A Professor from the University of Leicester has been selected for one of the country's greatest academic honours.

Professor Graeme Barker, Head of the School of Archaeological Studies, joins a distinguished group to be elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.

The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, is the national academy for the humanities and the social sciences - the counterpart of the Royal Society which covers the natural sciences. The Academy is an independent and self-governing fellowship of scholars, elected for distinction and achievement in their respective fields.

Professor Barker is among a small number of leading academics associated with the University of Leicester to have received this honour.

Dr Ken Edwards, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: " This is excellent news. The entire University joins with me in congratulating Professor Barker on this well deserved honour. Professor Barker's election to the British Academy brings great distinction to the University as a whole and to the School of Archaeological Studies in particular."

Professor Barker said: "I am delighted to be elected as a Fellow of the British Academy. It means that my research in landscape archaeology has been recognised by Britain's premier academy of humanities researchers.

"Programmes like Time Team show rightly that archaeology is enormous fun, but whenever possible we should also be trying to learn from the past to help future generations. That is one reason why in recent years, working in Libya and Jordan, I have been interested in trying to understand how farmers have lived in arid countries in the past, how they perceived risks and opportunities, when and why their actions caused irreversible damage to the landscape, and how development programmes can try to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

"I am enormously honoured at becoming a Fellow of the British Academy, and of course delighted for myself, but I know my research draws inspiration and strength from the enthusiasm and talent of my colleagues in Leicester's School of Archaeological Studies, many of whom are prominent in the same kind of archaeology.

"The University is rightly proud of the School's international reputation in landscape archaeology, and this is icing on the cake for us."

Professor Barker was elected Fellow of the British Academy at the 97th annual general meeting on July 1. Other Fellows associated with the University include Professor AM Everitt, Hatton Professor Emeritus of English Local History who was elected in 1989; Dr Joan Thirsk, elected in 1974, was a senior research fellow in Agrarian History in the Department of English Local History from 1951-65; the late Professor Ralph Davis, elected 1973, Professor of Economic History from 1964; and the late Professor WG Hoskins, elected 1969, the founding father of the English Local History Department at the University of Leicester.


Professor Graeme Barker started as a classicist at Cambridge but changed to prehistoric archaeology half way through his degree, graduating in 1969. He then took his PhD at Cambridge on the origins of agriculture in central Italy, spending two years as a Rome Scholar at the British School of Rome.

He was appointed to a Lectureship in Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Sheffield in 1972, became a Senior Lecturer there in 1981, and was Director of the British School at Rome between 1984 and 1988, coming to Leicester as Professor of Archaeology and Head of the School of Archaeological Studies in 1988.

In the ten years he has been at Leicester the School has grown into one of the University's most successful teaching and research departments, with an international reputation for its research in landscape archaeology and historical archaeology. Graeme Barker's main research interests have been on the relationship between people and landscape, from prehistoric times to the present day. He has directed inter-disciplinary research teams of archaeologists and geographers in Italy, Libya and Jordan, as well as conducting other fieldwork in the former Yugoslavia and in Mozambique. He is the author, editor or co-editor of more than 25 books.

He currently chairs the association of Britain's university professors in archaeology, and for the past semester has been a Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, where he has been writing a book on the origins of agriculture, world-wide.


The British Academy was established by Royal Charter in 1902, under the full title of 'The British Academy for the Promotion of Historical, Philosophical and Philological Studies'. It is an independent and self-governing fellowship of scholars, elected for distinction and achievement in one or more branches of the academic disciplines that make up the humanities and social sciences, and is now organised in sixteen Sections by academic discipline. There are Ordinary Fellows, Senior Fellows (over the age of 70), overseas Corresponding Fellows, and Honorary Fellows (whose numbers are limited to twenty). Up to thirty-five new Ordinary Fellows may be elected in any one year.

The British Academy is the national academy for the humanities and the social sciences, the counterpart to the Royal Society which exists to serve the natural sciences. The Academy aims to represent the interests of scholarship nationally and internationally; to give recognition to excellence; to promote and support advanced research; to further international collaboration and exchange; to promote public understanding of research and scholarship; to publish the results of research.

Professor Graeme Barker

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Last updated: 02 July 1999 09:25
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