Nik Petek-Sargeant

Nik Petek-Sargeant

Nik is the Endangered Material Knowledge Programme’s (EMKP) Project Curator and has joined the British Museum in 2019. His role is to curate digital content and help evolve the intellectual vision of EMKP. Nik’s responsibilities include maintaining the Programme’s online repository, develop a metadata standard for EMKP and engage others in adopting it, as well as to organise formal training for our grantees and support them throughout their project.


Before joining EMKP, Nik was an Early Stage Researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden for the Resilience in East African Landscapes ITN, an MSCA-funded project. As part of the project he worked with the Ilchamus community near Kenya’s Lake Baringo, researching their history, the history of their material culture, and how their subsistence and habitation strategies shaped the local landscape. His research explained how the degradation of the Baringo basin correlates with limitations imposed by the colonial government that included restricting mobility, discouraging pastoral lifeways, and new political structures that forced the community to use scarce resources more and more intensely. Nik also significantly strengthened our knowledge about the archaeology of Kenya’s Central Rift Valley and received a PhD for his work in 2018.

He has been working in archaeology and the heritage sector since 2006 with a focus on East Africa since 2012. He was also a member of the ERC-funded Sealinks project. Nik continues to work on issues relating to archaeology and climate change, human-environment interaction, and historical ecology, and the archaeology of pastoralism. With his role as a curator for EMKP he is expanding into the field of Digital Humanities, (digital) heritage and preservation, ethnographic documentation, and metadata standardization.



Petek, N. (2018) Archaeological Perspectives on Risk and Community Resilience in the Baringo Lowlands, Kenya. Studies in Global Archaeology 24 (Uppsala: Uppsala University)


Lane, P. & Petek-Sargeant, N. (in prep) Weathering climate change in eastern Africa: substantive archaeological data and conceptual challenges. Archéologie, Société et Environnement


Petek-Sargeant, N. (in prep) Discoveries from Baringo provide new evidence for the spread of Turkwel along the Rift Valley and for further variation within the tradition.

van der Plas, G.W., de Cort, G., Petek-Sargeant, N., Wuytack, T., Colombaroli, D., Lane, P. and Verschuren, D. (2019) Landscape dynamics and human occupation in the central Kenya Rift Valley since ca. 700 CE. Quaternary Science Reviews

Boles, O., Shoemaker, A., Courtney Mustaphi, C.J., Petek, N., Ekblom, A., Lane, P. (2019) Overgrazing and the historical ecology of pastoralism: Heterogeneity in past landscape transformation. Human Ecology

Marchant, R., Richer, S., Boles, O., Capitani, C., Courtney Mustaphi, C.J., Lane, P., Prendergast, M.E., Stump, D., De Cort, G., Kaplan, J.D., Phelps, L., Kay, A., Olago, D., Petek, N., Platts, P.J., Punwong, P., Widgren, M., et al (2018) Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: Human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to present, Earth-Science Reviews 178: 322-378

Armstrong, C.G., Shoemaker, A.C., McKechnie, I., Ekblom, A., Szabó, P., Lane, P.J., McAlvay, A.C., Boles, O.J., Walshaw, S., Petek, N., Gibbons, K.S. et al (2017) Anthropological contributions to historical ecology: 50 questions, infinite prospects, PloS one 12(2), p.e0171883

Petek, N. & Lane, P. (2017) Ethnogenesis and surplus food production: communitas and identity building among nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ilchamus Lake Baringo, Kenya, World Archaeology 49(1): 40-60

Crowther, A., Faulkner, P., Prendergast, M.E., Quintana Morales, E.M., Horton, M., Wilmsen, E., Kotarba-Morley, A.M., Christie, A., Petek, N., Tibesasa, R. and Douka, K. (2016) Coastal subsistence, maritime trade, and the colonization of small offshore islands in eastern African prehistory, The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 11(2): 211-237.


Petek, N. (2015) An archaeological survey of the Lake Baringo lowlands 2014: Preliminary results. Nyame Akuma 83: 100-111

Petek, N. (2011) The East African diaspora: The problem with slaves, The Post Hole 15: 13-18