Dr Rachel Crellin

Rachel Crellin

Lecturer in Archaeology


Email: rjc65@le.ac.uk

Personal details

Rachel’s key research interest is in the study and theorisation of change. She specialises in Later Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain and Ireland and is an expert in metalwork wear-analysis.

Rachel studied Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge where she developed a keen interest in archaeological theory and material culture. She went to UCL to continue exploring this through an MA in Material and Visual Culture Studies before starting a PhD at Newcastle University where her thesis focused on theoretical approaches to the study of change and drew on a study of the transition from the Late Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age on the Isle of Man.


Rachel co-ordinates and teaches a range of undergraduate courses including both distance learning and campus-based teaching. Her teaching centers around the Neolithic, Bronze Age, archaeological theory, practical methods, and artefact analysis.


Rachel’s primary research interest is the study and theorisation of change. The study of change is arguably one of the most important things that archaeology has to offer the humanities: changes in materials, communities, identities, environments and ideas are all traceable over the very long term in the archaeological record. Rachel’s research explores how it is that we come to talk about, understand, and interpret change in the past. She has just published her monograph with Routledge titled: Archaeology and Change. The book explores how archaeologists have approached the topic and develops a new materialist, posthumanist approach to the study of change.

Beyond the Three Age System

Rachel is part of the Leverhulme funded Beyond the Three Age System team at Leicester. The project is tracing a new history of materials from 3000-600 BC through microwear analyses combined with cutting edge theoretical approaches.

Round Mounds of the Isle of Man

Rachel is also co-director of the Round Mounds of the Isle of Man project which explores changing burial practices from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age on the island and in the wider Irish Sea context. The project is funded by Culture Vannin and Manx National Heritage and began in September 2016. It has involved osteology, radiocarbon dating, isotioic and aDNA analyses, and extensive GIS and LiDAR work to map the location of more than 180 mounds across the island. In 2017 the project began excavation of a burial mound near the village of Kirk Michael. The mound is one of a cluster of three with stunning views across the Irish Sea. In 2019 the team found the first jet spacer necklace on the Isle of Man. Excavations will continue at the site in future years (do get in touch if you are interested in getting involved!). You can learn more about the project here: https://roundmounds.wordpress.com/

Bronze Age Combat Project

Rachel is also a member of the Bronze Age Combat project. The aim of the project is to understand how Late Bronze Age weapons were used, in what kind of combat situations, and with what strikes and bodily motions. The project has been investigating Bronze Age Combat techniques through a series of controlled field tests with replica weapons to create a reference collection of use-wear marks that can then be compared to the marks observable on archaeological swords, spears, axes and shields from museum collections.

Research Student Supervision

I am interested in supervising doctoral research across a range of themes:

  • Posthumanist and new materialist approaches to archaeological theory
  • Metalwork in prehistory
  • Neolithic or Bronze Age Britain and Ireland
  • Burial archaeology

If you have an idea and would like to discuss it further, do not hesitate to contact me.

Learn more about studying for a PhD at Leicester


OUT NOW: Crellin, R.J. 2020. Change and Archaeology. London: Routledge.

Crellin, R.J. and Harris, O.J.T. 2020. Beyond Binaries: interrogating ancient DNA. Archaeological Dialogues 27 (1): 37-56.

Hermann, R., Crellin, R.J., Dolfini, A., Wang, Q., and Uckelmann, M. 2020. Bronze Age swordsmanship: new insights from experiments and wear analysis. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 2020 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-020-09451-0.

Hermann, R., Crellin, R.J., Ucklemann, M. and Dolfini, A. 2020. Bronze Age Combat: an experimental approach. BAR. Oxford.

Crellin, R.J. 2019. The Emergence of a Bronze Age on the Isle of Man. In, Brandherm, D. (ed.). Aspects of the Bronze Age in the Atlantic Archipelago and Beyond. Proceedings from the Belfast Bronze Age Forum 9-10 November 2013. Archaeologia Atlantica – Monographiae III Hagen/Westf: 13-34.

