Susanna Harris

Research Interests

  • Prehistoric European Archaeology
  • Textiles, leather and basketry, analysis and interpretation
  • Prehistoric clothing and costume
  • Art and archaeology
  • Experimental archaeology

Research Directory Records

Previous Research Projects

  • 2012-2013, 'Regional Costume and Identity in the Final Neolithic to Bronze Age; the Statue Menhir Evidence.  Marie Curie COFUND Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Freie Universität Berlin

    The aim of this research project is to investigate regional costume and identity from the representation of clothing and adornments engraved on statue menhirs of central and northern of Europe dated from the final Neolithic to the early Bronze Age c.3300-2200 BC. The project, which involves the examination of costume motifs on approximately two hundred statue menhirs (also referred as statue stelae) of northern Italy, Switzerland, southern France and Germany, will seek to connect the significant of costume as an alteration of the human body to express social knowledge to the spatially and chronologically defined cultural environment.

  • 2008-2011 Cloth Cultures in Prehistoric Europe. British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship

    The aim of this research is to bring together and examine the evidence for the cloth cultures of Western Europe from the Mesolithic to Bronze Age (c.8500-1200 BC). “Cloth” I define as flexible thin sheets of material that can be wrapped, folded and shaped, including cloth of fibres and threads, such as textiles, looped cloth, netting and animal skins. What I am calling “Cloth culture” signifies the range of materials and techniques a particular society practices in the production and use of cloth. The originality of this research is the identification of these cloth cultures in prehistoric Europe, the combination of textiles and animal skins, and the approach to the use of available evidence despite the poor preservation of actual cloth remains.

  • 2008-2009 Cloth Cultures of Europe and Egypt in the Middle to Late Bronze Age, between 1500-1300 BC, Cotton Foundation Research Fellowship

    The aim of this research is to investigate and compare the cloth cultures of societies in Europe and Egypt between 1500-1300 BC. This equates to the middle to late Bronze Age in Europe and the New Kingdom in Egypt. This short period offers a remarkable opportunity for comparing these societies’ relationships to cloth due to a number of exceptional sites and artefacts including preserved cloth and representations of cloth.

Educational Background

  • PhD Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 2003-2007
  • MA Comparative Art and Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 2000-2001
  • BA (Hons) Archaeology, Durham University, 1995-1998


  • Harris, S. & Douny, L. (eds.) 2014, Wrapping and Unwrapping Material Culture, Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek.


  • Harris, S. & Hofmann, K.P. 2014, From Stones to Gendered Bodies: Regional Differences in the Production of the Body and Gender on the Copper Age Statue-Menhirs of Northern Italy and the Swiss Valais. European Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 17, (2).
  • Harris, S.  2014, Sensible dress: experiments with the sight, sound, touch and smell of Late Ertebølle, Mesolithic cloth types. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. Vol. 24 (1), 37-56.
  • Harris, S. (accepted). 2013, Rethinking cloth culture in the Middle Neolithic of northern Italy with special reference to basketry (c.4900-4250 BC). In. R. Whitehouse, R. & M. Pearce (eds) Accordia Research Papers, Accordia Research Institute, University of London, London.
  • Harris, S. 2012. From the parochial to the universal; comparing cloth cultures in the Bronze Age. European Journal of Archaeology. 15 (1) 2012, 61–97. Free to download here»
  • Higgitt, C., Harris, S., Cartwright, C., Cruickshank, P. 2011, Assessing the potential of historic archaeological collections: a pilot study of the British Museum’s Swiss lake village textiles. The British Museum Technical Research Bulletin. Vol. 5. pp. 81-94.
  • Harris, S., Rösel-Mautendorfer, H., Grömer, K., Reschreiter, H. 2010, Cloth Cultures in Prehistoric Europe: the Bronze Age evidence from Hallstatt, Archaeology International, vol. 12, 2008-2009. pp. 22-26
  • Harris, S. 2008, Textiles, Cloth and Skins: The Problem of Terminology and Relationship, Textiles the Journal of Cloth and Culture, 2008, Vol, 6, Issue 3, pp. 222-237.
  • Harris, S. 2006, A report on the examination of animal skin artefacts from the Bronze Age salt mines of Hallstatt, Austria, Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, vol.16, pp.115-122.
  • Harris, S. 2004b, I tessuti nelle composizioni monumentali della Valcamonica nell'età del Rame, Bollettino del Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici, vol.34, pp.222-228.

