Experimental archaeology has been a core research and teaching methodology at Sheffield since the early-1990s. Crossing archaeomaterials and environmental archaeology, experimental investigations are a key component of our work and have offered a multifaceted approach to our research. We integrate experimental methodologies and practice into our taught modules to inform interpretation as part of understanding our past.
Our research covers a vast number of archaeological periods from prehistory to recent history, working closely with modern practitioners to inform our work in a collaborative environment.
Our experiments are undertaken in our material science, environmental, microscope and imaging labs, and at dedicated research areas across Sheffield provided by several community-led groups such as Beauchief Abbey, Sheffield City Trust, and Ecclesall Woods Discovery Centre. We have developed extensive experimental collections of metallurgical, glass, seed, and plant material over 30 years, and provide public displays as part of outreach events across Yorkshire and the UK including short courses.
Sheffield Archaeomaterials is the Department of Archaeology’s archaeological materials, material culture, and experimental archaeology research group and lab at the University of Sheffield. We combine multiple modes of material analysis with experimental methodologies to enhance understandings of technology, craft, production, and environmental impact. Our work promotes seminal theoretical discussions on the creation of archaeological data and interpretation through material analysis and experimental archaeology.