Hermann, R., Dolfini, A., Crellin, R.J. and Ucklemann, M. 2019. Researching Bronze Age swordsmanship: experiments and wear analysis. In Deutscher, L., Kaiser, M. & S. Wetzler (eds.), The Sword: Form and Thought. Martlesham, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer: 187-207.

Crellin, R.J. 2018. Examining the British and Irish Early Bronze Age Flat Axes of the Greenwell Collection at the British Museum. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 18: 858-888.

Harris, O.J.T. and Crellin, R.J. 2018. Assembling new ontologies from old materials: towards multiplicity. In, Astor-Aguilera, A. and Harvey, G. (eds). Rethinking Relations and Animism: personhood and materiality. London: Routledge: 55-74

Dolfini, A. Crellin, R.J., Horn, C., Uckleman, M. (eds.). 2018. Prehistoric Warfare and Violence: quantitative and qualitative approaches. Springer Press.

Crellin, R.J., Dolfini, A., Ucklemann, M. and Hermann, R. 2018. An experimental approach to prehistoric violence and warfare. In, Dolfini, A. Crellin, R.J., Horn, C., Uckleman, M. (eds.). 2018. Prehistoric Warfare and Violence: quantitative and qualitative approaches. Springer Press: 279-305.

Dolfini, A., Crellin, R.J., Horn, C. and Ucklemann, M. 2018. Interdisciplinary approaches to prehistoric warfare and violence: past, present and future. In, Dolfini, A. Crellin, R.J., Horn, C., Uckleman, M. (eds.). 2018. Prehistoric Warfare and Violence: quantitative and qualitative approaches. Springer Press: 1-18

Crellin, R.J. 2018. New Materialism. In, López Varela, S.L. (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Archaeological Sciences. Wiley-Blackwell. Available here

Dolfini, A., Hermann, R., Crellin, R.J and M. Uckelmann. 2018. L’arte della guerra nell’età del Bronzo: la parola alle armi, in N. Negroni Catacchio (ed.) Preistoria e Protostoria in Etruria. Atti del XIII Incontro di Studi. Milan: Centro Studi di Preistoria e Archeologia: 183-200

Crellin, R.J. 2017. Changing Assemblages: tracing vibrant matter in burial assemblages. Special Edition of Cambridge Archaeological Journal 27 (1): 111-125.

Crellin, R.J. 2017. Violent Times? Use-wear analysis of bronze weapons from the Isle of Man. Isle of Man Studies XV:

Dolfini, A. and Crellin, R.J. 2016. Metalwork wear analysis: the loss of innocence. Journal of Archaeological Science 66 (2016): 78-87.

Jones, A., Diaz-Guardamino, M. and Crellin, R.J. 2016. From artefact biographies to ‘multiple objects’: a new analysis of the decorated plaques of the Irish Sea Region. Norwegian Archaeological Review 49 (2): 113-133.

Crellin, R.J., Fowler, C. and Tipping R. (eds.). 2016. Prehistory without borders: the prehistoric archaeology of northeast England and southeast Scotland. Oxbow Books.

Crellin, R.J., Fowler, C. and Tipping, R. 2016. Introduction. In, Crellin, R.J., Fowler, C. and Tipping R. (eds.). In Press. Prehistory without borders: the prehistoric archaeology of northeast England and southeast Scotland. Oxbow Books: 1-15

Woodcock, J. and Crellin, R.J. 2016. Cup-marked rocks on the Meayll Peninsular. Isle of Man Studies XIV: 30-44.

Crellin, R.J. 2015. Tracing change at Killeaba. Isle of Man Studies XIII: 29–44.

Crellin, R. J. 2014. Transformative material, transformative object: the impact of a bronze axe. In, Brown, S., Clarke, A., and Fredrick, U., (eds.). 2014. Object Stories. California: Left Coast Press: 213-7.

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