Penny Dransart

Dr Penny Dransart D. Phil (Oxford)

Reader, Anthropology and Archaeology 

Tel: +44 (0) 1570 424792

Lecturing, research and administration for teaching and research

  • American Anthropological Association
  • Association of Social Anthropologists
  • Member of the Comité Permanent, Colloques Château Gaillard
  • Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Society of Antiquaries of London
  • Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Teaching includes:

  • AHAN7014 Anthropological Research Methods in Practice
  • AHAN6001 Kinship, Gender and Sexuality
  • AHAN5005 Water and Society in Latin America
  • AHAN5006 Reading Cultures
  • AHAN4005 Introduction to Fieldwork

Has supervised research degrees to successful completion in the following areas: pastoralism, material culture, museum studies, fairness and equality, social archaeology. Currently is Director of Studies of  6 PhD candidates and is second  supervisor of 3 PhD candidates

Research interests include environmental anthropology; human-animal interactions; pastoralism, taming and domestication; material culture; textiles, dress and gender; religion and ritual. Area studies include South America (especially the Andes and Tierra del Fuego) and north-eastern Scotland.

Since the mid-1980s, fieldwork among Aymara-speaking llama and alpaca herders in the Andes (north of Chile and Bolivia).

From 1995 up to present, multidisciplinary fieldwork (including surveying, fieldwalking, excavation and architectural analysis) at Fetternear, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

March – October 2013 Guest curator of an exhibition entitled  Light Divine: Church and Chapel Windows at Fetternear, Aberdeenshire, From Medieval Times to the Nineteenth Century at Blairs Museum, Aberdeen.

1995-2013 Skills training and engagement in heritage research conducted through the Scottish Episcopal Palaces Project – Fetternear. The project has brought the religious history and cultural identities of people living in the past to life.

Members of the public were invited to become involved as volunteers in archaeological survey, excavation and post-excavation work.

The different age groups represented include primary and secondary school children from schools in Kemnay, Chapel of Garioch and Inverurie, volunteers of all ages and retired people. In addition to local people, volunteers came from these countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Switzerland, United States and Wales.

Consultant of Step into the Inca World, written byPhillip Steele. London: Lorenz Books (Key Stage 3 Textbook, 2000).


2011 Textiles from the Andes. British Museum Press: Fabric Folios. (Text by P. Dransart, textile conservation by H. Wolfe)

2002/2014 Earth, Water, Fleece and Fabric: an Ethnography and Archaeology of Andean Camelid Herding. London:Routledge.


2013 Living Beings: Perspectives on Interspecies Engagements. London, New Delhi, New York and Sydney: Bloomsbury.

2006 Kay Pacha: Cultivating Earth and Water in the Andes, editor. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports S1478.

1995 Andean Art: Visual Expression and its Relation to Andean Beliefs and Values, editor. Aldershot, Hampshire: Avebury (Worldwide Archaeology Series).

1992 Basketmakers: Meaning and Form in Native American Basketry, co-editor (L. Mowat, H. Morphy and P. Dransart, eds). Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum.

Journal articles and papers published in series

2013 ‘“Back room” pedagogies in university museums in Britain’, The European Legacy 18(1): 42-58.

2011 ‘Comentario a Václav Šolc, “La casa aymara en Enquelga”’, Chungara 43(1), 118-120.

2008 ‘Prospect and excavation of moated sites: Scottish earthwork castles and house societies in the late twelfth to fourteenth centuries’, Château Gaillard23: 115-128.

2007 ‘Mysteries of the cloaked body: analogy and metaphor in concepts of weaving and body tissues’, Trivium37, 161-187. (Special issue: The Nature and Culture of the Human Body)

2004 (and N.Q. Bogdan) ‘The material culture of recusancy at Fetternear: kin and religion in post-Reformation Scotland’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 134, 457-470.

2002 ‘Concepts of spiritual nourishment in the Andes and Europe: a study of rosaries in cross-cultural contexts’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 8(1), 1-21.

