Centre for Historical Archaeology

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The Centre for Historical Archaeology is the UK’s only research institution dedicated to the archaeological study of the past 500 years. The CHA strives to foster productive and exciting scholarly discussion and debate on the recent past. We coordinate research seminars, interdisciplinary research, while mentoring our postgraduate students as teachers and researchers. We aim to nurture a highly engaged community of historically-minded archaeologists and archaeologically-minded historians interested primarily in the material and social issues that cross-cut our various theoretical, temporal and geographical specialties.

The School is home to Britain’s largest grouping of researchers specialising in historical archaeology. Come to our lunchtime seminars!

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What is historical archaeology?

The CHA takes historical archaeology to mean the study of the past 500 hundred years, but embraces comparison with other historical periods. Drawing upon archaeological, archival, and oral data sets, historical archaeologists combine multiple lines of evidence to foster sophisticated and complex perspectives on the past. Members of the CHA practice local, regional, national and international archaeologies. We focus on themes which have relevance in contemporary societies, such as social inequality, identity, conflict, and heritage. The CHA’s  flagship projects is Professor Sarah Tarlow’s Criminal Corpses Project. Check out our research and recent graduates pages for the diverse array of topics, approaches, and sources that is historical archaeology!

History and Goals of the CHA

The Centre for Historical Archaeology was established in 2008 by Professor Marilyn Palmer to build on the strength of historical archaeology in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester.


The Centre is focusing activity on developing jointly funded research projects, creative student dissertation projects, PhD studentships and post-doctoral fellowships. In 2013 we hosted the Society for Historical Archaeology's 46th annual conference. The Centre offers a well established distance learning Masters programme in Archaeology and Heritage as well as campus-based modules in historical archaeology.

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The Centre supports dialogue in the discipline through the coordination of conferences and a seminar series.

Currently, staff of the School play major roles in the Society for Historical Archaeology, the Society for Medieval Archaeology, the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, the Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA), the Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory group (CHAT), and the Association for Industrial Archaeology.

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