Amara Thornton

Research Interests

  • History of Archaeology: My interest in the history of archaeology springs directly from research in archaeological archives, both documentary and photographic.  I view the history of archaeology as a unique way to explore historical contexts. Themes I have explored include: education and professionalisation in archaeology, exhibitions, the development of antiquities services, and fundraising and sponsorship.  My current research interests include psychical research and archaeology and archaeology and tourism.
  • Social Networks and Prosopography: Archaeological archives are full of networks tying archaeologists to local communities, administrations/governments, scholarly societies and social clubs, universities, publishers, architects, artists, the military and countless others.  Creating detailed prosopographies, which collect together information on individuals with common interests, reveals the complexity of archaeological relationships - both personal and professional - yielding a wide range of themes for analysis.
  • Archaeological Archives: Archaeological archives are rich sources of research material for national and imperial history, cultural  interaction, migration, exchange and institutional development.  The Institute of Archaeology has a wide ranging collection of archives donated by archaeologists working in a variety of locations in Britain and beyond. My research in the Institute's collection has primarily focused on the archives of George and Agnes Horsfield, who explored and excavated sites across the British Mandate Territory of Transjordan during the inter-war period, and are particularly associated with the spectacular site of Petra.
  • Public Archaeology: In examining the history of archaeology, the public face of archaeology and archaeologists is constantly revealed.  My interest in public archaeology is in the connection between archaeology, politics and policy, particularly in international contexts, and how this connection has contributed (and continues to contribute) to shaping the world we know today.  I have also explored communication and public engagement in archaeology, with particular focus on Wikipedia and blogs.

Research Directory Records

Educational Background

  • 2011: PhD in Archaeology, UCL Institute of ArchaeologyThesis title: British Archaeologists, Social Networks and the Emergence of a Profession: the social history of British archaeology in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East 1870-1939
  • 2006: MA in Museum Studies (Distinction), UCL Institute of Archaeology 
  • 2003: BA in History, Haverford College, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Thornton, A. 2013. "... a certain faculty for extricating cash": Collective Sponsorship in late 19th and early 20th century British archaeology. Present Pasts, 5 (1). [Online]
  • Thornton, A. 2012. Egypt Exploration Society Invades ... London Underground? Egypt Exploration Society Newsletter 4, 4-5.
  • Thornton, A. 2012. Wikipedia and Blogs: New Fields for Archaeological Research? In Bonacchi, C. (Ed.). Archaeologists and the Digital: Towards Strategies of Engagement. London: Archetype.
  • Thornton, A. 2012. Archaeologists-In-Training: Students of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Journal of Open Archaeology Data, 1 (1). [Online]
  • Thornton, A. and Perry, S. 2011. Collection and Production: The History of the Institute of Archaeology through Photography. Archaeology International, 13/14, 101-107. [Online]
  • Thornton, A. 2011. The Allure of Archaeology: Agnes Conway and Jane Harrison at Newnham College, 1903-1907. Bulletin for the History of Archaeology, 21 (1), 37-56. [Online]
  • Moshenska, G. and Thornton, A. 2010. Public Archaeology interviews Neal Ascherson. Public Archaeology, 9 (3), 153-165.
  • Thornton, A. 2009. George Horsfield, Conservation and the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Antiquity Project Gallery [Online].
  • Thornton, A. 2009. Archaeological Training in Mandate Palestine: The BSAJ Minute Books at the PEF. Palestine Exploration Fund Website: Features.
  • Thornton, A and Poole, S. 2009. Interview with Stephen Shennan. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 19, 28-36.
  • Thornton, A. 2006. Explorations in the Desert: The Photographic Collection of George and Agnes Horsfield. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 17, 93-100. [Online]
Amara Thornton

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