Book Chapters

  • Douny, L. & Harris, S. 2014. Introduction: Wrapping and Unwrapping, concepts and approaches. Wrapping and Unwrapping Material Culture: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives, Left Coast Pres, Walnut Creek, pp. 15-40
  • Harris, S. 2014, Wrapping the dead: An investigation of the Bronze Age burial mounds of southern Scandinavia through a wrapping analysis, in S. Harris & L. Douny eds., Wrapping and Unwrapping Material Culture: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, pp.115-134.
  • Harris, S. 2011, Preparing skins in prehistory: a review of evidence and approaches, in Leather Tanneries: the archaeological evidence., R. Thomson, & Q. Mould eds., Archetype Press for the Archaeological Leather Group, London, pp. 57-67.
  • Harris, S. 2008, Exploring the Materiality of Prehistoric Cloth types. Experiencing Archaeology by Experiment. Proceedings of the Experimental Archaeology Conference, Exeter 2007. Ed. P. Cunningham, J. Heeb & R. Paardekooper, Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 81-102.
  • Harris, S. 2004a, Representations of woven textiles in Alpine Europe during the Copper Age, in Inhabiting Symbols: symbol and image in the ancient Mediterranean, E. Herring & J. B. Wilkins, eds., Accordia Research Institute, University of London, London, pp.43-84.

Conference Proceedings

  • Harris, S. 2010, Smooth and cool or warm and soft, investigating the properties of cloth in prehistory. North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles X, E. Andersson Strand, M. Gleba, U. Mannering, C. Munkholt, M. Ringgaard. Eds. Oxford, Oxbow Books, Ancient Textiles Series Vol. 5, pp. 140-112.
  • Harris, S. 2007, Investigating social aspects of technical processes: cloth production from plant fibres in a Neolithic lake dwelling on Lake Constance, Germany. Plant processing from a prehistoric and ethnographic perspective. Proceedings of the workshop at the Ghent University ( Belgium), November 28, 2006. V. Beugnier and P. Crombé eds. British Archaeological Reports International Series 1718. pp.83-100.

PhD Thesis

  • Harris, S. 2007, Cloth in Prehistoric Societies: The social context of cloth in prehistory, with case studies from northern Italy and the Alpine region from the Neolithic to Bronze Age, Unpublished PhD Thesis. Institute of Archaeology, University College London

Finds Reports

  • Harris, S. Report on the photographic evidence of the woven material resembling basketry from Langwell Farm cist, Easter Ross, Scotland. 2500 words submitted to O. C. Lelong, York Archaeological Trust for Excavation and Research Ltd, July 2012.
  • Harris, S. Report on the textiles from Over Barrow, Cambridgeshire, with with fibre analysis by Margarita Gleba. 4600 words, submitted to C. Evans. Cambridge Archaeological Unit, May 2012.
  • Mould, Q., Harris, S., Cameron, E. Assessment of selected organic objects from the Whitehorse Cist, Dartmoor, submitted to Dartmoor National Park Authority, February 2012.

Short reports

  • Gleba, M., Harris, S., & Cutler, J. 2013. Production and Consumption: Textile Economy and Urbanisation in Mediterranean Europe 1000-500 BCE (PROCON). Archaeology International, No.16 (2012-2013), pp.54-58.
  • Harris, S. 2012. Textiles and Photography Vol. III. Jane Balsgaard, Photographs from Japan., J. Zimsen (eds). The Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textiles Research, Copenhagen.
  • Harris, S. 2012. Hide-working with dry scrape technique using stone and bone tools. Archaeological Leather Group Newsletter, No. 36, pp. 12-14.
  • Harris, S. 2010, Cloth Cultures in Prehistoric Europe; Project Concept and Approach. Archaeological Textile Newsletter, No.50, pp. 30-31
  • Harris, S. 2008, A wooden half-bucket with sewn joint and repair. Archaeological Leather Group Newsletter, No. 27, March 2008, pp. 5-7.

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