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Dr Karina Croucher

PositionSenior Lecturer in Archaeology
LocationK25, Richmond building
DepartmentSchool of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences
Telephone+44 (0) 1274 235335
Blog AddressVisit my blog

Research Interests (key words only)

Archaeology for social change; cultural heritage management and displaced/host communities; archaeology of Jordan and the Middle East; Funerary Archaeology; Archaeological Theory; Prehistory; Identity and personhood; Gender and sexuality; Relationship Archaeology; Interdisciplinary research into death and dying; end of life care

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Head of Postgraduate Taught Programmes, School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences

Academic lead for Bradford, AHRC Heritage Consortium PhD programme

Programme Leader: MA in Archaeology & Identity

Module Coordinator:

  • Interpreting the Past (Level 5)
  • Funerary Archaeology (Level 6)
  • Archaeology and the Contemporary World (Level 6)
  • Grave Concerns (Level 7)

Contributes to:

  • Introduction to World Prehistory (Level 5)
  • Prehistoric Societies (Level 6)
  • Dissertation Modules (UG and Masters)


I have been at the University of Bradford since 2012 and enjoy teaching and researching in such a world-leading department. I am interested in inter-disciplinary approaches to understanding the past, and the role of the past today, as evidenced in my recent Arts and Humanities Research Council Project, 'Continuing Bonds: exploring the meaning and legacy of death through past and contemporary practice', which unites Archaeology with End of Life Care (, and the Dying to Talk Project ( which co-produced a resource encouraging young people to discuss death and dying.

My research also focuses on Middle Eastern prehistory, particularly funerary archaeology - investigating how people treated their dead in the past. My British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship resulted in the publication of 'Death and Dying in the Neolithic Near East' (2012, Oxford University Press).

My current research in Jordan unites the above research strands, focusing on the role that cultural heritage plays in identity, social cohesion, and in providing a sense of place, particularly for displaced and host communities.

I have lectured at Manchester and Liverpool Universities and have worked for the University of Manchester's Widening Participation Team, and for the Higher Education Academy's Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology (based at Liverpool University), where I researched and worked on topics including diversity and inclusivity, fieldwork, employability and enterprise, and sustainability.

These prior positions and my current research reflect my interest in methodological issues of interpretation, representation and the portrayal of the past in the present.

Study History

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2008-2011.  Being in the World: Perceptions of the body and identity from the earliest villages to state societies. University of Manchester.

PhD in Archaeology 2005. Thesis: Treatment of the Body in the Ancient Near East, University of Manchester, Funded by the AHRC. Supervised by Prof Stuart Campbell

MA in Archaeology (with Distinction) 2001. Dissertation: The Bodily Experience of the Mourner, University of Manchester, Funded by the AHRC. Supervised by Prof Julian Thomas

BA(Hons) in Archaeology (First Class) 2000. University of Manchester. Supervised by Dr David Coombs

Professional Activities

  • Faculty of Life Sciences Director, Equality & Diversity
  • Living with the dead: Death and the Distributed Life Course. Invited Keynote (Newcastle 2018)
  • Remember Me Conference (2018)
  • ICANNE (Munich 2018)
  • APM Supportive & Palliative Care Conference (2018)
  • Death, Dying and Disposal Conference (2017)
  • Theoretical Archaeology Group US (Toronto 2017)
  • Skeletons, Stories and Social Bodies Conference (2017)
  • National Association of Palliative Care Educators (2017)
  • Lead of Athena SWAN Department Submission, SAFS
  • Chair, British Association for Near Eastern Archaeology Steering Group
  • Member of the AHRC Peer Review College
  • Higher Education Academy Senior Fellow
  • National Committee member, Theoretical Archaeology Group
  • Member of the Bradford, Airedale & Craven Palliative and End of Life Research Group
  • Member of the Palliative Care Research Society
  • Member of the World Archaeology Congress
  • GENOVATE for Life Sciences, University of Bradford
  • Gender Staff Forum, University of Bradford
  • Organiser of international conferences:
    • Theoretical Archaeology Group (2015)
    • Is Gender Still Relevant (2014), funded by the British Academy
  • Recent conference presentations include:
    • ICAANE (Vienna, Austria 2016; Basel, Switzerland 2014)
    • Marginal Death Symposium (2015)
    • Neolithic Studies Group (2015, 2014)
    • Materialities of Care (2015)
    • Association of Palliative Day Services (2015)
    • BANEA (2015)
    • European Association of Archaeologists (Istanbul 2014)
    • The 10th Palliative Care Conference - presentation on Archaeological research and contemporary attitudes to Death and Dying (winning poster) (Harrogate 2014)
    • British Academy Pedagogy and the Academy (2014)
    • Women in Archaeology (2014)
    • Theoretical Archaeology Group US (Chicago 2013; Berkeley 2011; Stanford 2009)

