary Study of Aboriginal Cultural Patterns in the Gulf of Carpentaria'.

From 2012-2015 awarded an Indigenous Australia Curatorial Research Fellowship at Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology where she worked with and researched the Aboriginal Australian collection of ethnographic objects held in the Peabody Museum. She remains an Associate of the Peabody Museum.

Research Interests

  • The Evolution of Human Social Systems
  • Visual Communication Systems
  • What Ethnographic Objects from Museum Collections can tell us about the people who made and used them and the people who collected them
  • Open Source Knowledge Sharing

Anne is currently working with Sue Hamilton on the design of a research project focusing on the material culture of Easter Island/Rapa Nui held in museum collections.


Selected recent publications

  • Best, A. 2012. The Aboriginal material culture of the Wellesley Islands and adjacent coast, northwest Queensland: Social and environmental factors affecting variations in style. Queensland Archaeological Research 15:1-45.
  • Best, A. 2005. The monk, the farmer, the merchant, the mother survival tales of rural Cambodia.
  • Best, A. 2003. Regional variation in the material culture of hunter gatherers social and ecological approaches to ethnographic objects from Queensland, Australia. British Archaeological Reports Ltd