Dr David Petts, BA; PhD
(email at email@example.com)
I am Lecturer in the Archaeology of Northern England and Director of Research for Archaeological Services. My key role is to develop the Department’s research profile within the region. This involves developing new research projects and maximising the research potential of fieldwork carried out by Archaeological Services in previous years.
My main research interests focus on the social archaeology of the 1st millennium AD, with a particular focus on the development of Christianity. Whilst most of my current work is focused on the north of England, I have significant research interests in Wales, as well as the wider North Sea world. In addition to my work on Northern England, I have a number of other on-going research projects. I recently completed books on the early medieval church in Wales and a more theoretical consideration of the process of conversion in the early medieval world. I am also working on a project exploring the development and spread of Christianity in Western Normandy between AD400 and 1200. This draws on archaeological material, as well as the investigation of standing buildings and the exploration of the limited documentary record.
Other key interests include the archaeology of post-medieval Britain, the history of archaeology, archaeology and 'Englishness', cultural and historic landscapes and issues linked to the curation and protection of Britain's historic environment
I have a number of field projects. I run the Department’s major field school at the Roman fort of Binchester (Co. Durham). This is a joint initiative being run by Durham University, Durham County Council and a number of US Universities o explore the Roman and early medieval activity at this important cavalry fort and its associated civilian settlement, which formed part of the frontier defences of Roman Britain. I have also recently commenced a new phase of research on Holy Island (Lindisfarne) supported by National Geographic, and I have been working with my colleague Sarah Semple on a small excavation at Sockburn, near Darlington, the site of an important Anglo-Saxon monastery.
Myself and Archaeological Services also have a number of other projects underway or in the pipeline, including the complete publication of excavations at Quarry Farm, Ingleby Barwick (one of the most northerly Roman villas in Britain), and re-assessments of the early medieval archaeology of Holy Island and the Tees Valley in the light of advances in knowledge generated through commercial archaeological fieldwork.
In 2011 I was been chosen as one of the winners of BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) inaugural New Generation Thinkers Scheme.
Impact and Engagement
A key element of my work involves extensive work with local community groups to help them understand their heritage. This has involved the major involvement of local groups and individuals in our excavations at Binchester, which has been supported by funding from the AHRC, English Heritage and Durham County Council. This involvement continues all year round with volunteers working with us extensively in our post-excavation programme, and even attending master classes in environmental archaeology.
In 2012 I led a team that won £14k from the AHRC for a project which provides training in heritage skills to the general public. This has also allowed us to offer bespoke support and advice to a range of local history and archaeology groups, including supporting them in grant applications and providing training in a range of archaeological skills.
I also have a close interest in heritage management, growing out of my experience working in local government and my current role in developing a research framework for the Durham World Heritage Site. This has seen my involvement with a number of heritage projects developed with local government and English Heritage in the region, including the North-East and Hadrian’s Wall Research Frameworks and the Durham Archaeology Assessment. I also played a key role in organising a recent UNESCO sponsored conference in Durham looking at the challenges faces in managing the historic urban landscape.
My interest in developing impact and engagement has been recognised through by award of a Beacon North-East fellowship in Community Engagement in 2008, an invitation to sit on the Community Participation committee of the HLF-funded Lindisfarne Peregrini Project and my role as Acting Secretary of the IFA Research and Impact committee.
I have also carried out some media work engaging with the region’s heritage, including a number of broadcasts on Radio 3’s Nightwaves programme and speaking at the Festival of Freethinking held at the Sage in Gateshead.
- Hadrian's Wall Research Framework
- Secular Medieval Buildings of Durham Recording Project (English Heritage)
- Mapping Early Christianity in Western Normandy
- Durham-Stanford Binchester Research Project
- Durham Medieval Archaeologists
- Archaeology of Northern England
- Archaeology of the Baltic region
- Early Christianity
- Landscape Archaeology
- Post-medieval archaeology
- Early medieval Wales
Indicators of Esteem
- 2010: Member of Organising Commitee, Sachsensymposium Durham 2012:
- 2007: Member, Archaeology Committee, The Roman Society (2007- ):
- 2006: Frend Prize for Early Christian Studies: Awarded to young scholars for distinction in Early Christian studies by the Society of Antiquaries of London
- 2006: Member, Archaeological Advisory Committee: Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust 2006-2007
- 2003: Member, Archaeology Working Party: World Heritage Site bid, Jarrow and Monkwearmouth
Book chapters: online
- McOmish, J.M. & Petts, D. (2008). Fey Field, Whithorn: Excavations by David Pollock and Amanda Clarke. In The Archaeology of York Web Series. York: York Archaeological Trust.