Research Areas

Death and Dying: Funerary archaeology and mortuary practices across the world and through time, particularly of the Neolithic of the Middle East/Southwest Asia, investigating themes such as identity, gender and personhood.

Archaeology and its relevance today: Communicating the value of archaeology, and pioneering a new approach to encouraging talk about death and dying today, through the use of the past and The role of archaeology in using creative media to discuss difficult topics, the topic of Continuing Bonds: Creative Disseminations (due to start Jan 2019) and work allied with the Whitworth Park Project, Manchester.

Role of archaeology and cultural heritage to displaced communities and host communities, particularly in Jordan and the Middle East, as well as highlighting role of cultural heritage in social cohesion.

Archaeological pedagogy (research in to teaching and learning in archaeology). Currently co-authoring Assembling Archaeology: A relational approach to teaching, practice and research, Oxford University Press

Undercutting these research areas is a motivation to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity in research and teaching.

Current Projects

Dying to Talk: an interdisciplinary project working with charities and community groups in Bradford

Continuing Bonds: Creative Disseminations, due to start Jan 2019

Continuing Bonds: exploring the meaning and legacy of death through past and contemporary practice. Funded by the AHRC. Archaeology meets Palliative Care. 

Member of the AHRC-funded 'Crossing Over' network, an interdisciplinary research group focusing on dying and grief, on the 'Objects as untold stories' project.



Cobb, H. and K. Croucher, Forthcoming. Archaeology: A relational approach to teaching, practice and research. Book contract with Oxford University Press 

Croucher, K. 2012. Death and Dying in the Neolithic Near East, Oxford: Oxford University Press 

Croucher, K., H. Cobb and A. Brennan, 2008. Investigating the Role of Fieldwork in the Undergraduate Degree, Carnegie Publishers/Higher Education Academy 

Edited volumes: 

G. S. Smith, K. Croucher, T. Lertcharnrit, I. Lilley and I. Russell (eds.), 2013. "Cultural Heritage Management" Section, the Encyclopaedia of Global Archaeology, Springer 

Croucher, K. and H. Cobb (eds.), 2008. Prehistoric Pedagogies: Approaches to teaching European Prehistoric Archaeology. Special collection in Research in Archaeological Education 2 

Chapters and Journal articles 

Cobb, H. and K. CroucherIn press. Rising, Falling, Assembling: Pedagogy in British Archaeology. In Messenger, P. and S. Bender (eds.), History and Approaches to Heritage Studies, University Press Florida  

Croucher, KIn press. Afterword: The Public Archaeology of Death: Emotion, Equality and Student Experience. In Williams, H. and Osborne, J. M. (editors) Dead Relevant: Studies in Public Mortuary Archaeology. Sheffield: Equinox Press 

Croucher, KIn press. Plastered skulls: evidence of grief and mourning. In Becker, J., C. Beuger and B. Müller-NeuhofIconography and Symbolic Meaning. Vienna: Austrian Academy for Science 

Giles, M. and K. Croucher, in press. Dig! ArtsAccess Project: Reclaiming Park Spaces, in Engaging Communities in Archaeology, in A. Ezzeldin, C. Pudney and H. Williams. Oxford: Archaeopress. 

Büster, L., K. Croucher , J. Dayes, C. Faull, L. Green, 2018. From Plastered Skulls to Palliative Care: What the Past Can Teach Us About Dealing with Death, in H. Williams and L. Richardson (eds) Death in the Contemporary World: Perspectives from Public Archaeology, AP Online Journal of Public Archaeology Special Issue 3 - 2018.  

