Professor John Prag

Professor John Prag

John Prag is Hon. Professor in the Manchester Museum and Professor Emeritus of Classics in the University of Manchester, having been Keeper of Archaeology at the Museum for some 35 years. Though primarily a Classical archaeologist he is interested in cross-disciplinary research in archaeology, and is involved with work on the reconstruction of ancient faces.

John was Keeper of Archaeology at The Manchester Museum in the University of Manchester from 1969 to 2004, when he was given a personal chair of Archaeological Studies at the museum. He retired from full-time work at the university in 2005, and now has the titles of Honorary Professor in the Manchester Museum and Professor Emeritus of Classics in the University of Manchester. John has also been Honorary Lecturer in Archaeology and is still an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History and Classics at Manchester University. His first museum post was as Temporary Assistant Keeper at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 1966-7. In 1978 he was Visiting Professor of Classics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and in 1994 he held the Visiting Fellowship of the British School of Athens. John serves on various academic committees, including the Councils of the British School at Athens and the Society for Libyan Studies, and the Advisory Board of the Warburg Institute in the University of London.

Though still a Greek archaeologist at heart, John Prag is fascinated by the possibilities offered by multidisciplinary research: his interests include Greek iconography and mythology, facial reconstruction (particularly its potential as a tool in archaeological research), ancient portraiture, chemical analysis of Greek pottery, and the application of ancient DNA research to questions of kinship and dynastic succession in the Aegean. He is co-ordinator of the joint multidisciplinary Alderley Edge Landscape Project of the Manchester Museum and the National Trust and leader of its several subsidiary projects, including a web-based educational project ( These are now drawing to a close, but he is still working on proposals to investigate the preservation and the precise dating of a 4000-year-old wooden shovel from Alderley, and on completing the full publication of the whole project. John Prag is the author or co-editor of over 60 articles and five books, including Making Faces Using Forensic and Archaeological Evidence (1997/1999) (with Richard Neave), Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa: the Story of an Etruscan Noblewoman (2002, reprinted 2006) (with Judith Swaddling), and The Archaeology of Alderley Edge (2005) (with Simon Timberlake: reprinted 2007, 2008). As well as the next Alderley book he is currently working on several articles on Classical art and on ancient Mycenae, and on a project to reconstruct not just the faces but also the bodies of some of the men from Henry VIII's flagship the ‘Mary Rose'. Meanwhile he has two or three other books to complete. Academics never retire.

List of Publications

Authored Book

  • Prag, J. (2002) The Story of Alderley Edge , Manchester University Press, Manchester
  • Prag, J. (1997) Making Faces Using Forensic and Archaeological Evidence , British Museum Press, London
  • Prag, J. (1985) The Oresteia: Iconographic and Narrative Tradition , Aris and Phillips, Warminster; Chicago

Edited Book

  • Prag, J., Simon Timberlake (2005) The Archaeology of Alderley Edge , Oxford

Chapter In Book

  • Prag, J. (1992) 'Specialist Reports on Greek Wares, Black and Grey Glaze Pottery, Unguentaria, Lamps and Terracottas', Gravina: An Iron Age and Republican Settlement in Apulia (Archaeological Monograph) , British School at Rome, London

Journal Article

  • Prag, J., Pantos, E., Kockelmann, W., Chapon, L., Lutterotti, L., Bennet, S.L., Tobin, M.J., Mosselmans, J.F.W., Pradell, T., Salvado, N., Buti, S., Garner, R. (2005) 'Neutron and X-ray characterisation of the metallurgical properties of a 7th-century BC Corinthian-type bronze helmet', Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics , Vol.B 239, 16-26
  • Prag, J., Judith Swaddling (2002) 'Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa: the Life and Death of an Etruscan Noblewoman ', British Museum Press: Occasional Papers , Vol.100
  • Prag, J., C.C Tang, E.J. Maclean, M.A. Roberts, D.T. Clarke, E. Pantos (2001) 'The study of Attic black gloss potsherds using synchrotron X-ray diffraction', Journal of Archaeological Science , Vol.28, 1015-1024 , 0305-4403
  • Prag, J. (2000) 'DNA Analysis of B??? From Grave Circle B at Mycenae: A First Report', Annal of the British School of Athens , Annal of the British School of Athens, London
  • Prag, J. (1984) 'The skull from Tomb II at Vergina: King Philip II of Macedon', Journal of Hellenic Studies , Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, London, Vol.104, 60 - 78
  • Prag, J. (1974) 'Hellenistic Black-glazed Wares from Athens and Southern Italy: Analyses and Implications', Archaeometry , Oxford, Vol.16

Research Report For External Body

  • Prag, J. (1997) 'Surveys and Spreadsheets: What is the Point of Point of Pottery Analysis?', Ancient and Traditional Ceramics: Seminar held at the European University Centre for Cultural Heritage, Ravello, 19-24 March 1990 (PACT Network Reports) , Ravello, Vol.40, 117 - 130