Photo of Professor Linda Hurcombe

Professor Linda Hurcombe



Extension: 4347

Telephone: 01392 724347

Linda Hurcombe has broad interests in artefacts and material culture studies. She is especially interested in ethnographies of craft traditions, the sensory worlds of prehistoric societies and the manner in which archaeologists and anthropologists approach artefact studies. She has also worked on Gender and Material Culture, publishing a three co-edited volumes with Macmillan, and explored function as a concept as well as conducting functional analysis of stone tools via wear traces, including Use Wear Analysis and Obsidian. Her research is characterised by the extensive use of experimental archaeology and ethnographies, providing a detailed practical understanding of how materials can be transformed into material culture. Fieldwork projects have been undertaken in Europe and Pakistan and in recent years she has worked with a variety of craftspeople. She has published two books with Routledge on Archaeological Artefacts as Material Culture and Perishable Material Culture in Prehistory: investigating the missing majority.  She has recently co-edited  and contributed three chapters to The Life-Cycle of Structures in Experimental Archaeology: an object biography approach with Sidestone Press

Her work on two related interdisciplinary projects on Touch experiences in museums (AHRC-EPSRC) using a variety of media has led to a joint paper for the international Human Computer Interaction conference which has received acclaim as the 'best paper' for the whole conference publication of c1500 papers.  Further work with museums includes the multi-contributor project to build a full size Bronze Age sewn plank boat at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.  She led Exeter's participation in the EU funded Openarch project focussed on archaeological open-air museums and experimental  archaeology.  It brought together 11 partners across Europe with Exeter the only University participating.  Prof Hurcombe is a leading figure in experimental archaeology and set up the department's  distinctive MA in Experimental Archaeology programme. She has an ongoing project exploring the tools, technologies and skills in building simple shelters and boats, collectively called 'Ephemeral structures' wth some of the work taking place in Open Air Museums.  A feature of her approach is a full understanding of how plants, animals and minerals are transformed into material culture and how to present this information to the public. In the last ten years the touching the past project and her work with experimental archaeology have led to collaborative work with 21 different museums and heritiage centres from six different countries.  Each year Linda leads teams conducting public presentations in  6-8 museums in the UK and abroad.