Croucher, K. 2017. Keeping the dead close: grief and bereavement in the treatment of skulls from the Neolithic Middle East. Mortality, 1-18.  

Croucher, K2017. Living with the dead, past and present: A reinterpretation of Southwest Asia’s Neolithic mortuary practices in light of contemporary theories of bereavement. In Bradbury, J. and Philip, G. (editors) Engaging with the Dead: exploring changing human beliefs about death, mortality and the human body. Oxford: Oxbow. 201-209.  

Croucher, K. and E. Belcher. 2017. Prehistoric Anatolian Figurines. In The Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Figurines, Insoll, T. (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press 

Wilson, A.S., K. Manchester, J. Buckberry, R. Storm and K. Croucher 2017. Digitised Diseases: Seeing beyond the specimen to understanding disease and disability in the past. In Tilley & Schrenk (eds.) New Developments in the Bioarchaeology of Care. Springer. Pp. 301-315  

Cobb, H. and K. Croucher2016. Personal, Political, Pedagogic: Challenging the binary bind in archaeological pedagogy. In “Binary Binds”: Deconstructing Sex and Gender Dichotomies in Archaeological Practice. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. DOI 10.1007/s10816-016-9292-0 

Belcher, E. and K. Croucher, 2016. Exchanges of Identity in Prehistoric Anatolian Figurines. In Proceedings of the 9th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Stucky, R.A., O. Kaelin and H.-P. Mathys, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag 

Croucher, K. 2015. Life and death in late-prehistoric to early historic Mesopotamia. In ‘Death shall have no dominion: the archaeology of mortality and immortality’, Renfrew, C., M.Boyd and R.Morley (eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 

Cobb, H. and K. Croucher, 2014. Assembling archaeological pedagogy: a theoretical framework for valuing pedagogy in archaeological interpretation and practice. Archaeological Dialogues 21(2): 197-216 

Croucher, K., H. Cobb and E. Casella, 2014. Feminist Pedagogy: Implications and Practice. In Género y Arqueología en MesoaméricaHomenaje a Rosemary A. Joyce. M. J. Rodríguez-Shadow and S. Kellogg (eds.), Centro de Estudios de Antropología de la Mujer: Lomas de Plateros, Pp. 121-136 

Croucher, K. and C. Richards, 2014. Wrapping Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in images. In Wrapping and Unwrapping the Body – Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives’, Harris, S. and L. Douny (Eds.). Institute of Archaeology, UCL. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press 

Casella, E. and K. Croucher, 2013. Decay, temporality & the politics of conservation: An archaeological approach to object studies. In Objects and Materials, A Routledge Companion, Harvey, P., E. Casella, G. Evans, H. Knox, C. McLean, E. Silva, N. Thoburn and K. Woodward (eds.). London: Routledge 

Croucher, K. 2013. Bodily identity: a discussion of mortuary practices and bodily treatment in the Upper Mesopotamian Later Neolithic. In Interpreting the Late Neolithic of Upper Mesopotamia, Nieuwenhuyse, O., A. Russell, P. Akkermans and R. Bernbeck (eds.). Publications on Archaeology of the Leiden Museum of Archaeology (PALMA), Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers. Pp. 100-201 

Croucher, K. 2013. Heritage and Education’. In ‘Cultural Heritage Management’ Section, the Encyclopaedia of Global Archaeology, G. S. Smith, K. Croucher, T. Lertcharnrit, I. Lilley and I. Russell (eds.), Springer 

Casella, E. and K. Croucher, 2011. ‘Beyond human: the materiality of personhood’, Feminist Theory 12: 209-217. special issue: Interchanges section 

Cobb, H. and K. Croucher 2011. Field Schools, transferable skills and enhancing employability. In Global Perspectives on Archaeological Field Schools: Constructions of Knowledge and Experience, Mytum, H. (ed.). Springer Press. Pp. 25-40.  

