Professor Ken Dark is an archaeologist and historian specialising in the 1st millennium AD – especially early Christianity, urbanism, and Late Antiquity – and in long-term studies of political development. After a PhD in archaeology and history from University of Cambridge, he taught at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge before moving to the University of Reading, where he became Professor of Archaeology and History. Leaving Reading in 2021, he was Visiting Professor at the University of Navarra, before coming to King's College in 2022.
Ken has been awarded honorary professorial titles from four overseas universities and written over 100 academic publications, including 14 books, in addition to works for the wider public. He has directed many archaeological excavations and surveys in Europe and the Middle East, including at Hagia Sophia (Istanbul), Nazareth, and on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Royal Historical Society and Royal Anthropological Institute, and a Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, he is the only person ever elected to all of these learned societies.
Research interests and PhD supervision
Ken’s work ranges from purely archaeological research, through interdisciplinary work involving archaeology, history, art history and anthropology, to purely textual studies. His current research interests include:
- Archaeology, history and art history of the first millennium AD, especially Christianity, Late Antiquity, the Byzantine world, urbanism, and long-distance contacts.
- British and Irish archaeology, history and art history, especially that of the first seven centuries AD.
- Method and theory in archaeology and historical research.
- The relevance of archaeological, historical and anthropological research to global politics, religion and cultural identities.
- The collapse of states and empires.
Ken is happy to consider PhD applications in any of these fields.
K. Dark The Sisters of Nazareth convent. A Roman-period, Byzantine and Crusader site in central Nazareth, Routledge, London, 2021. 284 pp.
K. Dark Roman-period and Byzantine Nazareth and its hinterland, Routledge, London, 2020. 200 pp.
K. Dark and J. Kostenec Hagia Sophia in Context: an Archaeological Re-examination of the Cathedral of Byzantine Constantinople, Oxbow, Oxford, 2019. 152 pp.
K. Dark Britain and the End of the Roman Empire, Tempus, Stroud, 2000. 2nd edn, 2002.256 pp.
K. Dark The Waves of Time. Long-Term Change and International Relations, Continuum, London and New York, 1998. 284 pp.
Archaeology and history of early Christianity and Second Temple Judaism; Archaeology and history of the Roman world; Archaeology and History of Late Antiquity and the Byzantine world; Archaeological method and theory.
Expertise and public engagement
Public engagement and outreach form an important part of Ken’s professional activities, alongside research and teaching.
Ken has very extensive international media experience, covering the whole range of his research from his doctoral work onward and including many TV, radio, Internet and press interviews. Ken’s archaeological fieldwork in Nazareth has attracted special media attention, and because of this, he wrote an account specifically for the wider audience: Archaeology of Jesus' Nazareth (Oxford University Press 2023).
In quantitative terms, Ken’s research has been the subject of more than 3,500 media reports in over 70 countries. This includes UK newspapers, such as The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Express, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Daily Star and The Sun, and leading international newspapers, for example: Die Welt, Le Figaro, The Australian, The Daily Times (Pakistan), The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Post, The New York Post, and the New York Times. Magazine coverage has included Scientific American, National Geographic and BBC History. On the Internet, reports have appeared on Livescience, Yahoo News, Google News, USA Today and the Huffington Post, among many others.
TV interviews and documentary presentations of Ken’s research include, among other channels worldwide, broadcasts on the BBC, BBC World Service, CNN, NBC, Voice of America TV, Sky, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and other national and regional radio stations.
Other outreach and public engagement activities include many public lectures and presentations (to schools, local archaeological societies etc.), guiding archaeological tours, and lecturing on Mediterranean cruises. Ken also serves on the English Heritage expert panel for Tintagel in Cornwall, described by them as ‘one of the most important sites in north-west Europe’.