I am a Professor of Archaeology and Pedagogy (PFHEA, MCIfA, FSA., FSA Scot.) at the University of Manchester and the University of Manchester’s Lead for Academic Development. Through my teaching, research and leadership I passionately advocate for inclusivity, equality and diversity in both the present (contemporary archaeological practice and higher education), and the past (British Prehistory).
I undertake award winning teaching and fieldwork (AdvanceHE National Teaching Fellow 2022, University of Manchester Teaching Excellence Award 2018, Archaeology Training Forum award 2014), and am a director of the multi period Ardnamurchan Transitions Project (2006 – present). I also co-directed the Western Pennines Mesolithic Project (2017/18) and the Whitworth Park Community Archaeology and History Project (2010-2014). I am one of the creators of the Archaeological Skills Passport, a Trustee of the Enabled Archaeology Foundation and, between 2015 and 2022 I founded and chaired the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists Equality and Diversity Group. I am also one of the leads of the University of Manchester’s Prehistory to Primary Schools Project.
I have played a leadership role in teaching and learning at the University of Manchester since 2016. I am the University’s lead for Academic Development (2021 – present). In 2022 I was the interim Associate Dean for Teaching Learning and Students (Online and Blended) in the Faculty of Humanities. Before this I was the Associate Director for Employability and Academic Advising (2015-2016) and Associate Director for eLearning and Teaching Innovation (2018-2022) in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.
I also play a leading role in global conversations about teaching and learning in archaeology and heritage. With Dr Karina Croucher (University of Bradford) I host monthly international, open-access Teaching and Learning in Archaeology and Heritage online roundtable workshops and in 2021, I organised the first ever global conference on Teaching and Learning in Archaeology and Heritage. I have published extensively on teaching and learning in archaeology and my pedagogic approach, including in the major publications Assembling Archaeology: Teaching, Practice and Research (OUP, 2020), and Reconsidering Archaeological Fieldwork (Springer, 2012). I have also worked for the Higher Education Academy’s Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology, where I researched the role of fieldwork in the undergraduate degree and graduate employability (2004-2008).
I undertook my undergraduate degree in archaeology at the University of Edinburgh (1998-2002) and then worked in commercial archaeology for CFA Archaeology Ltd and Headland Archaeology before completing an MPhil (2004) and PhD (2008) at the University of Manchester, supervised by Profs Julian Thomas and Chantal Conneller. Between 2004 and 2008 I also worked as a Research Assistant for the Higher Education Academy’s History, Classics and Archaeology subject centre, and an Associate Lecturer for the Open University (2007-2011). Since 2008 I have been a Teaching Fellow and then Technician (2009-2016), Lecturer (2013-2016), Senior Lecturer (2016-2021) and now Professor (2021 – present) in Archaeology at The University of Manchester.
I have also undertaken a number of teaching and learning leadership roles at the University of Manchester including: Assistant Director for Academic Advising and Employability, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (2015/2016); Associate Director for eLearning and Teaching Innovation, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (2018 – 2022); Associate Dean for Teaching, Learnng and Student Experience, Faculty of Humanities (2022); University of Manchester Academic Lead for Academic Development (2021 – Present). In 2020 I was part of the team who designed the Faculty of Humanities Principles and Guidance for Blended Learning.
In 2022 I was one of only 54 people across the UK to be awarded an AdvanceHE National Teaching Fellowship, recognising my contributions to teaching and learning in Higher Education. I am also a Principal Fellow of AdvanceHE.
I am a co-director of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project with Dr Oliver Harris, University of Leicester and Phil Richardson, Archaeology Scotland. This project is a long-running research and community project exploring the archaeology of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, Western Scotland. In summer 2011 we excavated the first intact Viking boat burial on the UK mainland, and since 2006 we have also been excavating sites across the multi-period landscape of Swordle Bay including a Neolithic chambered cairn, a Bronze Age funerary landscape, and Iron Age promontory fort and a series of medieval and post-medieval settlements.
Between 2010 and 2014 I co-directed the Whitworth Park Community Archaeology and History project with Prof Sian Jones and Dr Melanie Giles. This project aimed to uncover some of the fascinating history, archaeology and biodiversity of Whitworth Park, an 18 acre public park off Oxford Road in Manchester, on the Rusholme/ Moss Side border. The project was also concerned with examining how memories and identities are produced and negotiated through the act of community archaeology.
In 2017/2018 I co-directed the West Pennines Mesolithic project with Dr Nick Overton.
Much of my early research focused on the role of material culture in the production of identity within periods of social transition throughout time. This was examined specifically through the following themes:
– The Mesolithic and Mesolithic/Neolithic transition in Britain and Ireland, with a specific focus on Scotland.
– Phenomenological and new materialist approaches to materials and landscape.
– The archaeology of identity, with a focus on gender and queer theory.
More recently my research has mostly examined current archaeological practice including:
– The lack of diversity in the make up of the archaeological profession and student body. Which I have investigated through a project called “Digging Diversity” (Cobb 2015).
– Reflexivity in fieldwork methods.
– Developing excellence in archaeological pedagogy.
I also founded and Chaired the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists Equality and Diversity Group between 2015 and 2022. In addition I am founder of the everyDIGsexism Project, which I ran in 2015/2016 with Cath Poucher, and which calls out sexism in Archaeology using the #everyDIGsexism and celebrates good practice in equality and diversity in the profession using the #ArchSwan. More details at https://everydigsexism.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter @everyDIGsexism.
You can contact me by email at Hannah.Cobb@Manchester.ac.uk or on Twitter and Instagram as @ArchaeoCobb