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Mike Parker Pearson

Research Interests

  • Stonehenge: its purpose and people
  • The Beaker people: diet and mobility in Britain 2500-1700BC
  • The Outer Hebrides: settlement and society from prehistory to the post-medieval period on the island of South Uist
  • Death and burial: funerary archaeology
  • Madagascar: society and change in the Indian Ocean
  • Prehistoric Britain and Europe in the 1st millennia BC and AD
  • Identifying mummification from skeletonised remains: soft tissue preservation in prehistoric Europe
  • Public archaeology and heritage
  • Ethnoarchaeology and material culture

Research Directory Records

Prizes and Awards

  • 2012 Visiting Professorship, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • 2012 AIA's Samuel H. Kress Lecturer in Ancient Art
  • 2010 UK Archaeologist of the Year
  • 2010 UK Archaeological Research Project of the Year (Stonehenge Riverside Project)
  • 2009 Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries Award (Stonehenge Riverside Project)
  • 2008 Andante Travels Archaeology Award (Stonehenge Riverside Project)

Professional History

  • 1990-2012 Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield
  • 1984-1990 Inspector of Monuments, English Heritage
  • 1989 onwards - Membership of the Institute of Archaeologists 
  • 1991 onwards - Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London
  • 1996 onwards - Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
  • 2006-2009 Vice-President of the Prehistoric Society
  • 1999-2005 Council Member (and Conservation Co-ordinator) of the Prehistoric Society

Educational Background

  • PhD, King's College, University of Cambridge, 1985Thesis title: Death, society and social change in the Iron Age of southern Jutland
  • BA Single Honours (1st Class) in European Archaeology, University of Southampton, 1979

Selected recent publications

Authored/edited books

  • Parker Pearson, M. 2012. Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery. London & New York: Simon & Schuster
  • Parker Pearson, M. (ed.) 2012. From Machair to Mountains: archaeological survey and excavation in South Uist. SEARCH monograph 4. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Parker Pearson, M. with Godden, K., Heurtebize, G., Radimilahy, C., Ramilisonina, Retsihisatse, Schwenninger, J.-L. and Smith, H. 2010. Pastoralists, Warriors and Colonists: the archaeology of southern Madagascar. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports (International Series) S2139.
  • Aaronson, M. with Parker Pearson, M. 2010. If Stones Could Speak: unlocking the secrets of Stonehenge. Washington DC: National Geographic Society.
  • Parker Pearson, M., Sharples, N.M., Symonds, J., Robins, H., Badcock, A. 2008.  Ancient Uists: exploring the archaeology of the Outer Hebrides. Stornoway: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
  • Larsson, M. and Parker Pearson, M. (eds) 2007. From Stonehenge to the Baltic: cultural diversity in the third millennium BC. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports (International Series) 1692.
  • Parker Pearson, M. 2005. Bronze Age Britain. London: Batsford.
  • Parker Pearson, M. and Thorpe, I.J. (eds)  2005.  Warfare, Violence and Slavery in Prehistory. Proceedings of a Prehistoric Society conference at Sheffield University. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports (International Series) S1374.
  • Field, N. and Parker Pearson, M. 2004. Fiskerton: an Iron Age timber causeway with Iron Age and Roman votive offerings. The 1981 excavations. Oxford: Oxbow
  • Parker Pearson, M., Sharples, N. and Symonds, J. with Mulville, J., Raven, J., Smith, H. amd Woolf, A. 2004. South Uist: archaeology and history of a Hebridean island. Stroud: Tempus.
  • Parker Pearson, M. (ed.) 2003. Food, Culture and Identity in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports (International Series) S1117.
  • Parker Pearson, M. and Godden, K. 2002. In Search of the Red Slave: shipwreck and captivity in Madagascar. Stroud: Sutton.
  • Chamberlain, A. and Parker Pearson, M. 2001. Earthly Remains: the history and science of preserved bodies. London: British Museum Press.
  • Parker Pearson, M. 1999. The Archaeology of Death and Burial. Stroud: Sutton.
  • Parker Pearson, M. and Sharples, N. with Mulville, J. and Smith, H. 1999. Between Land and Sea: excavations at the broch of Dun Vulan, South Uist. SEARCH Monograph 3. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.
  • Parker Pearson, M. and Richards, C. (eds) 1994. Architecture and Order: approaches to social space. London: Routledge.
  • Parker Pearson, M. and Schadla-Hall, R.T. (eds) 1994. Looking at the Land. Archaeological Landscapes in Eastern England: recent work and future directions. Leicester: Leicestershire Museums.
  • Parker Pearson, M. 1993. English Heritage Book of Bronze Age Britain. London: B.T. Batsford/English Heritage. 

