Dr Helen Wickstead MCIfA FHEA FSA


Helen is an archaeologist and museum historian who unearths the histories of neglected, discarded, and "dirty" artefacts. She was educated at University College London where she completed a PhD on Bronze Age ruins. She has excavated sunken boats, prehistoric megaliths, Sudanese pyramids, Bohemian ritual enclosures, and modern rubbish tips.

Helen's latest work is a study of the British Museum's Secretum. Her previous publications investigated men-only clubs and museums, concrete megaliths, the Cult of Kata, goat-boy mythology in London suburbia, and the lost art of photographing Eoliths. She wrote the world's first dedicated study of Soho Bibles, uncovering how obscene books were smuggled into the British Museum's Library by renegade curators. Her current research reveals the secret worlds of phallus collectors and is soon to be published by Reaktion Books.

Helen lives in outermost London. When not writing she prefers to be in the back room of a museum store or in the deepest trench on the dig.   

Academic responsibilities

Senior Lecturer and Course Director


  • M.A. Archaeology, University College London
  • PhD. Archaeology, University College London
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries
  • Member of the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists

Teaching and learning

Undergraduate courses taught

Postgraduate courses taught


Research student supervision

Main supervision

Other supervision


Number of items: 39.


Wickstead, Helen (2024) Palaeoliths and pareidolia : photography and archaeological stone collecting from the discovery of deep time to the eolith controversies. Photography and Culture, ISSN (print) 1751-4517 (Epub Ahead of Print)

Wickstead, Helen and Knowles, Pete (2022) Men-only clubs and museums : associational culture and the gendering of Herne Bay's museum between the wars. Museum History Journal, ISSN (print) 1936-9816 (Epub Ahead of Print)

Wickstead, Helen (2022) Recycle archaeology’s labels for landfill. Extinction Rebellion 'Writers Rebel',

Wickstead, Helen (2022) Recycle archaeology : social and sustainable alternatives for de-selected materials. The Archaeologist, 115, pp. 23-25. ISSN (print) 1368-9169

Wickstead, Helen (2021) Learning and discovery : Kingston University students contributing to the Save Burlington House Campaign. Society of Antiquaries London,

Wickstead, Helen (2020) Letters from Charles Darwin and Arthur Keith discovered through the SMART project. Museum Archaeologists News, 64, pp. 6-9. ISSN (print) 0959-4272

Wickstead, Helen [Reviewer] (2020) Book Review of 'Breaking the surface : an art/archaeology of prehistoric architecture' by Douglass Bailey. European Journal of Archaeology, 23(2), pp. 321-325. ISSN (print) 1461-9571

Wickstead, Helen (2020) Soho typescripts : handmade obscene books in post-war London bookshops. Porn Studies, 7(2), pp. 187-211. ISSN (print) 2326-8743

Wickstead, Helen (2018) The archive : sex in the secret museum : photographs from the British Museum's Witt Scrapbooks. Photography and Culture, 11(3), pp. 351-366. ISSN (print) 1751-4517

Wickstead, Helen (2017) "Wild worship of a lost and buried past" : enchanted archaeologies and the cult of Kata, 1908–1924. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, 27(1)(4), pp. 1-18. ISSN (print) 1062-4740

Wickstead, Helen and Barber, Martyn (2015) Concrete prehistories : the making of megalithic modernism. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 2(1), pp. 195-216. ISSN (print) 2051-3429

Wickstead, Helen and Barber, Martyn (2015) Aerial archaeology and the 'lost gardens' of Seething Wells. London Archaeologist, 14(3), pp. 73-78. ISSN (print) 0024-5984

Carey, Chris J., Wickstead, Helen, Juleff, Gill, Anderson, Jens and Barber, Martyn (2014) Geochemical survey and metalworking : analysis of chemical residues derived from experimental non-ferrous metallurgical processes in a reconstructed roundhouse. Journal of Archaeological Science, 49, pp. 383-397. ISSN (print) 0305-4403

Wickstead, Helen and Barber, Martyn (2012) A Spectacular History of Survey by Flying Machine! Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 22(1), pp. 71-88. ISSN (print) 0959-7743

Barber, Martyn and Wickstead, Helen (2010) 'One Immense Black Spot': Aerial views of London 1784-1918. London Journal, 35(3), pp. 236-254. ISSN (print) 0305-8034

Wickstead, Helen and Barber, Martyn (2010) A newly recorded hilltop enclosure at Myncen Farm, Minchington. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 131, pp. 103-112. ISSN (print) 0070-7112

Barber, Martyn and Wickstead, Helen (2009) A 'new' enclosure at Minchington, Dorset. Research News : newsletter of the English Heritage Research Department(13), pp. 29-30. ISSN (print) 1750-2446

Wickstead, Helen (2009) The Uber-Archaeologist: Art, GIS and the male gaze revisited. Journal of Social Archaeology, 9(2), pp. 249-271.

