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Professor Robin Skeates


B.A., D.Phil., F.S.A.

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Professor in the Department of Archaeology206B+44 (0) 191 33 41156
Member of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture  
Member of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East  


My research and publications explore a wide variety of themes within the overlapping inter-disciplinary fields of material, visual and sensual culture studies, and museum and heritage studies.

I was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2005 in recognition of my long-term work on Central Mediterranean prehistoric archaeology, and am currently writing a book on Prehistoric Italy. In 2019, I was made an Honorary Member of the European Association of Archaeologists, having served as General Editor of the European Journal of Archaeology for 9 years; I was also made a Guest Professor in the School of Archaeology at Jilin University, China, having helped to develop collaboration between Durham University, the Palace Museum in Beijing, and Jilin. I am now Associate Editor of Antiquity.

My book, An Archaeology of the Senses: Prehistoric Malta, has led to keynote lecture invitations at home and abroad, a pioneering AHRC-funded collaboration with philosophers on the aesthetics and ethics of archaeology, and commissioning of the Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology (co-edited with Jo Day).

Another volume, Caves in Context (co-edited with Knut-Andreas Bergsvik), has been complemented by two successive British Academy- and other-funded, collaborative, field-projects on the ritual uses of caves in prehistoric Italy, related publications and television interviews, postgraduate student research, and visiting researchers.

In recent years, I have also participated in collaborative work with a variety of archaeological scientists, including post-docs and PhD students, on human bioarchaeology (aDNA and stable isotope analyses) and archaeometry (physical and chemical analyses of ceramic fabrics and of pigments) applied to Central Mediterranean prehistory, adding to my long-standing commitment to radiocarbon dating in this region.

My impact on public archaeology has been enhanced by my work as an archaeological advisor to the National Trust, my related Durham and NT-funded ‘Archaeological Wows’ research project, an AHRC Newton-Khalidi-funded museum modernization project in Jordan (Co-I Shatha Abu-Khafajah), associated publications such as my edited volumes, the Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology and Museums and Archaeology, and postgraduate student research.

I welcome expressions of interest from prospective new post-docs and PhD students.

Research interests

  • cave archaeology
  • archaeological theory
  • prehistory of the central Mediterranean
  • material culture studies
  • artefact studies
  • visual culture
  • prehistoric art
  • museum studies
  • archaeological collecting
  • heritage studies
  • public archaeology
  • ethics
  • cultural representation
  • politics of the past
  • sensual culture studies

Research groups

Research Projects

  • Aesthetics and Ethics of Archaeology Research Network
  • An Archaeology of the Senses: Prehistoric Malta
  • Caves in Context: the Place of Caves in Middle Bronze Age Southern Lazio, Italy
  • Identifying and communicating the ‘wows’ of archaeology outdoors
  • Journeys to the Underworld: Ritual Transformations of Persons, Objects and Caves in Prehistoric Central Sardinia

Esteem Indicators

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Ethics: Archaeological ethics
  • European Prehistory: Mediterranean prehistory - Italy, Malta, etc
  • Art: Visual culture studies
  • Museums: Museum studies


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Edited Journal

Journal Article

Other (Print)

  • Badran, A., Skeates, R., Abu Khafajah, S., Wilkinson, R., Ronza, M.E., Marii, F., Bakkar, L., Massadeh, A., Al Qaisi, M., Kifafi, J., Sharaiaah, F. & Dababneh, R. (2022). Engaging Young People in Museum Learning: Good Practice Guidelines and Recommendations for Anyone Working with Museums, Schools and Universities in Jordan.

Working Paper

Supervision students