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Prof Julian Thomas - personal details

Contact details

Role: Professor of Archaeology

Tel: 0161 275-3017

Location: Mansfield Cooper Building-4.15
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
The University of Manchester
M13 9PL





Julian Thomas was born in Epsom in 1959, and educated at the Universities of Bradford (BTech in Archaeological Sciences, 1981) and Sheffield (MA 1982, PhD 1986). His doctoral research was concerned with social and economic change in the Neolithic of Southern England. He was a lecturer in archaeology at Lampeter University between 1987 and 1993, and taught at Southampton from 1994 to 2000. He took up the Chair of Archaeology at Manchester in April 2000.

Julian is a Vice President of the Royal Anthropological Institute. He was the Secretary of the World Archaeological Congress between 1994 and 1999. He is a life member of the Collingwood Society, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He is editor of the Routledge series, 'Themes in Archaeology', which has recently published volumes by Chris Fowler, Gavin Lucas and Tim Insoll.

Throughout his career, Julian has been involved in field archaeology. Between 1994 and 2002 he was director of a collaborative project with Historic Scotland, concerned with the investigation of a series of prehistoric monuments in Dumfries and Galloway. The first three of these sites, the henge at the Pict's Knowe, the cursus complex at Holywood, and the post alignments at Holm, form the basis for a recent monograph, Place and Memory (Oxbow Books 2007). The second phase of the project (from summer 1999 onwards) involved the sample excavation of a late Neolithic enclosure complex at Dunragit, near Stranraer. More recently, he has been one of the directors of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, together with Mike Parker Pearson (Sheffield), Joshua Pollard (Bristol), Colin Richards (Manchester), Chris Tilley (UCL) and Kate Welham (Bournemouth). Within this project, he has undertaken a re-excavation of the southern timber circle within the great henge of Durrington Walls, and in 2006 investigated two hengiform enclosures inside the Durrington monument. These proved to contain small buildings surrounded by timber palisades, in contrast to the Neolithic houses excavated by Parker Pearson at the east entrance of Durrington Walls. In the summers of 2007 and 2008 he directed excavations at the Greater Stonehenge Cursus and Amesbury 42 long barrow, successfully recovering material to radiocarbon date both monuments to the mid-4th millennium cal. BC.

 In the summer of 2010, Julian began a new field project in south-west Herefordshire, together with Tim Hoverd and Keith Ray of Herefordshire Archaeology.  Excavation took place on a round cairn at Olchon Court Farm, which produced a series of cremation burials, including a multiple burial in a Collared Urn.  Aspects of the architecture of the cairn suggest a deliberate attempt to evoke a much earlier megalithic structure.  In 2012, excavations on Dorstone Hill revealed a previously unknown Neolithic long mound, of complex multi-phase construction, one element of which was a drystone chamber.