Dr Alasdair Brooks

Dr Alasdair BrooksHonorary Visiting Fellow

BA (St. Mary’s College of Maryland), MA, D.Phil. (both York)

Email: amb72@le.ac.uk

My BA is from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a small American institution that sits directly on top of the 17th-century colonial capital of Maryland.  I returned to my native UK to complete an MA at the University of York, and then returned to the US, where I spent most of the next four years running the archaeology lab at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, Jefferson’s retreat home in central Virginia.  I then crossed the Atlantic again to complete a DPhil (in the comparative trans-Atlantic analysis of 18th and 19th ceramics) back at York.  I then moved to Australia where I had two postdoctoral research fellowships at La Trobe University in Melbourne.  I returned to the UK in 2007, joined the School of Archaeology and Ancient History in early 2009 as a Teaching Fellow in Historical Archaeology, and remained at Leicester for most of the period until June 2013, playing a key role in the organisation of the 2013 Society for Historical Archaeology conference in Leicester.  I am now based in the United Arab Emirates, and am the Archaeological Field Manager for the University of Copenhagen’s Qatar Islamic Archaeology and Heritage Project at the 18th- to 19th-century Al Zubarah World Heritage Site in northern Qatar.

I am also the joint editor of the journal Post-Medieval Archaeology and the editor of the Society for Historical Archaeology Newsletter.


My research focuses on the international comparative analysis of 18th- and 19th-century material culture, with a focus on post-1750 ceramics.  I am particularly interested in the role of British-manufactured material culture in global trade in the 19th century, and the transformations of meaning and interpretation – both on the part of the original consumer and the archaeologist – that occur when material culture made in Britain is used and discarded in other parts of the world.

Past research has focused on the UK, the eastern United States, Australia, and Venezuela, with a recent focus on the emergence of colonial and post-colonial societies into the post-1750 global economy, and the role of British goods in the creation of postcolonial national identities. I am also interested in the comparative practice of historical archaeology in different regions and countries.


I contribute to and/or coordinate some of the campus-based introductory modules in archaeology.  I wrote Leicester's introductory level 1 distance learning module in historical archaeology, and I coordinate and contribute to both our campus-based and DL MA in Historical Archaeology courses. 

Thanks to my broad international experience, I am able to supervise a wide geographical range of MA Dissertation topics in the historical archaeology of the post-1500 AD world for both campus-based and distance-learning students, but I particularly welcome supervisees interested in material culture.

Select Recent Publications

Brooks, Alasdair (editor) In review [2014] 19th-Century Material Culture Studies from Britain. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.

Brooks, Alasdair 2013 The World Is What it Is: Subjectivity and Personal Experience in Global Historical Archaeologies. Historical Archaeology 47(1): 1-9.

Brooks, Alasdair 2012 Historical Archaeology Artefact Training in Field Schools: Three International Case Studies.  In H. Mytum (ed.) Global Perspectives on Archaeological Field Schools: Constructions of Knowledge and Experience.  Springer, New York, pp. 197-216.

Brooks, Alasdair and Ana Cristina Rodríguez Yilo 2012 A Venezuelan Household Clearance Assemblage of 19th-century British Ceramics in International Perspective. Post-Medieval Archaeology 46(1): 70-88.

Martín, Juan, Alasdair Brooks, and Tania Andrade Lima 2012     Historical Archaeology in South America in Regional and International Context. Historical Archaeology 46(3): 1-15.

Brooks, Alasdair, Susan Lawrence, and Jane Lennon 2011 The Parsonage of the Reverend Willoughby Bean: Church, State and Frontier Settlement in 19th-Century Colonial Australia.  Historical Archaeology 45(4): 1-19.

Brooks, Alasdair, Hans-Dieter Bader, Susan Lawrence, and Jane Lennon. 2009 Ploughzone Archaeology on an Australian Historic Site. Australian Archaeology 68: 37-44.

Brooks, Alasdair and Graham Connah 2007 A Hierarchy of Servitude: Ceramics at Lake Innes Estate, New South Wales. Antiquity 81: 133-147.

Brooks, Alasdair 2005 An Archaeological Guide to British Ceramics in Australia, 1788-1901, Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology, Sydney and La Trobe University Archaeology Program, Melbourne.


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