Ruth Young

My main areas of research interest are the historical archaeology and heritage of South Asia and the Middle East, and this informs my teaching at all levels.


Professor of Archaeology 
BSc, MPhil, PhD (Bradford), FHEA

Tel: 0116 252 2564



Personal details

I first came to Leicester in 2000, having completed my PhD (on archaeological work in the former North West Frontier Province, Pakistan) in the Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, where I also studied for my MPhil and undergraduate degree. I work in South Asia and parts of the Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Oman, Lebanon), and am currently focusing on the heritage and historical and contemporary archaeology in these regions, as well as exploring post-conflict archaeology and heritage.


I teach a range of modules in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History.


Recent publications


Young, R. (2019). Historical Archaeology and Heritage in the Middle East. London: Routledge.

Newson, P. & Young, R. (2017). Post-Conflict Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. Rebuilding Knowledge, Memory and community from War-Damaged Material Culture. London: Routledge.

Coningham, R. & Young, R. (November 2015). The Archaeology of South Asia. From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE to 200 CE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Young, R.  (2003). Agriculture and Pastoralism in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, North West Frontier Province, Pakistan. Oxford: BAR. S1124.

Journal Articles

Young, R. (2018). Archaeology of the Recent Past in Iran. Contribution to: Global post-medieval/historical archaeology: what’s happening around the world 2018? Compiled by E. Tourigny and S. Newstead. Post Medieval Archaeology 0.0: 1-11.

Young, R., al-Jassassi, A., al-Shaqsi, A., al-Jabri, S., Batchelor, O., Dance, K., De Leon, N., Humes, A., Hunt, H., Riaz, A., Taha, S., Cable, C., Thornton, C., & Zauner, S. (2018). Bat Oasis Historical Archaeology Project: Interim Report on 2014 Field Season. The Journal of Oman Studies, 19, 1-18.

Young, R. & Fazeli, H. (2018). Landlord Villages of Iran as Examples of Political Economy and Materiality. Post-medieval Archaeology, 52,1: 34-48.

Brooks. A. & Young, R. (2016). Historical Archaeology and Heritage in the Middle East: A Preliminary Overview. Historical Archaeology, 2016, 50(4):22–35.

Newson, P. & Young, R. (2015). The archaeology of conflict damaged sites: Hosn Niha in the Biq’a Valley, Lebanon. Antiquity 89, 344: 449-463.

Newson, P. & Young, R. (2014). Archaeological assessment of the site at Hosn Niha: preliminary report 2011-2012. BAAL: Bulletin d’Archéologie et d’Architecture Libanaises (for 2011) 15: 21-46. 

Iles, L., Robertshaw, P. & Young, R. (2014). A furnace and associated ironworking remains at Munsa, Uganda.  Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa 49, 1: 45–63,

Young, R. & Fazeli, H. (2013). Women and Class in Landlord Villages of the Tehran Plain, Iran. Historical Archaeology 47(2).

Fazeli, H. & Young, R. (2013). Landlord villages of Iran as landscapes of hierarchy and control. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 17, 1: 143-158.

O’Sullivan, D. & Young, R. (2012). A world apart? Translating the archaeology of the sacred in the modern world. World Archaeology 44,3: 342-358.

Ali, I., Shah, I., Samad, A., Zahir, M. & Young, R. (2012). Heritage and archaeology in Chitral, Pakistan: exploring some local views and issues. International Journal of Heritage Studies DOI:10.1080/13527258.2011.643909.

Darabi, H., Naseri, R., Young, R., & Fazeli Nashli, H. (2011). The absolute chronology of East Chia Sabz: a Pre-Pottery Neolithic site in Western Iran. Documenta Praehistoria XXXVIII: 255-265.  DOI: 10.4312/dp.38.20

Young, R. (2010) Transhumant Groups and Subordination in the former North West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Ancient Pakistan XXI: 123-138.

Chapters in Books/Monographs

Newson, P. & Young, R. (2017). Conflict: People, Heritage, and Archaeology. In: P. Newson & R. Young (eds) Post-Conflict Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. London: Routledge: 3-19.

Newson, P. & Young, R. (2017). Maximising Information from Conflict-Damaged Sites: A Case Study from Lebanon. In: P. Newson & R. Young (eds) Post-Conflict Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. London: Routledge: 154-173.

Ali, I., Shah, I., Samad, A., Zahi, M. & Young, R. (2015).  Preliminary Results of Archaeological Survey in Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. In V. Widorn & U Franke(eds). Proceedings of the 20th Conference of the ‘European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art’. Vol. 2: Contextualizing Material Culture in South and Central Asia in Pre-Modern Times. Turnhout: Brepols.

Young, R.& Fazeli, H. (2013) Animals and People in the Neolithisation of Iran. In: H. Fazeli and R. Mathews (eds) Neolithisation of Iran: The formation of New Societies. Oxford: Oxbow: 178-188.

Darabi, H., Fazeli, H., Naseri, R. Riehl, S. & Young, R. The Neolithisation Process in the Seimarreh Valley: Excavations at East Chia Sabz, Central Zagros. In: H. Fazeli and R. Mathews (eds) Neolithisation of Iran: The formation of New Societies. Oxford: Oxbow: 55-75.

Fazeli, H. & Young, R. (2012) Revolutionary archaeology or the archaeology of revolution? Landlord Villages of the Tehran Plain. In: S. May, H. Orange and S. Penrose (eds.) The Good, the Bad and the Unbuilt: handling the Heritage of the Recent. Oxford, Archaeopress BAR IS 2362: 85-96.

