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Dr Matthew Davies
Institute of Advanced Studies
South Cloisters, Wilkins Building, Gower Street London
  • Lecturer
  • UCL Institute for Global Prosperity
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

I completed my doctorate on the applied archaeology and anthropology of farming systems in northwest Kenya in Oxford in 2009 and then took up the post of Assistant Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) based in Nairobi, Kenya. From 2010 to 2013 I held a joint fellowship in East African Archaeology with the BIEA and based at the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge. From 2014-2015 I was Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the McDonald Institute. 

I sit on the Governing Council and Research Committee of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, am  a senior editor for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History and have recently joined the editorial board of the Cambridge Archaeological Journal. I also sit on the governing council of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) and the African Archaeological Conservation Advisory Committee of the PanAfrican Archaeological Association. I was previously a Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge. 

Outside of academia I have a wonderful wife and son and I love running, cycling and trekking!

Research Summary

I am a Historical Ecologist trained in anthropology and archaeology. I work on a range of topics in eastern Africa with specific focus on the sustainability and resilience of agricultural and pastoral landscapes and communities in Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan. The primary focus of my field research is the development of applied understandings of African farming practices, communities and landscapes over the last five hundred years but I also research and write on a range of other topics in archaeology and anthropology with focus on Africa, landscapes, heritage and public archaeology. My work is inherently interdisciplinary and involves the integration of anthropological, historical, ecological, climatic, spatial and archaeological data to address contemporary challenges of landscape and ecological management. I am also particularly interested in developing stronger models for community engagement and community led interdisciplinary research in Africa, drawing on models from Citizen Science and making use of mobile and internet technologies. I currently co-direct the Marakwet Heritage Project with anthropologist Professor Henrietta Moore and coordinate the British Academy funded African Farming Research Network. Through the Marakwet Heritage Project my work is diversifying into aspects of biodiversity and health wile the African Farming Network has presented some exciting engagements in South Africa and Nigeria. Further details can be found via my personal website: www.md564.wordpress.com and via my project websites:



My research has been funded by UK Arts and Humanities Research Council masters and doctoral studentships, the Tweedie Exploration Fund, the British Institute in Eastern Africa, the McDonald Institute, the Leverhulme Trust, the Newton Trust and the British Academy. 

Teaching Summary

I currently teach a range of topics on the three African Studies Core courses:

- AFRIG01 Africa: Dialogues of Past and Present
- AFRIG02 Debating Africa's Future
- AFRIG03 Research Methods in African Studies

I also offer the African Studies option course AFRIG04 African Historical Ecologies c. AD 1800 to present

From October 2016 I will also teach on the new MSc in Global Prosperity

I contribute to teaching on the Archaeology course ARCLG230 Climate Change and Human Response in Holocene Africa, and the Geography course GEOG2014 Development Geography.

I currently supervise two PhD projects:

- Samuel Lunn-Rockliffe, 'Indigeniety and Sengwer-Cherangani foragers in the Cherangani Hills, Kenya'.
- Chioma Ngonadi, 'The development and archaeology of farming in Lejju, Southeast Nigeria'.

Previous teaching:

I have previously taught a range of archaeological topics at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, including core components in landscape archaeology and the Cambridge option course on the Archaeology of Africa. I have also supervised a range of undergraduate and masters dissertation topics. Further details can be found on my personal website: https://md564.wordpress.com/about/teaching/. 

Academic Background
2017 FHEA ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow – Academic studies in Higher Education University College London
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