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Facilities and Equipment 

The Department of Anthropology hosts a range of state-of-the-art research facilities that are used and run by academic members of staff and their postgraduate students. Given our commitment to research-led teaching, undergraduates and taught postgraduates frequently conduct research projects using these facilities.

Material culture collection

The department houses an extensive collection of material culture objects from around the world which are actively used in both research and teaching of ethnography.

This in-house collection of over 2000 objects is the only collection in the North East of England that is still actively acquiring objects. It is a museum registered (DURAN) collection with online database access, fully catalogued by various classes, and photographed. It is supplemented by a range of materials available elsewhere within the university, including the Museum of Archaeology and the Oriental Museum.

For further information about our holdings, please contact the curator, Mrs Judith Manghan.

See our material culture collection

Student and tutor looking through a box

Durham Infancy and Sleep Centre

The Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre (DISC), directed by Professor Helen Ball, is home to a team of researchers who investigate the behaviour and physiology of infant, child and adult sleep, as well as night-time parenting, infant feeding, and other infant and child health issues. The Centre houses state of the art video and physiology monitoring equipment.

Students of all levels are actively involved in DISC projects, from undergraduates to PhD, and have provided research opportunities for over 80 volunteers, interns, and research associates.

Find out more about the Durham Infancy and Sleep Centre

 Researcher on a laptop monitoring their subject's sleep patterns


Physical Activity lab

The Physical Activity Lab, run by Dr Tessa Pollard, holds equipment for monitoring physical activity in people going about their everyday lives, from accelerometers to GPS devices. Sedentary lifestyles pose one of the key threats to health in many populations and the Physical Activity Lab focuses on understanding how and why activity levels differ across different groups. Current research uses mixed quantitative and qualitative methods and focuses on activity in migrant populations in the UK and in hunter-gatherers in Africa.

Find out more about our physical activity lab.

Person's feet in trainers running up steps

Anthropology field station in South Africa

The permanent base for Professor Russell Hill’s Primate & Predator Project, based within the Soutpansberg Mountains of South Africa. This unique resource provides office facilities, living space, and 12 accommodation units for students, staff, and volunteers engaged in research on the project.

The field station hosts the South Africa Field Course each year for second-year undergraduate students. Interactions between habituated primates and local predators are the focus of the research on site, as well as the conservation implications of these relationships.

Contact Professor Russell Hill for further details of the Anthropology Field Station.

Exterior of the field station in South Africa

Durham Ecology and Endocrinology Laboratory

The Durham Ecology and Endocrinology Laboratory, run by Professor Gillian Bentley, was set up in 2009 to measure biological markers in human samples such as blood or saliva. Hormones of particular interest include cortisol, testosterone, progesterone, oestradiol, and DHEAS, as well as immunity markers (C-reactive protein) in saliva. This purpose-built facility includes fridge and freezer storage and is fully equipped to process samples and perform enzyme-linked immuno-absorbent (ELISA) assays. Students from all degree-levels have been working on various projects in the lab.

Find out more about Durham Ecology and Endocrinology Laboratory.

Student creating samples in the laboratory

Bilsborough Laboratory

The Bilsborough Laboratory houses one of the best collections of fossil hominin cast material in the country for palaeoanthropological and morphometric research in biological anthropology. It comprises an extensive collection of hominin casts as well as human and non-human primate skeletal material, with an emphasis on skulls (approximately 70 non-human primate examples and 25 human skulls).

This material is used for both research and teaching purposes. Linear measurements, as well as 3D data capture, is possible, using digital callipers, scanning equipment and digitizers.

For further information contact Dr Trudi Buck or Dr Fire Kovarovic.