The Oxford Centre for Asian Archaeology, Art and Culture is a unique UK-based organisation that fosters exchange, research and training relating to the heritage and culture of Asia. Based within the University of Oxford, and specifically the School of Archaeology, the Centre brings together a wealth of expertise relating to Asia and its cultural past, offering a unique programme of research and teaching. The Centre trains students from all parts of the world including the Asian region, and supports major research programmes, visiting scholars, and publication programmes in Asian archaeology, art and culture. It holds regular public, academic and international events, including talks, seminars, workshops and symposia. The Oxford Centre for Asian Archaeology, Art and Culture also engages in a variety of public outreach activities, including school visits, public lectures, and campaigning for the preservation of heritage sites.
The various regions of Asia are amongst the fastest developing in the world today. This has led to a rapid increase in both heritage destruction and conservation efforts, as well as a growing interest in the remarkably rich cultural past of one of the largest and most diverse areas of the world. Asian archaeology and heritage studies are expanding at an unprecedented rate, and there is a growing need for world-class expertise in this area. The Oxford Centre for Asian Archaeology, Art and Culture has been developed to support research and training in various areas of Asian archaeology and heritage studies, and to offer opportunities for scholar discussion, networking and collaboration.
The Centre’s research themes are diverse and wide-ranging. Temporally, research and teaching covers the Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age) through to the historical period. Geographically, Centre-based scholars and students are actively studying a vast number of regions across South, East and Southeast Asia. Many of the major human developments are found in very early and sophisticated forms in Asia and these include the origins of modern human behaviour, the transition towards farming and settled life, the development of crafts such as pottery and metallurgy, the emergence of states and cities, the creation of empires and the rise of world religions. These topics are the focus of various Centre-based efforts.
One key research theme concerns the long-term flow of ideas, technologies, goods, and people between regions within Asia, and between Asia and the West. There is significant interest in challenging traditional geographic, disciplinary and chronological boundaries to explore the long-term implications of mutual influence and engagement across the Eurasian continent. Accordingly, research at the Centre takes a multidisciplinary approach, drawing not only upon the methods of archaeology, but also anthropology, art history, linguistics, molecular genetics and geography.