Department of Archaeology
Robin Coningham received his PhD at King’s College, Cambridge in Archaeology and Anthropology. He holds UNESCO’s 2014 Chair in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage in the Department of Archaeology, Durham (UK), and is Associate Director (World Heritage) of the University’s Institute of Mediaeval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS). His interest in the relationship between identity and cultural heritage in regions of conflict as well as the impact of the international trade in illicit antiquities resulted in the creation of a Center for the study of Ethics of Cultural Heritage at Durham.
Professor Coningham’s fieldwork in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka aimed to refine early historic chronologies, the origin of Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea trade, and the archaeology of early Buddhism. His discovery at Maya Devi temple at Lumbini in Nepal pushes Buddha’s birth 300 years earlier than previously thought. He has published extensively, including The Archaeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka (with Ruth Young), and his excavations in the Citadel of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s earliest capital, led to the publication of three volumes covering the findings. Professor Coningham is committed to the preservation of cultural heritage, joining over 25 international missions for UNESCO.