Kevin Colls

Associate Professor

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

Within archaeology, I hold over 25 years of experience in completing archaeological projects leading to a significant body of peer-reviewed research outputs throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. I was a founding member of the Centre of Archaeology, one of Staffordshire University’s key research centres, and took up a post of Archaeological Project Manager in 2013. Since my appointment, I have managed over 75 research projects through to completion generating over £750,000 in research income.

I was submitted to the REF cycle in 2021 and am the Impact Lead for the Centre and was responsible for the development of two impact case studies (4* and 3*). Throughout my career, I have always ensured that professionalism and academic rigor have played key roles in the work that I do. I have directed several flagship projects which have attracted interest from scholars and members of the public across the world, raising my individual international research reputation alongside that of Staffordshire University. My research has also resulted in a high media profile that builds the global reputation of the University yet further.

Through my work with the media, I have been able to involve colleagues from a range of disciplines in TV documentaries that showcase the world-class research being carried out at the university and the excellent facilities that we have. In addition, my work has appeared in include newspaper articles, TV interviews, radio interviews, online blogs, and social media. Countries include but are not limited to the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Canada, Armenia, Belarus, USA, Argentina, and Japan.

My training as a practicing forensic archaeologist has assisted Staffordshire University to become a world leader in conflict and genocide investigation. Over recent years I have completed forensic investigations at numerous sites of mass violence and atrocity including Westerbork Concentration camp in the Netherlands, Jasenovac in Croatia, and various mass grave and killing sites in Ukraine. In addition, I have assisted in the completion of site investigations at Treblinka, the former Extermination Camp that was located in Nazi-occupied Poland, and Bergen-Belsen in Germany amongst others.

This work is impactful and far-reaching as it affects individuals, communities, and nations. Community engagement, dissemination activities, and public outreach represent primary factors that underpin all my research. Of my current and recent projects, the highest profile is the prestigious ‘Finding Shakespeare’ Project. This globally important research project focuses on novel and innovative archaeological techniques to uncover new evidence of the life of William Shakespeare. individuals assisted with the work and 220,000 visitors came to New Place to engage with the work over a five-year period. Over 100,000 visitors have attended Holy Trinity both during and after my pioneering forensic investigation of Shakespeare’s grave.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Member of the Chartered Institute for Field Archaeologists (MIFA)

  • Committee member of the Archaeology and Shakespeare Research Advisory Board

  • Member of Hebridean Archaeology Forum

Academic qualifications

  • MSc. Archaeological Sciences – University of Sheffield
  • BSc. Archaeological Science – University of Sheffield
  • CAA Drone Pilot
  • A Levels and GCSEs – Four A levels, ten GSCEs
  • PGT012 Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • Skills development course, University of Birmingham. ‘Research and getting published’
  • Skills development course, Tendering and Budget Management
  • British Red Cross First Aid in the Workplace.
  • Confined Space training/ Risk assessment training
  • Health and Safety at Work training/ CSCS card holder


  • Forensic Archaeology
  • Archaeological field theory’s and practices
  • Project management and risk assessments, financial business attributes, budgeting
  • Island Archaeologist specialising in Atlantic islands of the west coast of Scotland
  • Urban Archaeology and town development in the UK (medieval towns)
  • Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching
  • Practical field training to students and professionals (CPD courses)
  • Media profile
  • Field surveying (Diff GPS, Total Station, principles of surveying. Geophysical survey -Arch GIS and AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Leica Geo Office, Surfer)
  • Arch GIS and AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Leica Geo Office, Surfer
  • Archaeology of Shakespeare

Research interests

  • Advances in archaeological field practice
  • Forensic Archaeology – the search for, and recovery of, clandestine burials
  • Genocide Investigation
  • Forensic archaeology
  • Island Archaeology
  • Hybrid surveying
  • Forensic archaeological consultancy and training 
  • Media and archaeology


  • PI for the Finding Shakespeare Project (2010-21; £560,000; Multiple funders)
  • Work Package PI for UNESCO Painted Church Project (2019); £21,543; EU funding)
  • Work Package Co-I for IC-ACCESS Project (2016-18; £171,242; HERA EU/RC funding)
  • PI for Ukraine Mass Grave Project (2016-17; £31,924; EU funding)
  • PI for St Giles Community Project (2015-17; £48,161; HLF funding 

Enterprise and commercial interests

  • Forensic archaeological consultancy and training

  • Archaeological consultancy - commercial and research

  • Project management (archaeology)

  • Field survey (Total Station, DGPS, Geophysical Survey)


I am the course leader for our on-campus MSc degree and distance learning MA degree in Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation. I teach on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules across the University including forensic archaeology, two residential summer school in archaeology, conflict and genocide studies, and practical archaeology. I supervise a number of Ph.D. students studying Holocaust archaeology, forensic investigation, and Bronze and Iron Age death and burial practices. 


