Associate Professor Catherine J. Frieman

D.phil (Oxon); (Oxon); BA (Yale)
Associate Professor in European Archaeology, School of Archaeology and Anthropology
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

Research interests

Innovation in prehistoric societies; Flint, ground-stone and other lithic technologies; Trade and communication in 4th-2nd millennia BC Europe; European Neolithic and Bronze Age society; Adoption of metal; Prehistoric metallurgy; Flint daggers; Ornaments and identity;Material culture studies; Archaeological theory


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 primary research interests include innovation and conservatism, and she is a material culture and technology specialist with a particular specialism in stone tools. She currently holds a DECRA fellowship to study conservatism and resistance via the archaeology of prehistoric Cornwall and is Lead CI of an ARC Discovery project looking into human mobility and the diffusion of innovations in prehistoric Iberia and the Pacific. In addition to her research, Catherine is a passionate teacher. In 2017, she was appointed an ANU distinguished educator and her contributions to education have been recognised by teaching excellence awards from CASS, the Vice-Chancellor’s office and the Australian Office of Learning and Teaching.


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:

Current student projects


Ru Griffiths - Scottish long cairns in their landscape and astronomical contexts (PhD)

Emma Biggs - Mapping mobility in Bronze Age Europe (PhD)

Panel member

Jennifer Hull - Osseous technology in Neolithic Southeast Asia (PhD)

Andrea Ulrichsen - Scientific mobility studies in the Pacific (PhD)

Chelsea Morgan - Methodological innovations in sex and gender (PhD)

Past student projects

Alex Broughton - Identifying Brothels in Roman Pompeii (Hons)

Kirsten Morrison - Barrow landscapes in Bronze Age Cornwall (Hons)

Emma Biggs - Chariot Burials of the Arras tradition (Hons)

John Hayward - Rock art on Mirrar land, Northern Territory (PhD)

Lisa Solling - Ritual landscapes in the Inka world (PhD)


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:  17 August 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers