Associate Professor Catherine J. Frieman

D.phil (Oxon); (Oxon); BA (Yale)
Associate Professor in European Archaeology, School of Archaeology and Anthropology
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 02 619 70054

Areas of expertise

  • Archaeology 2101
  • Archaeology Of Europe, The Mediterranean And The Levant 210105
  • Social Theory 160806
  • Sociology And Social Studies Of Science And Technology 160808
  • Feminist Theory 440503

Research interests

  • Archaeological theory
  • Technology studies
  • Innovation
  • Migration and mobility
  • Kinship studies
  • Archaeology and biomolecular methods
  • European later prehistory
  • Landscapes and social change
  • Lithic technology - ground and knapped
  • Archaeological pedagogies


Catherine Frieman is an associate professor in European archaeology in the School of archaeology and anthropology. Previously, she was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at the University of Oxford and a lecturer in archaeology at the University of Nottingham. She received a BA in archaeological studies from Yale University and an and D.phil in archaeology from the University of Oxford. Catherine's D.phil examined the adoption of metal objects and metallurgy in 4th-2nd millennium BC northwest Europe through a close study of various lithic objects long thought to be skeuomorphs of metal.

Her research concerns the relationships between people, technology, and material culture. Her particular interests include prehistoric mobility, innovation, and ancient genetics. She is a specialist in ancient technology studies, especially prehistoric Eurasian stone and flint technology; skeuomorphism; the spread of metal and metal technology; flint daggers; and the maintenance of technological traditions. Her research crosses numerous periods and regions, including the archaeology of prehistoric and Roman Europe; Australian historic archaeology, including rock art produced by Indigenous people over the last 200 years; and technological developments in prehistoric Southeast Asia. She currently directs the British-based Southeast Kernow Archaeological Survey, and previously co-directed Triabunna Barracks excavations in Tasmania. Her current publications explore cross-disciplinary approaches to archaeological data and meaning making, including the impact of genetic data on archaeological narratives and models, as well as the methodological and ethical implications of this research. Her most recent monograph Archaeology as history: Telling stories from a fragmented past was published by Cambridge University Press in 2023.



Researcher's projects

Southeast Kernow Archaeological Survey

Despite many generations of archaeological fieldwork in Britain’s southwestern peninsula and Cornwall’s central role in later prehistoric exchange networks, the prehistory of the southeastern part of the county has not been exposed to the same amount of modern archaeological investigation. The Southeast Kernow Archaeological Survey (SEKAS) project aims to develop a better understanding of the prehistoric landscape of this region which links the metal-rich uplands to the English Channel. The study region for the SEKAS project comprises of the area between the Tamar and the Fowey rivers and south of the A38, and the period from the Neolithic through to the later Iron Age.

The project was launched in 2012 as a collaboration between Dr Catherine Frieman (ANU) and James Lewis, a professional archaeologist currently based in Scotland. Since then, geophysical and topographic surveys have been conducted at a number of later prehistoric sites in the study area. The results of several of these surveys were incorporated into Mr. Lewis’ 2016 MA thesis Iron Age and Romano-British Enclosures of southeast Cornwall (Dept of Archaeology, University of Glasgow). Commencing in 2017, this ongoing fieldwork will provide the case study for Dr. Frieman’s ARC DECRA project Conservatism as a dynamic response to the diffusion of innovations (DE170100464).

The project homepage can be found:

Available student projects

I welcome expressions of interest from students interested in developing research theses on

  • Topics related to material culture and technology (any period)
  • Stone tool technology (just about any region or period)
  • Archaeological theory
  • Archaeologies of technology, migration, mobility, innovation, and kinship
  • Bridging archaeology and the natural sciences, especially aDNA and other biomolecular approaches
  • Activist and engaged archaeologies, including social justice, community work, anarchist archaeologies, and discussions of how the history of archaeology is politically engaged


I currently have no specific funding for PhD theses, so you must be prepared to seek out funding from ANU's central pool of PhD scholarships or other streams of support.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  20 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers