Durham University is recognised as a leading centre of excellence for medieval archaeology, with an international reputation for high-quality and wide-ranging research on the historic archaeology of Britain and Europe. Building on a long tradition of medieval archaeology, established at Durham University by Prof. Rosemary Cramp, the Department offers research and supervisory expertise on the medieval archaeology of Britain and North West Europe. Our research strengths include: death and burial, religion and belief, monumentality and landscape in early medieval Britain and Europe (Dr. Sarah Semple); early medieval sculpture (CASSS); the archaeology of early medieval Wales, western Britain and Ireland, Christianity and the conversion (Dr. David Petts); early medieval to high medieval settlement archaeology, and landscape studies, ceramics and trade in Britain and Spain (Dr. Christopher Gerrard); the urban archaeology of Britain and its European trading partners and the archaeology of religious practice, c.AD1200-c.AD1800 (Dr. Pam Graves) and the historiography of Medieval Archaeology. Our coverage extends beyond Europe, with complementary research taking place on society and monasticism in early medieval Sri Lanka (Prof. Robin Coningham) and settlement, economy and monetization in early medieval India (Dr. Derek Kennet).
Research on medieval societies also forms a core part of our archaeological science provision with Prof. Charlotte Roberts, Dr. Becky Gowland and Dr. Andrew Millard pursuing research interests in the health, diet, disease and pathology in medieval populations; field and laboratory based research by Dr. Mike Church on Norse settlement and environmental impact in the North Atlantic.
Recent and on-going major research projects include: Canon Greenwell and the Development of Archaeology in the North of England; Durham Secular Medieval Buildings Project; Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture and Bamburgh Bowl-Hole Anglian Cemetery; One Monastery in Two Places: Wearmouth and Jarrow in their Landscape Context; and The Assembly Project - Meeting Places in Northern Europe AD 400-1500. Field projects include: Roman Binchester; Shapwick Project. Somerset. A Rural Landscape Explored; Moncayo Archaeological Survey, NE Spain; Archaeology of Assembly and Governance: Anundshög, Västmanland, Sweden; Nevern Castle - Castell Nanhyver, Pembrokeshire, Wales; and Yeavering, Northumberland, England. Durham University Archaeological Services regularly excavate rural and urban sites of medieval date in the North-East and staff are also actively involved in research and field study at Durham Cathedral World Heritage Site. A wide range of sponsors have made these projects possible including English Heritage (NERFF; Shapwick; Wearmouth and Jarrow); the AHRC (CASSS; Bamburgh); the British Academy (Assembly and Governance); Humanities in the European Research Area (Assemblies) and the Leverhulme Trust (Greenwell).
We host a range of research seminars and day-workshops each year, with workshops in 2009-10 on the History of Medieval Archaeology and a Sense of Place: Anglo-Saxon Place-names and their Landscape Contexts. Research seminars occur throughout the year via our integration with the Departmental Research Groupings (Landscape, History of Archaeology, Biographies of Artefacts, Bioarchaeology and the Archaeology of Northern England) and resulting from our close links with the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Institute for Advanced Studies. In 2009-10 we are holding an interdisciplinary and cross-faculty workshop network on 'Water as Sacred Power' sponsored by the IAS.
We enjoy a thriving community of taught and research postgraduates with a dedicated strand in Historic Archaeology at Masters level. Recent and current PhD students with topics are listed below. Since 2007, the Durham Medieval Network, organized and led by our PhD students, has hosted a series of events and day workshops, including the AHRC-funded workshop series 'Sensory Perceptions in Medieval Britain' and have led a range of sessions at major conferences e.g. Leeds IMC 2008; TAG 2008; TAG 2009.
Current Research Postgraduates in the Department of Archaeology.
The Colour and Composition of Medieval Jewellery
The development of the Indian Ocean economy in the late 1st Millennium AD
Human and Hybrid Animal-Human Imagery in Anglo-Saxon England: Use, Context & Meaning
Early Anglo-Saxon Settlement Patterns in Northeastern England
Sira Dooley Fairchild
The Conversion of the English: Archaeological Past Perspectives and Approaches
Patterns of monetisation and coin loss in England during the Middle Ages (11th-16th centuries). New interpretations made possible by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS).
Ronan O' Donnell
Landscape, memory and enclosure: transformations in the rural landscape of north-east England.
Head Injury and Disability in the Medieval Period, AD1066-AD1600
Ceramics trade around the Indian Ocean in the late Islamic Period (13th-16th centuries AD)
A study of the health of monks' and nuns' health using multiple lines of evidence
Alexis Tudor Skinner
Circling the Sacred: The Uses of Enclosures and Boundaries in Anglo-Saxon England
The Monumental and the Private: The Role of ‘Pilgrimage Architecture’ in the Sensory Experience of the Medieval Church AD 1170-1520
We are currently welcoming applications to the MA Archaeology (Historic Strand) [please contact Dr. Pam Graves at email@example.com] and enquiries from prospective applicants for PhD research and potential topics or areas of specialism are listed below alongside each supervisor [please contact Dr. Graves, Dr. Semple, Dr. Petts, Dr. Caple or Prof. Gerrard direct by email].
Prof. Chris Gerrard
Military Orders, archaeology of
Rural settlement in Medieval Europe
Historiography for the Archaeology of the later Middle Ages
Later Medieval Ceramics
Dr. Sarah Semple
Perceptions of place, space and landscape in early medieval society
Death, burial and identity in early medieval Britain
The archaeology of power: the emergence of political and administrative structures in early medieval society
Pre-Christian beliefs and practices in early medieval Britain and Europe.
Dr. David Petts
Early Christianity in Britain and Europe
Wales and the West: AD400-1000
The Roman-Medieval transition