Dr Alice Samson

on fieldwork in the Dominican RepublicLecturer in Archaeology

BA (Cambridge), MPhil, PhD (Leiden), FHEA

0116 252 5093 (int. 5093)

Email: avms1@le.ac.uk


Personal Details

As a youngster I studied French and Italian at university (2001), after which I worked in Brussels for a couple of years. But office life was not for me and I returned to university to pursue a long-term passion for archaeology, doing a Research Masters in European prehistory at Leiden University in the Netherlands (2005). Developing my interests in seafaring, islands, and maritime communities I embarked on a PhD (2010) on the household archaeology of the Indigenous Caribbean. After finishing my PhD I lectured for two years also in Leiden. In 2013 I joined the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research on a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship to continue my research into 16th century archaeology of encounter and colonialism in the Caribbean.


I teach and coordinate a number of modules at undergraduate and graduate level both on campus and by distance-learning, especially introductory archaeology and the archaeology of the Caribbean and the Americas.


Since 2013 I co-direct a field project on Mona Island, Puerto Rico in collaboration with students, and colleagues from the British Museum, Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, and Ministries of Culture and the Environment. We investigate questions around Indigenous material and conceptual worlds, European-African-Indigenous encounters, and colonial dynamics in the Caribbean.

Current and recent projects

El Corazón del Caribe (Mona Island project): https://projects.britishmuseum.org/research/research_projects/all_current_projects/el_coraz%C3%B3n_del_caribe/el_coraz%C3%B3n_del_caribe_images.aspx

Solidarity between the academy and the community: cultural heritage and self-representation in the Caribbean: https://www.sdcelarbritishmuseum.org/all-projects/

Research Student Supervision

Topics for Supervision

Caribbean archaeology: Indigenous, precolonial, early colonial, households, rock-art, the practice, theory, and politics of, postcolonial theory; Caribbean cultural heritage: indigeneity, heritage, representation.

Current research students

Yvonne O’Dell, September 2017: Ontologies of Affect: Exploring Emotional Encounters and Transformations in the Caribbean https://vpp.midlands3cities.ac.uk/display/yvod2leicesteracuk/Welcome

Donald Sutherland, September 2017: The Heritage of Exploration: do contemporary perceptions of exploration result in a satisfactory treatment and portrayal of related heritage? https://le.ac.uk/archaeology/people/phd-students

Joshua Charles, January 2018: Clothing and Identity in British West Florida https://le.ac.uk/archaeology/people/phd-students

Andy Rogers, start October 2020: Ontologies of Personhood and the Body in Colonial Central America and the Caribbean

Victor Serrano Puigdoller, September 2017, Archaeology of the forgotten: the lives of miners in C19th/20th on Mona Island, Puerto Rico [relocated to the Centre of Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean]

Select Recent Publications

Lace, Michael J., Nancy A. Albury, Alice V. M Samson, Jago Cooper, Reniel Rodríguez Ramos. 2019. Ship Graffiti on the Islands of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Puerto Rico: A Comparative Analysis. Journal of Maritime Archaeology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11457-019-09228-x

Samson, A.V.M., Wrapson, L.J., Cartwright, C.R., Sahy, D., Stacey, R.J., Cooper, J., 2017. Artists before Columbus: A multi-method characterization of the materials and practices of Caribbean cave art, Journal of Archaeological Science 88, 24-36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.09.012.

Samson, Alice V.M, Jago Cooper, Josue Caamano-Dones. 2016. "European visitors in Native spaces: Using palaeography to investigate religious dynamics in the New World." Latin American Antiquity 27(4):443-461.

Cooper, Jago, Alice V.M. Samson, Miguel A. Nieves, Michael Lace, Josue Caamano-Dones, Patricia Kambesis, Caroline Cartwright, Laura del Olmo Frese. 2016. "The Mona Chronicle: The archaeology of early religious encounter in the New World." Antiquity 90(352): 1054-1071.

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