Amara Thornton is a historian of archaeology and an Honorary Research Associate at University College London (UCL). Her work focuses on archaeologists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She situates archaeology within its broader historical context, including the history of tourism, colonialism, the history of publishing and popular media, the history of education, government policies and women’s history.
In 2011, Amara finished her PhD on British archaeologists abroad and obtained a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2013 to research popular publishing in archaeology. This was the subject of her first monograph, Archaeologists in Print. Her co-edited academic book Strange Relics, an anthology of classic supernatural stories with an archaeological twist, is forthcoming from Handheld Press.
She has led projects digitising archaeological archives, including historic film footage and a dig diary from excavations at Petra in 1929, and co-curated exhibitions at the University of Reading where she was Research Officer (2019-2020). She has been interviewed on her research for History Hit TV, and for the podcasts History Film Club and Killing Time. Amara is currently Co-Investigator of the AHRC funded project Beyond Notability: Re-Evaluating Women’s Work in Archaeology, History and Heritage in Britain 1870-1950.
Thornton grew up in the US, but now lives in London. She is working on her first trade book, a human history of archaeology.