Re-investing wealth and power in archaeology

Dr. Sara Perry

Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), UK

24 July 2023, 16.30-17.30 GMT

Slide advertising Dr Sara Perry’s upcoming talk on Re-investing wealth and power in Archaeology, including her name and contact details, and logos for TETRARCHs, MOLA, AHRC and CHANSE.

Inspired by Vanessa Andreotti’s (2021) reflections on disinvestment, in this talk I explore opportunities to redistribute wealth and power in UK archaeology and heritage in order to tackle local and systemic inequities. Archaeologists are regularly implicated in perpetuating harm and injustice upon people and planet through the extractive nature of their practices and the tools and systems (e.g., computational) that enable this work. Here, I consider what resistance and transitions to alternative ways of doing archaeology look like through a series of case studies drawn from my own and my collaborators’ work in academic, development-led, and citizen-led archaeological contexts. Through efforts to establish new small-scale and large-scale infrastructures to destabilise and reconceive power relations, I suggest that it is possible to re-invest in a more equitable form of archaeology—one which, following the work of Ricaurte (2019), necessarily embeds human dignity, justice, and respectful relations with the more-than-human world at its core.

Note: This presentation is a shortened version of the keynote talk that I delivered at the 50th conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology in April 2023, and an adaptation of a recent seminar for the Historic Environment Forum’s Foresight Day in June 2023. This will be a zoom presentation (joining details will be sent to registered participants closer to the time).

Dr Sara Perry is Director of Research and Engagement at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), overseeing post-excavation, grant-funded research, communications and community programming, and Honorary Professor at the University of York. She is currently also the lead on several major national and international research and impact projects concerned with data, storytelling, audiences and digital transformation, including Accelerating Impact at MOLA (, Transforming Data Reuse in Archaeology (, and Networks for Transformational Change ( 


Andreotti (Machado de Oliveira), Vanessa (2021) Hospicing Modernity: Facing Humanity’s Wrongs and the Implications for Social Activism. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

Ricaurte, Paola (2019) Data Epistemologies, The Coloniality of Power, and Resistance. Television & New Media 20(4), 350-365,