Gareth Brereton

Curator, Ancient Mesopotamia

Department: Middle East 


+44 (0)20 7323 8846

Gareth is a curator responsible for the Museum’s Mesopotamia collections, from prehistory to 539 BC. His main research field is the funerary archaeology and material culture of early Mesopotamia.

Previously, Gareth was a curator for the Ur of The Chaldees Project, which aimed to digitally reunify the archaeological material and archival resources from Sir Leonard Woolley's excavations at the ancient city of Ur. He has also worked on a significant acquisition of seals, metalwork and figurines from the Middle East, and was responsible for cataloguing the ceramic collection from Tell Taya in northern Iraq.

He was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Scholarship for his PhD research (Institute of Archaeology, UCL), which focused on the transition from Neolithic to urban societies in the greater Mesopotamian region.

Gareth has participated in numerous fieldwork projects throughout the Middle East. He currently supervises the excavation of Tello (the ancient city of Girsu) in southern Iraq as part of the British Museum’s Iraq Scheme. He has previously supervised the excavation of a prehistoric settlement in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq (The Sharizor Prehistory Project, UCL), and has worked at the site of Ras al-Hadd in Oman with the British Museum.

Current projects

The Tello-Girsu Project, Southern Iraq

Previous projects

Ur of the Chaldees: a virtual vision of Woolley's excavations at Ur

Excavations at Ras al-Hadd, Oman (The British Museum)

The Sharizor Prehistory Project (UCL and UCL Qatar)

Cataloguing the Lambert collection

Cataloguing the ceramic collection from Tell Taya, Iraq

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Council Member and Trustee for the British Institute for the Study of Iraq (BISI)

Arts and Humanities Research Council Scholarship/UCL Studentship Award

Iran Heritage Foundation Fellowship at The British Museum

Member of the British Association for Near Eastern Archaeologists

Recent publications

Brereton, G. Mortuary rites, economic behaviour and the circulation of goods in the transition from village to urban life in early Mesopotamia. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 26:2 (2016) pp. 191-216.

Wengrow, D., Carter, R., Brereton, G., Shepperson, M., Jamil Hamarashi, S., Ahmed Saber, S., Bevan, A., Fuller, D., Himmelman, H., Sosnowska, H., and L. Gonzalez Carretero. Gurga Chiya and Tepe Marani: new excavations in the Shahrizor Plain, Iraqi Kurdistan. IRAQ vol. 78 (2016) pp.

G. Brereton, et al. The Ur of the Chaldees project: a virtual vision of Woolley’s excavations at Ur. In J. Decker (ed.), Technology and Digital Initiatives: Innovative Approaches to Museums (2015) pp. 45-53. London: Rowman & Littlefield.

G. Brereton, Cultures of infancy and capital accumulation in pre-urban Mesopotamia. World Archaeology, 45:2 (2013) pp. 232-251