Back Akshyeta Suryanarayan
Akshyeta obtained her first degree in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College (USA) in 2013. She completed her MPhil (2015) and PhD (2020) in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge (UK). Her PhD thesis conducted the first systematic investigation of lipid residues from pottery from rural and urban sites of the Indus Civilisation located in NW India (Haryana and Uttar Pradesh) to characterize rural and urban food practices and how they changed in the face of cultural and climatic change.
Akshyeta's research focuses on exploring foodways, vessel usage practices and networks of exchange with a particular interest in Bronze Age South Asia (Indus Civilisation) and south-east Arabia. She applies biomolecular techniques, specifically ceramic lipid residue analysis to understand ancient subsistence practices and human-environment interactions. She was awarded a Fyssen Foundation fellowship in 2020 to conduct independent postdoctoral research on lipid residues in imported and locally-produced pottery from the Neolithic and Bronze Age in SE Arabia at Université Côte d'Azur, CEPAM, UMR 7264 CNRS, in Nice (France) to understand the movement, exchange and use of organic products in pottery in the Arabian Peninsula.
Akshyeta is also interested in heritage and museum practices and the representation of historical narratives and contemporary communities within museums with a decolonial focus. She conducted research on the South Asian collections at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) in Cambridge for a digital installation for the University of Cambridge Museums, and co-created the ‘Untold Histories’ tours at MAA in 2018-19, which received coverage in the New York Times and won an award for Inclusive Practice in Teaching.