Professor Bruce Bradley


I am Professor of Prehistory at the University of Exeter  and have several international institutional affiliations including Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution, adjunct Professor at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD and Adjunct faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India. I was raised in Michigan and was always fascinated by ‘Indian relics’ and spent as much time outdoors as possible. My summers were spent camping, canoeing, fishing etc. in northern Michigan and I was on track to pursue studies in herpetology. My family moved to outside Tucson, Arizona when I was in High School and the desert became my universe. This was where I first encountered ancient artefacts.   I entered the University of Arizona and received a BA in anthropology with a minor in geology, but a passion for archaeology. Although I wanted to work in the Southwest (US) I had an opportunity to spend a summer digging in southwestern France, and my world changed again. I worked with renowned prehistorian François Bordes. Under his tutelage I gained proficiency in flintknapping, which opened up amazing opportunities and has influenced my archaeological career since. I received a PhD in archaeology from the University of Cambridge in experimental archaeology in 1977. Over the subsequent three decades I have been involved in research and excavations in England, France, Ireland, Spain, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Russia and am now developing collaborative research in Brazil. I also worked extensively in Paleoindian sites in Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas. Even with all of this I have maintained my involvement in some of the leading archaeological research in the northern Southwest US that is redefining ancient Pueblo history. While many of my fellow University students went directly into academia, I spent much of my career working with and teaching interested members of the public, while undertaking research and maintaining ties with a number of Universities and museums.In 2003 I had the opportunity to join the University of Exeter Archaeology department and begin my formal academic career.

This has been a great adventure and I can think of no other place I would rather be teaching. The Department of Archaeology is dynamic, friendly and very diverse with many international networks and enthusiastic students.  We have great facilities and access to labs and outdoor spaces to conduct experiments.  

Having raised a family in rural western Colorado where any journey involved a car, my wife and I are enjoying residing near the centre of Exeter without a car.   We love the community and the friendly nature of Devonians.

I have concluded my research in Russia (although a new project may be on the horizon), Kazakhstan and France, while still maintaining contacts, and am focusing on the Ice Age colonization of North America, the Clovis Culture and Cultural Revitalization in the prehistoric northern US Southwest. As with most academic staff I have many roles along with research. I greatly enjoy teaching and interacting with students. Since starting in Exeter I have taken students on excavations in Russia, France, Ireland, Kazakhstan, South Dakota and Texas. I plan to continue to involve students in fieldwork and to encourage their direct participation in my research.

Along with teaching and research, I have attend and presented at international conferences, acted as external examiner for universities in the US, UK and Sweden and fulfilled a number of administrative roles. I was director of the Centre for Archaeology of the Americas in the College of Humanities.

I retired from the University of Exeter at the end of August 2017 and moved back to our family home outside of Cortez,Colorado.