Wickstead, Helen, Carey, Chris, Bayer, Olaf and Barber, Martyn (2009) Discoveries to the east of Cranbourne Chase: the Damerham Archaeology Project. PAST(61), pp. 9-12. ISSN (print) 0965-1381

Wickstead, Helen, Carey, Chris, Bayer, Olaf and Barber, Martyn (2009) Remote sensing and geophysical survey near Damerham, Hampshire. CBA Wessex News(Spring), pp. 17-19. ISSN (print) 1475-5130

Fyfe, Ralph, Bruck, Joanna, Johnston, Robert, Lewis, Helen, Roland, T. P. and Wickstead, Helen (2008) Historical context and chronology of Bronze Age land enclosure on Dartmoor, UK. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35(8), pp. 2250-2261. ISSN (print) 0305-4403

Wickstead, Helen (2008) Drawing time. British Archaeology(101), pp. 44-49. ISSN (print) 1357-4442

Bruck, Joanna, Johnston, Robert and Wickstead, Helen (2003) Excavations of Bronze Age field systems on Shovel Down, Dartmoor 2003. PAST(45), ISSN (print) 0965-1381

Wickstead, Helen (1996) In reply to MacDonald, Hung and Crawford, 1995, 'Prehistory as propaganda'. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 7, pp. 9-12. ISSN (print) 0965-9315


Wickstead, Helen (2008) Theorizing Tenure: Land Division and Identity in Later Prehistoric Dartmoor, South-West Britain. Oxford, U.K. : Archaeopress. 242p. (British Archaeological Reports, British Series, (BAR 465)) ISBN 9781407303116

Book Section

Wickstead, Helen (2021) The museum of yesterday? In: Zaba, Jarek, (ed.) The museum of today : personal wonders, 2020-2021. Kingston upon Thames, U.K. : Kingston University Press. pp. 8-14. ISBN 9781909362567

Wickstead, Helen (2020) The Bornais Phallus. In: Sharples, Niall, (ed.) The economy of a Norse settlement in the Outer Hebrides : excavations at mounds 2 and 2A Bornais, South Uist. Oxford, U.K. : Oxbow Books. (Bornais, 4) ISBN 9781789255386 (In Press)

Wickstead, H (2020) The phallus in the closet : collecting and classifying ancient sculpture. In: Joseph-Lester, Jaspar, (ed.) Everything is sculpture. Royal College of Art. (In Press)

Wickstead, Helen (2019) Cults of the distribution map : geography, utopia and the making of modern archaeology. In: Gillings, Mark , Haciguzeller, Piraye and Lock, Gary, (eds.) Re-mapping archaeology : critical perspectives, alternative mappings. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 37-72. ISBN 9781138577138

Wickstead, Helen (2013) Between the lines: drawing archaeology. In: Graves-Brown, Paul , Harrison, Rodney and Piccini, Angela, (eds.) The Oxford handbook of the archaeology of the contemporary world. Oxford, U.K. : Oxford University Press. pp. 549-564. (Oxford handbooks in archaeology) ISBN 9780199602001

Wickstead, Helen (2008) Drawing archaeology. In: Duff, Leo and Sawdon, Phil, (eds.) Drawing: the purpose. Bristol, U.K. : Intellect Books. pp. 13-27. ISBN 9781841502014

Wickstead, Helen (2008) Land, landscape and Englishness in the discovery of prehistoric land division. In: Chadwick, Adrian M., (ed.) Recent Approaches to the Archaeology of Land Allotment. Oxford, U.K. : Archaeopress. (BAR International Series, (BAR S187)) ISBN 9781407303550

Wickstead, Helen (2006) Archaeologist. In: Adams, Eileen and Baynes, Ken, (eds.) Professional Practices. London, U.K. : Campaign for Drawing. pp. 12-13. (Power Drawing)

Conference or Workshop Item

Wickstead, Helen (2022) Recycle Archaeology : reuse and recycling of de-selected archaeological artefacts for public benefit. In: Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress 2022; 20-21 May 2022, Held online. (Unpublished)

Wickstead, Helen (2016) Prehistoric sex objects : the phalli of Windmill Hill. In: TAG 2016; 19-21 Dec 2016, Southampton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Wickstead, Helen (2016) The prehistoric phallus : a history of archaeology and sex. In: Centre for Medical History Seminar Series; 12 May 2016, Exeter, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Copsey, Laura [Curator], Taylor, Rachel Emily [Curator] and Wickstead, Helen [Curator] (2022) Illustration X Recycle Archaeology Student project (UAL & KSA). Colouring In : The Past : A Symposium. .

Wickstead, Helen [Contributor] (2011) Manual Setting. Manual Setting. , 28th Jan to 11th Feb 2011 , Danielle Arnaud Gallery.


Wickstead, Helen and Barber, Martyn (2010) Archaeology on your farm: gaining from history. (Manual) Kingston upon Thames : Damerham Archaeology Project. 6 p.

This list was generated on Tue Jun 18 06:59:59 2024 BST.