Papers in Edited Books, Refereed Journals and Conference Proceedings

  • Darvill, T., Marshall, P., Parker Pearson, M. & Wainwright, G. 2012.   Stonehenge remodelled. Antiquity 86 (334), 1021-1040.
    Winner of the Ben Cullen Prize 2013
  • Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Welham, K., Bevins, R., Ixer, R., Marshall, P. and Chamberlain, A. 2011. Stonehenge: controversies of the bluestones. In L. Garcia Sanjuan, C. Scarre and D.W. Wheatley (eds) Exploring Time and Matter in Prehistoric Monuments: absolute chronology and rare rocks in European megaliths. Proceedings of the 2nd European Megalithic Studies Group Meeting (Seville, Spain, November 2008). Menga: Journal of Andalusian Prehistory, Monograph no. 1. Seville: Junta de Andalucia. 219-50.
  • Parker Pearson, M., Mulville, J., Sharples, N. and Smith, H. 2011. Archaeological remains on Uists's machair: threats and potential. In D. Griffiths (ed) Aeolian Archaeology: the archaeology of sand landscapes in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Archaeological Internet Report 48. (www.sair.org.uk/sair48/sair.48pdf). 55-85.
  • Parker Pearson, M. 2011. The Bronze Age: beyond the barrow mounds. In R. Whimster (ed.) The New Antiquarians: 50 years of archaeological innovation in Wessex. York: CBA Research Report 166. 56-69.
  • Parker Pearson, M. 2011. The value of archaeological research. In J. Bate (ed.) The Public Value of the Humanities. London: Bloomsbury Academic. 30-43.
  • Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C. and Welham, K. 2011. Stonehenge and Early Bronze Age cosmology. In H. Meller (ed.) Der Griff nach den Sternen: Nebra-Conference Halle. Halle: Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege und Archaologie Sachsen-Anhalt (Tagungen des Landesmuseums fur Vorgeschichte Halle, Volume 5). 397-416.
  • Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Welham, K., Albarella, U., Chan, B., Marshall, P. and Viner, S. 2011. Feeding Stonehenge: feasting in Late Neolithic Britain. In G. Aranda Jimenez, S. Monton-Subias and M. Sanchez Romero (eds) Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: commensality rituals in the prehistoric societies of Europe and the Near East. Oxford: Oxbow. 73-90.
  • Parker Pearson, M. with Cox Willis, C. 2011. Builders and burials at Stonehenge. In M. Furholt, F. Luth and J. Muller (eds) Megaliths and Identities: early monuments and Neolithic societies from the Atlantic to the Baltic.  Kiel and Frankfurt: Institut fur Ur- und Fruhgeschichte der CAU Kiel and Romisch-Germanische Kommission Frankfurt am Main. 285-93. (http://www.jungsteinsite.uni-kiel.de/2010_MSG/Parker%20Pearson_MSG_2010_low.pdf)
  • Needham, S., Parker Pearson, M., Tyler, A., Richards, M. and Jay, M. 2010. A first 'Wessex I' date from Wessex. Antiquity 84: 363-73.
  • Viner, S., Evans, J., Albarella, U. and Parker Pearson, M. 2010. Cattle mobility in prehistoric Britain: strontium isotope analysis of cattle teeth from Durrington Walls (Wiltshire, Britain). Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 2812-20. 
  • Towers, J., Montgomery, J., Evans, J.A., Jay, M. and Parker Pearson, M. 2010. An investigation of the origins of cattle and aurochs deposited in the Early Bronze Age barrows at Gayhurst and Irthlingborough. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 508-15.
  • Oskam, C.L., Haile, J., McLay, E., Rigby, P., Allentoft, M.E., Willerslev, E., Olsen, M.E., Bengtsson, C., Miller, G., Parker Pearson, M., Schwenninger, J.-L., Jacomb, C., Walter, R., Baynes, A., Dortch, J., Gilbert, M.T.P., Holdaway, R.N. and Bunce, M. 2010. Ancient DNA preserved in Holocene and Pleistocene fossil avian eggshell. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 1991-2000. 
  • Mulville, J., Madgwick, R., Stevens, R., O'Connell, T., Powell, A., Sharples, N. and Parker Pearson, M. 2009. Isotopic analysis of faunal material from South Uist, Western Isles, Scotland. Journal of the North Atlantic 2 (1): 51-59.
  • Parker Pearson, M., Chamberlain, A., Jay, M., Marshall, P., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C. and Welham, K. 2009. Who was buried at Stonehenge? Antiquity 83: 23-39.
  • Thomas, J., Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Tilley, C. and Welham, K. 2009. The date of the Stonehenge cursus. Antiquity 83: 40-53.
  • Parker Pearson, M, Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C. and Welham, K. 2008. The Stonehenge Riverside Project: exploring the Neolithic landscape of Stonehenge. Documenta Praehistorica 35: 153-166.
  • Parker Pearson, M. 2008. New Discoveries at Stonehenge. Published keynote lecture. Reuvensdagen 38th Annual Conference on Dutch Archaeology. Amsterdam: Erfgoed Nederland.
  • Parker Pearson, M. 2008. Chieftains and pastoralists in Neolithic and Bronze Age Wessex: a review. In P. Rainbird (ed.) Monuments in the Landscape. Stroud: Tempus. 34-53.

I welcome proposals for PhD research in:

Funerary archaeology - all periods and places

In particular: 

  • Proposals with an ethnoarchaeological aspect,
  • The prehistory of Britain, western Europe and Scandinavia
  • The role in the present of the ancient dead

Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age Britain and Europe

In particular: 

  • Houses and the use of space,
  • Ceramics and portable material culture of the Late Neolithic in Britain,
  • Status and power in burial practices,
  • Comparative regional analysis of monument traditions,
  • Late Neolithic and Beaker settlement patterns

The archaeology of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean

In particular: 

  • Settlement patterns of cattle pastoralism
  • Tombs in the landscape
  • The archaeology of piracy
Mike Parker Pearson

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