Institute of Archaeology

Prof Kevin Macdonald

Prof Kevin Macdonald

Professor of African Archaeology

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
1st Sep 1994

Research summary

Research Interests

    Historical Anthropology of African Political Traditions

    The African Diaspora

    Oral Traditions

    Pottery Analysis

    Lithics Analysis


    African Pastoralism and its Development

    Historical Archaeology in the New World

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 Segou: historical and archaeological research on the settlement geography of the Segou region (Mali) with Dr Seydou Camara of the Malian Institut des Sciences Humaines. Periods covered range from the development of the Empire of Mali through to the fall of Segou (c. AD 1200 - 1861).

Teaching summary


University of Cambridge
PhD, Archaeology | 1994
Rice University, Houston
BA, | 1989


Kevin C. MacDonald is Programme Chair of African Studies at the UCL Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry and Professor of African Archaeology at the  Institute of Archaeology where he has taught since completing his PhD at Cambridge in 1994. He has worked in Mali for more than twenty-five 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 the Empire of Mali and Bamana Segou. MacDonald's analytical specialities include the historical anthropology of political traditions, ceramics analysis, archaeozoology, and the study of earthen structures. He has over 70 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 co-editor of the Routledge journal Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa.