Blue / Grey hero banner image


This talk will explore the connections between archaeological sites and psychical research in the early twentieth century. Dr Thornton considers the history of the SPR and highlights a case study of the use of psychometry in archaeological research.

History of Archaeology: My interest in the history of archaeology springs directly from research in archaeological archives, both documentary and photographic.  I view the history of archaeology as a unique way to explore historical contexts. Themes I have explored include: education and professionalisation in archaeology, exhibitions, the development of antiquities services, and fundraising and sponsorship.  My current research interests include psychical research and archaeology and archaeology and tourism.

Social Networks and Prosopography: Archaeological archives are full of networks tying archaeologists to local communities, administrations/governments, scholarly societies and social clubs, universities, publishers, architects, artists, the military and countless others.  Creating detailed prosopographies, which collect together information on individuals with common interests, reveals the complexity of archaeological relationships - both personal and professional - yielding a wide range of themes for analysis.

Archaeological Archives: Archaeological archives are rich sources of research material for national and imperial history, cultural  interaction, migration, exchange and institutional development.  The Institute of Archaeology has a wide ranging collection of archives donated by archaeologists working in a variety of locations in Britain and beyond. My research in the Institute's collection has primarily focused on the archives of George and Agnes Horsfield, who explored and excavated sites across the British Mandate Territory of Transjordan during the inter-war period, and are particularly associated with the spectacular site of Petra.

Public Archaeology: In examining the history of archaeology, the public face of archaeology and archaeologists is constantly revealed.  My interest in public archaeology is in the connection between archaeology, politics and policy, particularly in international contexts, and how this connection has contributed (and continues to contribute) to shaping the world we know today.  I have also explored communication and public engagement in archaeology, with particular focus on Wikipedia and blogs.

Research Directory Records

Archaeology and Communication

History of Archaeology

Popular Publishing and the Construction of an Archaeological Identity in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Educational Background

2011: PhD in Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology
Thesis title: British Archaeologists, Social Networks and the Emergence of a Profession: the social history of British archaeology in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East 1870-1939

2006: MA in Museum Studies (Distinction), UCL Institute of Archaeology 

2003: BA in History, Haverford College, Pennsylvania, USA


10th July, 2014 6:35 PM through  9:00 PM
Lecture Hall of the Kensington Central Library
Campden Hill Road
W8 7RX
United Kingdom
Show large map
Office Phone: 020 7937 8984