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Dr Esther Breithoff

  • Overview



    I joined the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology in 2019 after holding postdoctoral positions at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the UCL Institute of Archaeology. My research spans the fields of Contemporary Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies and has ranged across a number of different topics—including war, natural and cultural heritage, nuclear and petroleum industries, dictatorships and biobanking—but traces a common set of interests in the relationships between conflicts, resources, recycling and rights across more-than-human worlds in the Anthropocene.


    • PhD Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Bristol
    • MA Historical Archaeology of the Modern World, University of Bristol
    • BA International Archaeology & Hispanic Studies, University College Dublin

    Administrative responsibilities

    • UBEL DTP Pathway Lead for Archaeology and Heritage
    • HCA Research Committee

    Professional activities

    Editor Journal of Contemporary Archaeology

    Member of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Peer Review College

    Member of the UKRI AHRC Peer Review College 

    Member of AHRC Network project ‘The Rise of Private Museums and Heritage in East and Southeast Asia’ (

    Honours and awards

    • UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship, UKRI, February 2019
    • UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Renewal, UKRI, February 2023
    • Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) QR “pump priming” allowance, UCL Institute of Archaeology/Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences, November 2019
    • ‘Outstanding PhD Thesis’ award for Excellence in Science and Research, Fond National de la Recherche Luxembourg (Luxembourg National Research Fund), November 2017
    • Santander Travel Grant Award for Research in Latin America on Business and Economic-related themes, Banco Santander, November 2013
    • ‘Best Doctoral Research Thesis’ award for the Faculty of Arts, University of Bristol Research Degrees Exam Board, November 2016
    • FNR Luxembourg Aides à la Formation-Recherche PhD Grant scheme , Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg, November 2012
    • Santander Travel Grant Award for Research in Latin America on Business and Economic-related themes, Banco Santander , November 2011


  • Research


    Research interests

    • conflict archaeologies
    • critical heritage studies
    • Anthropocene
    • posthumanism
    • heritage futures
    • (de)colonialism
    • material culture
    • worlding practices
    • waste and recycling
    • (non)human rights

    Research projects

    Material Memories

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students interested in the archaeology and heritage of recent conflict, and aspects of Contemporary Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies more broadly.

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni since 2013-14



    Convener of The Politics of the Past: Heritage in a Changing World MA module 

    Teaching modules

    • Themes and Concepts in Archaeology (SSHC358S7)
    • Ruins: The Creation of the Past (SSHC566S6)
  • Publications




    Book Section

    Thesis Biron