Richards, C., K. Croucher, T. Paoa, T. Parish, E. Tucki and K. Welham, 2011. Road my body goes: re-creating ancestors from stone at the great moai quarry of Rano Raraku, Rapa Nui (Easter Island). World Archaeology 43(2): 191-210 

Cobb, H. and K. Croucher 2011. Field Schools, transferable skills and enhancing employability. In Global Perspectives on Archaeological Field Schools: Constructions of Knowledge and Experience, Mytum, H. (ed.). Springer Press. Pp. 25-40 

Croucher, K. 2011. Prehistoric Anatolia. In The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion, Insoll, T. and R. Maclean (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 826-845 

Croucher, K. 2010/11. Tactile engagements: the world of the dead in the lives of the living... or ‘sharing the dead’. In The principle of sharing – segregation and construction of social identities at the transition from foraging to farming, Benz, M. (ed.). Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment (SENEPSE). Berlin: Ex Oriente. Pp. 277-300 

Croucher, K. 2010. The Past in the Present: Issues, perspectives and challenges in teaching & learning archaeology in the UK. In Heritage Values in Contemporary Society. Smith, G., P.M. Messenger and H. Soderland (eds.). University Press of Florida. Pp. 177-195 

Croucher, K. 2010. Bodies in pieces in the Neolithic Near East. In Body Parts and Wholes: Changing relations and meanings, Hughes, J., Rebay, K. and Sørensen, M.L.S (eds.), Oxbow Books. Pp. 6-19 

Croucher, K. 2010. Figuring out Identity: The Body and Identity in the ‘Ubaid. In The ‘Ubaid and Beyond: Exploring the transmission of culture in the developed prehistoric societies of the Middle East, Carter, R. and G. Phillips (eds.). Chicago: Oriental Institute Publications of the Oriental Institute. Pp. 113-124 

Croucher, K. and S. Campbell, 2009. Dying for a change? Bringing new senses to Near Eastern Neolithic mortuary practice. In Que(e)rying Archaeology: the proceedings of the 30th annual Chacmool Conference, Calgary, Tereny, S., N. Lyons and J. Kelly (eds.). Calgary: Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary. Pp. 95-105 

Croucher, K. 2008.Ambiguous genders, altered identities: Alternative interpretations of figurine and mortuary evidence from the ‘PPNB’ – ‘Halaf’ periods. In Gender Through Time in the Ancient Near East, Bolger, D. (ed.). New York: Alta Mira Press. Pp. 21-52 

Daems, A. and K. Croucher, 2008. Prehistory of Iran: Artificial cranial modification. In Encyclopaedia Iranica, July 2008: 1-4 

Daems, A. and K. Croucher, 2007. Cranial Modification in Ancient Iran. Iranica Antiqua 42: 1-21 

Croucher, K. 2006. Death, Display and Performance: A discussion of the mortuary remains at Çayönü Tepesi, Southeast Turkey. In Archaeology of Cult and Death, Georgiadis, M. and C. Gallou (eds). Budapest: Archaeolingua Publications. Pp.11-44 

Croucher, K. 2006. Getting Ahead: Exploring meanings of skulls in the Neolithic Near East. In Skull Collection, Modification and Decoration, Bonogofsky, M. (ed.). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports International Series S1589, Archaeopress. Pp. 29-44 

Croucher, K2005Queerying Near Eastern Archaeology, World Archaeology 37(4): 609-619.

In the News/Media

Interviews on BCB Radio, Feb and May 2016, based on the Continuing Bonds project.

eHospice - Archaeology meets Palliative Care - March 2014

The Conversation

Death and Dying in the Neolithic Near East (Croucher, 2012) received media coverage during the summer of 2012, including Manchester Evening News, a radio interview on BBC Radio Manchester (31st July), and subsequent broadcasts on seventeen BBC radio stations (BBC Radio Five Live; BBC Radio Sussex; BBC Radio Tees; BBC Radio Kent; BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester; BBC Radio Essex; BBC TV Northern Ireland; BBC Radio Stoke; BBC Radio Wiltshire/Swindon; BBC Radio Suffolk; BBC Radio Northampton; BBC Radio Nottingham; BBC Radio Berkshire; BBC Radio Solent; BBC Radio Derby; BBC Radio Manchester; BBC Radio Merseyside; BBC Radio Cambridge). The book was also the focus of a 2 hour radio discussion programme, BBC Radio Five Live’s ‘Up All Night’, August 2012.

Media coverage for my work has also included my research on Easter Island, addressing current misconceptions about the Island’s history, covered in the Daily Telegraph, the Channel Four news website, BBC Radio Manchester, Heritage Key, and in South America media.

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