Institute of Archaeology


Prof Kevin MacDonald

Professor of African Archaeology

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
1st Sep 1994

Research summary

Historical Anthropology of African Political Traditions; Oral Traditions; The African Diaspora; Pottery Analysis; Lithics Analysis; Archaeozoology; African Pastoralism and its Development; Historical Archaeology.

- Co-Director of the Cane River African Diaspora Archaeological Project in collaboration with Dr David Morgan of the US National Park Service.

- Co-Director of Projet Waalo: historical and archaeological research on the settlement geography of Waalo with Dr Ibrahima Thiaw of IFAN, Dakar. The period covered ranges from AD 1000 to the 1850s.

Teaching summary

Kevin is Professor of African Archaeology and has taught undergraduate & post-graduate modules on all aspects of African, North American, and World Archaeology at the Institute over the past three decades. He currently teaches the undergraduate World Archaeology core module.


University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1994
Rice University, Houston
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1989


Kevin C. MacDonald (born Galveston Island, Texas, USA) is Director of the Institute of Archaeology where he has taught since completing his PhD at Cambridge in 1994. He has worked in Mali for more than thirty years on field projects ranging from the Historic Era to the Late Stone Age, principally in the Gourma, Méma, Haute Vallée and Segou regions. Since 2000, he has also worked on the archaeology and history of the African Diaspora in Louisiana and on the survey and excavation of Tichitt Tradition sites in the Dhar Nema region of Mauritania. Currently his research in West Africa focuses on the settlement landscapes and oral traditions of Waalo in Senegal. MacDonald's analytical specialities include the historical anthropology of political traditions, ceramics analysis, archaeozoology, and the study of earthen structures. He has over 100  research publications, with five books including Ethnic Ambiguity and the African Past: Materiality, History and the Shaping of Cultural Identities (co-edited with François Richard, 2015),  Slavery in Africa: Archaeology and Memory (co-edited with Paul Lane, 2011) and African Re-Genesis: Confronting Social Issues in the Diaspora (co-edited with Jay Haviser, 2006). He is President of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists (SAfA) and co-editor of the Routledge journal Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa.