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Monday 17 February 2020 – Dr Marcus Brittain

Monday 18 May 2020 - Dr Marcus Brittain
Manea Colony: a nineteenth-century utopian experiment

Archaeologists have come to recognise the study of experimental socialist – or ‘utopian’ – communities of the nineteenth century as an alternative entry to an era that, though seemingly familiar to us today, was undergoing profound social, technological and intellectual change. Most of these studies have occurred in the United States; the preliminary investigation of Manea Colony – or the ‘Hodsonian Community’ – in the Cambridgeshire fenland represents the first of its kind in these shores. Established in 1838 by a local businessman, William Hodson, this brought together a diverse membership that created a remarkable and renowned settlement. What can archaeology tell of their story?


Dr Marcus Brittain is a Senior Project Officer at the University of Cambridge’s Archaeological Unit. A Cambridge ‘native’, Marcus followed studies in archaeology in Manchester, specializing in British prehistory, on which he completing a PhD there in 2007.  Aside to working across the east of England in the commercial archaeology sector, he also conducts fieldwork with communities in Africa and Southern India, where he has either lived or has family links. Marcus also has a close interest in the archaeology of the later historical era, and particularly of pioneer communities in Britain and its Overseas Territories, notably of the Antarctic Ocean, where at the island of South Georgia he also leads citizen scientist fieldwork initiatives in to the archaeology of early seal hunting.