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Professor Paul Lane has been appointed as the inaugural Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professor of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa at the University of Cambridge.

"Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Jonathan and Jennifer Oppenheimer Foundation we are delighted to announce Professor Paul Lane as the inaugural Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professor of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa,” said Professor Cyprian Broodbank, Head of the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge.  
“Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role and will lead ambitious research projects and teaching initiatives that will advance and expand our understanding of humanity’s deep to more recent history across Africa, shaping a dynamic future built upon the continent’s unique history, cultural heritage and achievements.”
Professor Lane was the Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, based in Nairobi, for eight years from 1998-2006, directed and coordinated the Historical Ecologies of East African Landscapes project at the University of York and has been the Professor of Global Archaeology at Uppsala University since 2013.
His main research interests are in the organisation and use of space and time in pre-industrial societies, the historical ecology of African landscapes, the archaeology of colonial encounters, cultural perceptions of place, the materialisation of memory, maritime archaeology and the transition to farming in Africa.

Professor Lane commented, “I am honoured to have been appointed to the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professorship of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa, and excited by the opportunity it provides for teaching and research on all periods of African archaeology at the university.”

“The inauguration of this Professorship sends an important signal regarding Africa’s remarkable contributions to global archaeology, and the importance of understanding the deep past for trying to address some of the many challenges facing the continent today. To do this, we need new cross-disciplinary conversations about Africa’s pasts and how and why they are relevant to its future.”

“I hope, too, that by facilitating deeper public understanding and engagement with the continent’s archaeology, in collaboration with colleagues here in the UK, on the continent and around the world, we can enhance global commitment to protecting its rich heritage for future generations.”

Professor Lane will also be named the Mandela Magdalene Memorial Fellow at Magdalene College in memory of Nelson Mandela, who was an Honorary Fellow of the College. Magdalene College has a proud tradition of association with Africa and this Fellowship will ensure the Professor joins a vibrant community of scholars and students undertaking research across the continent’s varied history and present.

Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene, commented: “We are very glad indeed as a College to welcome the appointment of such a globally distinguished and internationally experienced archaeologist to this new position.  We greatly look forward to having Professor Lane as a colleague and to the contribution he will make both to the University and to Africa.”

Professor Lane will take up the post in the Department of Archaeology later in 2018.


15 January 2018



Professor Paul Lane