Esteemed prize recognises academic's exceptional achievements and promising future

Posted by pt91 at Oct 24, 2016 11:50 AM |
University wins second Philip Leverhulme Prize in two years for work in Ancient History and Archaeology

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 24 October 2016

Photographs of Dr Oliver Harris available to download (credit: University of Leicester) from:

An outstanding academic at the University of Leicester has received a prestigious £100,000 Prize for Archaeology – this is the second award in two years from the Leverhulme Trust for research at Leicester in the subject area.

Dr Oliver Harris, Associate Professor of Archaeology at Leicester, is being honoured with the Philip Leverhulme Prize. The Prize recognises the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising.

Dr Harris, of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this award from the Leverhulme Trust. The money will allow me to concentrate on my research, and in particular to start a new project examining how the work of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze can help us to develop new concepts with which to analyse archaeological problems. This builds on my current research on the nature of archaeological assemblages, and my long-term interests in the theory and philosophy of the discipline. The money will also be used to facilitate further examination and specialist study of materials recovered from my fieldwork in Ardnamurchan.”

Dr Harris is co-director of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project. This is a long running research project into changing lifeways on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, western Scotland. The project aims to understand how human occupation of one specific landscape changed at key moments of social transition, such as the start of farming, the beginning of metal work, the arrival of the Vikings, or the Highland Clearances. Through this project Oliver has directed excavations of a Neolithic chambered cairn, a Bronze Age kerbed cairn and a Viking boat burial - the first of its kind discovered on the UK mainland. This project has also developed numerous innovative teaching strategies, leading to it recently being awarded the Archaeological Training Forum award at the 2014 IfA conference.

Professor David Mattingly, Head of School and Professor of Roman Archaeology, said: “The Philip Leverhulme Prizes are a benchmark of disciplinary esteem for early career researchers and I am delighted that in the first year they have been open to archaeologists, Oliver has won one of the handful of awards in the subject. As another member of the School, Naoise Mac Sweeney, also won a similar award in Classics last year, this is a tremendous validation of the calibre of staff we have and of our standing nationally.”

Philip Leverhulme Prizes have been offered since 2001 in commemoration of the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip Leverhulme, the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of the Trust.  Every year the prize scheme makes up to thirty awards of £100,000, across a range of academic disciplines.


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Dr Oliver Harris on

About the Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust was established by the Will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers. Since 1925 the Trust has provided grants and scholarships for research and education; today it is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing approximately £80 million a year. For more information: / @LeverhulmeTrust

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