Chapters in edited volumes

2014 ‘Thoughts on productive knowledge in Andean weaving with discontinuous warp and weft’. In Textiles, Technical Practice and Power in the Andes, D.Y. Arnold ed. with P. Dransart, 211-226. London: Archetype Publications.

2013 ‘Dressed in furs: clothing and Yaghan multispecies engagements in Tierra del Fuego’. In Living Beings: Perspectives on Interspecies Engagements, P. Dransart, ed., 183-204. London, New Delhi, New York and Sydney: Bloomsbury.

2012 ‘Representing gender and homosociality: hierarchy and clerical investments in Medieval Scotland’. In Dress and Identity, M. Harlow, ed., 95-107. Oxford: Archaeopress.

2011 ‘Social principles of camelid pastoralism and archaeological interpretations’. In Ethnzoooarchaeology: The Present and Past of Human-animal Relationships U. Albarella and A. Trentacoste, eds, 123-130.Oxford: Oxbow.

2010 ‘Animals and their possessions: properties of herd animals in the Andes and Europe’. In Animals and Science: Anthropological Approaches, M. Bolton and C. Degnen, eds., 84-104. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2008 ‘William Bennet Stevenson’. In Guide to Documentary Sources for Andean Studies 1530-1900, J. Pillsbury, ed. University of Oklahoma Press, Vol III, 656-659.

2006 ‘Introduction: terrains of significance in the Andes’. In Kay Pacha: Cultivating Earth and Water in the Andes, P. Dransart, ed., 1-18. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports S1478.

2005 ‘Living with llamas at 23° South’. In 23° South: Archaeology and Environmental History of the Southern Deserts Mike Smith and Paul Hesse, eds, 281-291. Canberra: National Museum of Australia.

Membership of Research Council or other committees / advisory panels:

Committee member of CORPUS ANTIQUITATUM AMERICANENSIUM in Europe (2014-)

AHRC peer group college and panel member (2004-2013)

Advisory panel member of Leverhulme-funded British Museum project, ‘Andean textiles: organic colourants, biological sources and dyeing technologies’ (2010-2013)

Member of Management Committee of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, University of Wales (2002-2007)

Board of Celtic Studies, University of Wales. Member of Archaeology and Art Committee (2002-2007). From 2004-2007 was Secretary of the Committee

Has examined doctorates at the following universities:

  • Sainsbury Research Unit, University of East Anglia;
  • Department of Art History and Theory, University of Essex (twice); Department of Anthropology, University College London;
  • Institute of Archaeology, University College London (twice);
  • University of Kent;
  • Swansea University;
  • University of Cambridge.

Organisation of conferences:

Conference convenor, Association of Social Anthropologists, University of Wales Trinity St David, 13-16 September 2011

Co-organizer of workshop: ‘Qualities of Light, Water and Colours in the Americas’, Sainsbury Research Unit, University of East Anglia (2007)

Refereeing publications and proposals include:

  • Routledge,
  • Current Anthropology,
  • Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies,
  • Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal,
  • World Art,
  • Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture and Ecology


  • 2009 Visiting Fellow at CRASSH and Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
  • 2007 Visiting Fellow at the Sainsbury Research Unit, University of East Anglia

Scholarly awards include:

  • 2012 Strathmartine Trust, to cover the cost of publishing illustrations in The Perth High Street Excavations 1975-77: The Textiles and Leather.
  • 2009 Aberdeenshire Council , Castle Studies Group and Pantyfedwen Fund for Scottish Episcopal Palaces Project – Fetternear
  • 2008 Aberdeenshire Council and Council for British Archaeology Challenge Award for Scottish Episcopal Palaces Project – Fetternear

Invited keynote lectures

‘Basket making in the Americas and the value of work’. Guest lecturer at AHRC funded conference Basketry and Beyond: Constructing Cultures University of East Anglia (14-16 April 2012)

Keynote lecture at annual conference of the Castle Studies Group, Stirling, April 2013