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Emma Markiewicz

  • I completed my PhD thesis 'Hair, Wigs and Wig Wearing in Eighteenth-Century England' in 2014, under the supervision of Professor Giorgio Riello.
  • I am currently Head of Public Services and Records Knowledge at The National Archives, where I have worked since 2007 in various roles including archives sector development and government relations.
  • I hold an MA in Material Culture (1350-1750) from Royal Holloway and a BA in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.


  • My research focuses on the period of prominence for wigs and wearing, through an exploration of the 'raw material' from which were made: human hair. It considers the status of hair within the changing understanding of the human body in the late seventeenth and eighteenth century.
  • The thesis situates the commodification of hair within the history of the body, the history of material culture, the history of fashion and the history of trade and consumption in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It explores how contemporaries understood the physicality of hair, and the function of hair within the economy of the human body. What was the best hair for making wigs, and where did it come from? What did a person's hair signify about the state of their health and character?
  • I also consider how hair as a part of the body became a highly desirable commodity, and the moral and physical implications of this for traders in human hair and producers of wigs, and for those who wore the wigs that defined their public image. How did the fashionable men who were the main consumers of expensive wigs feel about wearing a part of someone else's body?

Emma M

Emma Markiewicz