Borja Legarra Herrero
  • b.legarra@ucl.ac.uk
  • Direct: +44 (0)20 7679 4730
  • Internal: 24730
  • Room 401A
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Borja Legarra Herrero

Current Research

  • Socio-political change in the Mediterranean, 5th - 1st Millennia BC (Neolithic to Early Iron Age, Mediterranean) An exploration of the highly dynamic period in which major changes in socio-political structure occurred in several areas around the Mediterranean basin This research weighs broad themes typical from Mediterranean archaeology, such as exploitation strategies and trade and exchange, against the particular local ecologies of several regions around the basin in order to explain socio-cultural dynamics.
  • State formation on Bronze Age Crete (Early and Middle Bronze Age) Crete presents one of the most peculiar cases of early state formation in the world and eludes easy explanation. The comprehensive study of long-term changes in burial practices on the island enables innovative research frameworks that help to explain ideological and cognitive changes in Cretan populations and also gives us new insights in the understanding of early complex societies in general.
  • The later prehistory of South East Spain New archaeological work highlights the exceptionality of Bronze Age cultures in SE Spain, with large settlements and a complex pattern of occupation of the landscape and resource exploitation. This research employs GIS-led analyses to explore further these systems and their ultimate failure to develop into full-fledged state-level polities.
  • Knossos Urban Landscape Project. Assistant Director (Knossos, Herakleion, Greece) Multidisciplinary project that studies changes in the human landscape of the Knossos city and surrounding valley from the Neolithic to the Byzantine period. My duties include:  Early Bronze Age ceramic analyses, GIS development.

Other Research Interests

  • GIS analyses in archaeology
  • Ceramic studies
  • State formation
  • Archaeology and anthropology of death
  • Archaeological and anthropological theory and methodology
  • Landscape archaeology and survey methods

Educational Background

  • 2002–2006: PhD in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK Thesis title: Mortuary behaviour and Social Organisation in Pre- and Protopalatial Crete.
  • 2001–2002: Distinction in MA degree in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK. 
  • 1998–2000: Upper Second Honours BA degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain.  
  • 1998: Curso de Adaptación Pedagógica (Pedagogic Adaptation Course) by the University of Deusto, Spain.
  • 1994–1998: Upper Second Honours BA degree in Medieval and Ancient History from the University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain.

Professional History

  • 2013: Teaching Fellow in Greek Archaeology, University College London
  • 2010-2012: Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester 
  • 2009–2010: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Institute of Aegean Prehistory
  • 2008: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Knossos Urban Landscape Project, University College London. Preparation of fieldwork, including GIS
  • 2007: Sessional Lecturer, University of Kent, ‘Introduction to Aegean Archaeology.’ Convenor: Dr E. Kyriakidis. Lecturer: Dr H. Dawson
  • Ongoing: Reviewer for Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, European Journal of Archaeology, Ancient History Bulletin, Aegean Studies
  • Ongoing: Member of the Archaeological Institute of America


  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2014. Mortuary behaviour and Social Trajectories in Pre- and Protopalatial Crete. INSTAP Academic Press. Philadelphia.

Articles and book contributions

In Preparation

  • Legarra Herrero, B. From Systems of Control to Networks of Knowledge: The archaeology of southeast Spain. In Foxhall, L. Tracing Networks: investigating networks of knowledge in antiquity and the digital age. British Academy Series. Oxford University Press.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. and Molloy, B. Shiny new things? Mobility, (non-)elites, and values in the Early Bronze Age I Aegean. In Çilingiroğlu, C., Milić, M. and Molloy, M., Who is on Board? Maritime Perspectives on the Prehistoric Aegean. Oxbow Books
  • Legarra Herrero, B. The House-tomb, less house more tomb. In Carter, T. and Hussein, A. (eds). Festschrift for Prof. Jeffrey S. Soles.

Accepted for publication and published

  • Legarra Herrero, B. In press. Primary state formation processes on Bronze Age Crete: A social approach to change in early complex societies. Cambridge Archaeological Journal.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. In press. An elite-infested sea: Interaction and change in Mediterranean paradigms. In Molloy, B and Doonan R. (eds.) ‘Of Odysseys and Oddities’: Scales and modes of interaction between prehistoric Aegean societies and their neighbours. Oxbow Books.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. In press. Pithoi, bodies and the individual in Minoan Crete, Mina, M, Papadatos, Y and Triantaphyllou (eds.) Embodied Identities in the Prehistoric Eastern Mediterranean: Convergence of Theory and Practice
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2015. A Square tomb with a round soul. In The Myrtos Pyrgos tomb in the funerary context of Middle Bronze Age Crete. In In Macdonald, C, Hatzaki, E, and Andreou, S, (eds) The Great Islands: Studies of Crete and Cyprus Presented to Gerald Cadogan. Kapon Editions., 76-81.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2015. What happens when Tombs die? The Historical Appropriation of the Cretan Bronze Age Cemeteries. In Díaz-Guardamino, M., García Sanjuán, L, and Wheatley, D (eds.) The lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval Europe. Oxford University Press, 265-286.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2014. Estructura territorial y estado en la cultura argárica. Menga, Journal of Andalusian Archaeology 4, 149-172.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2014. Consumption choices and inter-cultural interaction in the Early Bronze Age South Aegean: Silver and Gold. In Meller, H., Risch, R and Pernicka, E. (eds.) Metalle der Macht – Frühes Gold und Silber / Metals of power – Early gold and silver. 6. Mitteldeutscher Archäologentag: vom 17. Bis 19. Oktober 2013 in Halle (Saale). Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt / Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte. 467-482.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2013. Status, rank, and socio-political organization in the Classical world. In AR7553: Encountering the Classical World. Course workbook. University of Leicester
  • Legarra Herrero, B. ­­­­­2013. Modern political views and the emergence of early complex societies in the Bronze Age Mediterranean. Antiquity 87 (335), 245-249.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2012. Cemeteries and the construction, deconstruction and non-construction of hierarchical societies in Early Bronze Age Crete. In, I. Schoep, P. Tomkins and J. Driessen (eds) Back to the Beginning: Reassessing social, economic and political complexity in the Early and Middle Bronze Age on Crete. Oxbow Books. 325-357.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. ­­­­­2011. New kid on the block: the nature of the first systemic contacts between Crete and the eastern Mediterranean around 2000 BC. In T. Wilkinson, S. Sherratt, and J. Bennet (eds) Interweaving worlds: systemic interactions in Eurasia, 7th to 1st millennia BC. Oxbow Books. 266-281
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2011. The secret lives of the Early and Middle Minoan Tholos cemeteries: Koumasa and Platanos. In J. Murphy (ed). Prehistoric Crete: Regional and Diachronic Studies on Mortuary Systems. INSTAP Academic Press. 49-84
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2009. The Minoan fallacy: cultural diversity on Crete at the beginning of the Bronze Age as assessed through the mortuary behavior. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 28.1. 29-57.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2009. Cemeteries and the construction, deconstruction, and non-construction of hierarchies in Early Bronze Age Crete. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 52. 255-256.
  • Legarra Herrero, B. 2004. About the distribution of metal objects in Prepalatial Crete. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 15, 29-51.

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