Cherkaska, D, Sturdy Colls, C. and COLLS, Kevin (2023) Archaeological approaches in investigations of Holocaust-related mass graves: a Ukrainian perspective. Ukraina Moderna, 32.(In Press)

Colls, K, Sturdy Colls, C., and Mitchell, W. (in prep) Holocaust Archaeology in practice: Killing sites in Ukraine. Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Manchester University Press.

Sturdy Colls, C. and Colls, K., (2023). Holocaust victims, Jewish law and the ethics of archaeological investigations. Heritage, Memory and Conflict, 3, pp.25-30.

Abate. D, Faka. M, Toumbas. K, Bakirtzis N, Mitchell. W, Colls. K and Sturdy-Colls. C, (2022), ‘Multi-modal digital documentation and visualization of the UNESCO painted, churches in Troodos (Cyprus)’ Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens.Spatial Inf. Sci., XLVI-2/W1-2022, 1–8, 2022,

Mitchell, W; Abate, D.; Colls, K; Faka, M.; Sturdy Colls, C.; Bakirtzis, N. (2022) ‘Ground Penetrating Radar Survey of the UNESCO Painted Churches in the Troodos Region (Cyprus)’. Heritage, 5, 260-285.

Sturdy Colls, C. and COLLS, K. (2022) ‘Adolf Island: The Archaeology of the Occupation of Alderney’. Manchester University Press, Manchester

Sturdy Colls, C., Colls, K. and Kerti, J. (2020).Tormented Alderney: Archaeological Investigations at the Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp at Sylt. Antiquity 94(374): 512-532.

Sturdy Colls, C. and Colls, K. 2020.The Heart of Terror: A Forensic and Archaeological Assessment of the Old Gas Chambers at Treblinka. In: Vareka, P. and Symonds, J. Dark Modernities.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mitchell, W and COLLS, K, 2019 An evaluation of community-led archaeology projects funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund: Two case studies. Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage.Taylor & Francis

Sturdy Colls, C. Bolton-King, R.. Colls, K. and Harris, T. 2018 Proof of Life: Mark-Marking Practices on the Island of Alderney.European Journal of Archaeology. Cambridge University Press.

Colls, K.S and Carrick Utsi, E. 2017. The GPR Investigation of the Shakespeare Family Graves. Archaeological Prospection 2017; 24: pp 335-352.Wiley. London

Edmondson, P., Colls, K., and Mitchell, M. 2016 ‘Finding Shakespeare’s New Place: An archaeological biography’. Manchester University Press. Manchester.

Colls, K.S, 2017. The Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave. In Current Archaeology. Issue 325, pp 36-39.London

Ravilious, K., and Colls, K. 2016 ‘The Bard at Home; Renovations, entertainment, and grief at New Place, Shakespeare’s manor in Stratford-upon-avon’. Archaeology; July/August 2016, pp45-47.

Archaeological Institute of America, Colls K. and Hunter J. 2015 'Archaeological Signatures of Landscape and Settlement Change on the Isle of Harris. International Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 9, pp 108-124

Colls, K. et al 2015 ‘Living on the floodplain: Excavation of a multiperiod settlement site in Sawston, Cambridgeshire. Oxbow Books. Oxford

Colls, K. 2014 Early Settlement at Eckington, Worcestershire. Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society, Volume 24, pp 55-84.

Sturdy Colls, C. and Colls, K. 2014.Reconstructing a painful past: A non-invasive approach to reconstructing Lager Norderney in Alderney, the Channel Islands. In Ch’ng, E. (ed.) Visual Heritage in the Digital Age. New York: Springer.

Colls, K. and Mitchell, W.2013 ‘A cycle of Recession and Recovery AD 1200-1900: Archaeological Investigations at Much Park Street, Coventry’. British Archaeology Report series 582.Archaeopress

Colls, K. and Hunter J. 2011‘Defining the archaeological resource on the Isle of Harris: an assessment of the impact of environmental factors and topography on the identification of buried remains’. In The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures Volume 4, number 2

Conference Presentations

  • Finding New Place: Shakespeares’s Lost Family Home
  • Director of Studies: Archaeology of Shakespeare. University of Oxford Centre for Continuing Education, Rewley House, Oxford. January 2012
  • Current Archaeology Conference, British Museum Feb 2011, presenting Dig for Shakespeare
  • European Archaeology Association (EAA) Conference
  • Institute for Archaeologists (IFA) conference
  • Hebridean Archaeology Forum (HAF) Conference
  • Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference
  • Award winner (best presentation) at Postgraduate Colloquium (University of Birmingham)

External profiles

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021