Edirisingha, P., Pluciennik, M., & Young, R. (2010) Using a three-dimensional multi-user virtual environment to teach spatial theory in archaeology. In: A. Wilson (ed.) UK Chapter of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Proceedings of the CAA UK Chapter Meeting University of Liverpool, 6th and 7th February 2009. Oxford: Archaeopress. BAR.IS 2182: 81-87

Young, R. & R.A.E. Coningham (2010) From Village to State Modelling Food consumption and Ideological Change at Anuradhapura Sri Lanka in P. Gunawardhana, G. Adikari and R.A.E. Coningham (eds) Essays in Archaeology. Sirinimal Lakdusinghe Felicitation Volume Battaramulla, Sri Lanka: Neptune Publications (Pvt) Ltd.: 81 – 92.



I am currently undertaking research in Iraq, Pakistan, Iran and Oman. My areas of interest include heritage, post-conflict heritage and archaeology, use of space, belonging, and rural settlements, and I am increasingly interested in working in the recent past and combining different approaches to explore different ways of understanding the past.

Archaeology & Heritage of the British Period in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan (2021-24)

Collaborating with the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, KP, and Hazara University, KP, we are identifying, recording and interpreting material culture from the British Period in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  This project is the first to explore the archaeology and heritage of this period in Pakistan, and we are particularly interested in learning about the ways in which a British presence impacted on the landscape, and how the British presence was different in the north west compared to what is now India.

Babylon: modern heritage site or ancient ruin? (2019-2020)

Collaborating with the University of Babylon we are undertaking a programme of non-invasive exploration and recording at the site of Babylon.  We are using a combination of satellite imagery analysis, standing buildings analysis and community engagement in order to record the changes to the site made by Saddam Hussain, and learn about how Babylon has been impacted by conflict and development over the recent past.  We also want to know how local people view and value Babylon, and how they would like to see it developed. 
This project is funded by the Nahrein Network (AHRC).

The mud brick core of Bat oasis, Oman (2013 - 2016)

The abandoned mud brick core of the Bat oasis is an excellent place to explore archaeologically. Through building analysis, excavation, and ethnographic interview an understanding of the way space has shaped social organisation is possible. This work is also an important way of understanding the role of memory in the recent past as it relates to the immediate environment. The results of this historical archaeology fieldwork project are also an important element of the heritage management plan for the wider area being developed by the Oman government in consultation with local communities.

the mud brick castle at the centre of Bat oasis

Archaeological investigations and their link to heritage management in district Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan (2011-2016)

The chief aims of this project are to systematically explore the archaeology of the Chitral Valley, NWFP, Pakistan and to develop ways of presenting and managing this unique heritage. Chitral is one of the most remote areas in all Pakistan, and primarily known to foreign and domestic visitors for natural beauty, mountaineering, hiking and wildlife.  Preliminary investigations show that Chitral has a wealth of cultural history, which is poorly understood. If this cultural history can be identified, excavated and recorded, it would not only help scholars and residents of the valleys to understand the past in this area, but it could also be used to develop sustainable cultural tourism here. Through fieldwork, workshops and lectures by individuals and groups from both partners we will also be able to facilitate training and exchange of knowledge. 

This is a collaborative project drawing on staff and students from the Universities of Leicester (UK), Hazara (Pakistan) and Mardan (Pakistan). It is funded by the British Council INSPIRE programme.

Landlord villages of the Tehran Plain, Iran (2007-2009)

Landlord villages represented the social and economic order for a large segment of the Iranian population over many centuries prior to land reform in the 1960s and 1970s and their abandonment is closely linked to the ‘White Revolution’. Today, as abandoned, self-contained elements of an earlier subsistence and social structure they provide a perfect opportunity for archaeological study through detailed planning, interviews of people closely connected to the villages when they were inhabited, and excavation, in order to understand the use of space in terms of function, social hierarchies of residents, and change over time. This project was carried out in collaboration with Dr Hassan Fazeli, University of Tehran, Tehran, and was funded by the British Institute of Persian Studies.


The landlord village of Kazemabad, Iran

Post-conflict archaeology (2014 - current)

In collaboration with a colleague based at the American University of Beirut, I have been working on conflict damaged site (Hosn Niha) located in the Biqaa Valley of Lebanon.  As a result of appropriate research questions and carefully designed fieldwork strategies, we have been able to obtain a lot of information from a site that had been dismissed for decades as too badly damaged to warrant sustained investigation. A summary of this work can be found in our Antiquity paper  (vol 89, issue 344, April 2015, pp449-463).

See details of the recent and ongoing project centred on religion in the city of Leicester, Mapping Faith and Place


Topics available for PhD supervision:

  • The archaeology of South Asia, Iran, and the Middle East: particularly Historical periods
  • Heritage & Archaeology
  • Post-conflict and conflict archaeology and heritage

Learn more about studying for a PhD with us.

I am always interested in talking to potential PhD students about research in the archaeology of South Asia, Iran, Oman and the Middle East. My current PhD students are working on: the archaeology of the Hindu Shahi period in north western Pakistan; patronage and the rise of Buddhism; Sikh religious buildings in the UK; and British period buildings in Pakistan. Past PhD students have completed theses on the Gandharan Grave Culture and the archaeology of Kashmir.

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