Carenza Lewis came to the University of Lincoln as Professor for the Public Understanding of Research in the College of Arts in 2015. She combines research and teaching in archaeology, history and heritage with public engagement, with particular interests in medieval rural settlement, demography and landscape; public and community archaeology; heritage; medieval history; and childhood in the past. She is committed to involving members of the public in the research process to the mutual benefit of individuals, communities, society, heritage and academia.
After a Cambridge degree in Archaeology and Anthropology, Professor Lewis began her career as an Investigator for the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) (1986-99), researching monuments and landscapes spanning 6,000 years from the Neolithic to the 20th century, focusing mainly on western England and specialising in the medieval period. During this period she held a post-doctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Birmingham (1992-5), researching the origins of the medieval settlement pattern of the East Midlands and publishing the seminal ‘Village Hamlet and Field’ in 1997. In 1993 she was selected as one of the original TV presenters for Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’, remaining with this award-winning TV series until 2005. Other major TV work has included HTV’s ‘Sacred Sites’ (2000, 2001) and two series with Michael Wood (BBC2 2010 & 2012). In 2004 she moved to teach at the University of Cambridge, where she set up Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) in order to benefit wider publics through active participation in research-orientated archaeology and heritage projects. She devised and directed numerous programmes, including the ‘Higher Education Field Academy’ (HEFA) (since 2005) and ‘Cambridge Community Heritage’ (2012-3), involving more than 10,000 people over more than a decade in making new discoveries which advance academic research while also delivering a wide range of identifiable and measurable social benefits.
Professor Lewis has directed many projects involving archaeological fieldwork and heritage research, and her contribution to public archaeology was recognized in 2009 when short-listed for the Marsh Archaeology Award. She is regularly asked to give keynote addresses at national and international conferences, has held office within many learned societies and is currently President of the Society of Medieval Archaeology and a Vice-President of the Council for British Archaeology. She is a member of RCUK’s Advisory Panel on Public Engagement with Research (PERAP), AHRC’s Peer Review College and AHRC’s theme Advisory Group for Care for the Future.