Nicholas J. Saunders is a British academic archaeologist and anthropologist. He was educated at the universities of Sheffield (BA Archaeology, 1979), Cambridge (MPhil Social Anthropology, 1981), and Southampton (PhD Archaeology, 1991). He has held teaching and research positions at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of the West Indies, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C., and at University College London, where he was Reader in Material Culture, and undertook a major British Academy sponsored investigation into the material culture anthropology of the First World War (1998-2004).As of 2014[update] Saunders is Professor in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol, where he is responsible for the M.A. programmes in historical archaeology and conflict archaeology. He is a prominent contributor to the nascent field of conflict archaeology, and has authored and edited numerous academic publications in the field. In addition to his research specialising in the anthropology of 20th-century conflicts and the archaeology of World War I theatres in Belgium, France and the Middle East, Saunders has also conducted extensive fieldwork and research in pre-Columbian and historical archaeology of the Americas. He has been involved with major museum exhibitions in London, Ypres (Belgium), Tübingen (Germany), and at the Centre Pompidou-Metz (France). Saunders has investigated and published on material cultures and landscapes of Mesoamerica, South America, and the Caribbean. His most recent research has been on the aesthetics of brilliance and colour in indigenous Amerindian symbolism, an extensive survey investigation of the Nazca Lines in Peru, and the anthropological archaeology of twentieth-century conflict (especially the First World War) and its legacies along the Soca (Isonzo) Front on the Slovenian-Italian border.
Bodies in trees: a matter of being in Great War landscapes. In, P. Cornish and N.J. Saunders (eds.), Bodies in Conflict: Corporeality, Materiality and Transformation, 2014, 22-38. London: Routledge.
Travail et nostalgie sur le front de l’Ouest : l’Art des tranchées chinois et la Première guerre mondiale. In, Li Ma (ed.), Les travailleurs chinois en France dans la Première Guerre mondiale, 2012, pp 435-451. Paris: CNRS.
Desert Labyrinth: Lines, Landscape and Meaning at Nazca, Peru. (with C. Ruggles). Antiquity 2012, Vol 86, pp 1126–1140
Fire on the Desert: Conflict Archaeology and the Great Arab Revolt in Southern Jordan 1916-1918. (with N. Faulkner). Antiquity 2010, Vol 84 (324), pp 514–527.
People in objects: Individuality and the quotidian in the material culture of war. In, C. White (ed.), The Materiality of Individuality 2009, pp 37–55. New York: Springer.
The Cosmic Earth: Materiality and Mineralogy in the Americas. In N. Boivin and M.A. Owoc (eds.), Soil, Stones and Symbols: Cultural Perceptions of the Mineral World 2004, pp 123–141. London: UCL Press.
'Catching the light': Technologies of power and enchantment in Pre-Columbian goldworking. In, J. Quilter and J.W. Hoopes (eds.), Gold and Power in Ancient Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia 2003, pp 15–47. Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks.
Crucifix, Calvary, and Cross: materiality and spirituality in Great War Landscapes. World Archaeology 2003, Vol 35 (1), pp 7–21.
Excavating memories: archaeology and the Great War, 1914-2001. Antiquity 2002, Vol 76 (291), pp 101–8.
A Dark Light: Reflections on Obsidian in Mesoamerica. World Archaeology 2001, Vol 33 (2), pp 220–236.
Matter and memory in the landscapes of conflict: The Western Front 1914-1999. In, B. Bender and M. Winer (eds.), Contested Landscapes: Movement, Exile and Place 2001, pp 37–53. Oxford: Berg.
Bodies of metal, shells of memory: 'Trench Art' and the Great War Re-cycled. Journal of Material Culture 2000, Vol 5 (1), pp 43–67.
Biographies of brilliance: Pearls, transformations of matter and being, c. AD 1492. World Archaeology 1999, Vol 31 (2)pp 243–57.
Stealers of light, traders in brilliance: Amerindian metaphysics in the mirror of conquest. RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 1998, Vol 33 (1): 225-52.
Zemís, trees and symbolic landscapes: three Taíno carvings from Jamaica. (with D.Gray). Antiquity 1996, Vol 70, No.270, pp 801–812.
Predators of culture: Jaguar symbolism and Mesoamerican Elites. World Archaeology 1994, Vol. 26:1, pp 104–117.