- Petts, David (2011). Pagan and Christian. Bloomsbury Academic.
- Petts, D. (2009). The Early Medieval Church in Wales. Stroud: The History Press.
- Petts, D. & Gerrard, C.M. (2006). Shared Visions: The North-East Regional Research Framework for the Historic Environment. Durham: Durham County Council.
- Petts, D. (2003). Christianity in Roman Britain. Stroud: Tempus.
- Foreman, S., Hiller, J. & Petts, D. (2002). The Archaeology of a Middle Thames Landscape. Volume 3: Anglo-Saxon to post-medieval. Oxford: Oxford Archaeology.
- Petts, D & Turner, S (2012). Early Medieval Northumbria: Kingdoms and Communities AD450-1100. Brepols.
- Petts, D & Turner, S (2012). Introduction: Northumbrian Communities. In Early medieval Northumbria: Kingdoms and Communities AD450-1100. Petts, D & Turner, S Brepols. 1-14.
- Hewitt, Richard, Brightman, James, Mason, David, Petts, David, Radford, Sally, Vyner, Blaise & Waddington, Clive (2011). . In An Archaeological Assessment of County Durham: The Aggregate Producing Areas. Durham County Council; Archaeological Research Services.
- Petts, D. & Turner, S. (2009). Multiple church complexes on early medieval ecclesiastical sites in Western Britain. In The Archaeology of the Early Medieval Celtic Churches. Edwards, N. Leeds: Maney.
- Petts, D. (2009). Variation in the British burial rite: AD400-700. In Mortuary Practices and social identities in the Middle Ages. Sayer, Duncan & Williams, Howard Exeter: University of Exeter Press. 207-221.
- Petts, D. (2006). Landscapes of Memory in the Colonial City: Building History in Imperial India. In Cities in the World: 1500–2000. Green, A. & Leech, R. Leeds: Maney. 195-212.
- Petts, D. (2006). The Roman lead tank from Perry Oaks. In Landscape Evolution in the Middle Thames Valley: Heathrow Terminal 5 Excavations Volume 1, Perry Oaks. Framework Archaeology Oxford: Framework Archaeology. 227-230.
- Petts,D. (2004). Early Medieval or Late Antique?: Burial in Western Britain AD410 to 600. In Debating Late Antiquity AD300–700: Proceedings of the York Conference. Collins, R. & Gerrard, J. Oxford: Archaeopress. 77-87.
- Petts, D. (2003). Memories in stone: changing strategies and contexts of remembrance in early medieval Wales. In Archaeologies of Remembrance: death and memory in past societies. Williams, H. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum. 193-214.
- Petts, D. (2002). Cemeteries and boundaries in western Britain. In Burial in early medieval England and Wales. Lucy, S. & Reynolds, A. Leeds: Society for Medieval Archaeology. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 17: 24-46.
- Petts, D. (2002). Votive Hoards in Late Roman Britain: Pagan or Christian? In The Cross Goes North: Processes of Conversion in Northern Europe, AD 300–1300. Carver, M. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. 109-118.
- Petts, D. (1999). Christianity and the End of Roman Britain. In TRAC 98: Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, University of Leicester, April 1998. Baker, P., Forcey, C., Jundi, S. & Witcher, R. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 86-95.
- Petts, D. (1998). Burial and gender in late and sub-Roman Britain. In TRAC 97: Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, University of Nottingham, April 1997. Forcey, C., Hawthorne, J. & Witcher, R. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 112-124.
- Petts, D. (1998). Landscape and cultural identity in Roman Britain. In Cultural Identity in the Roman Empire. Berry, J. & Laurence, R. London: Routledge. 79-94.
Journal papers: academic
- Petts, D (2009). Coastal landscapes and early Christianity in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria. Estonian Journal of Archaeology 13(2): 79-95.
- Petts, David (2007). De Situ Brecheniauc and Englynion y Beddau: Writing about burial in early medieval Wales. Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology & History 14: 163-172.
- Challinor, D., Petts, D., Poore, D. & Score, D. (2003). Excavations at Manor Farm, Drayton, Oxfordshire. Oxoniensia 68: 279-311.
- Petts, D. (2002). Beacon Hill, Aspatria an early Christian carved stone rehabilitated. Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmoreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society 2: 103-109.
- Petts, D. (2002). The Reuse of Prehistoric Standing Stones in Western Britain? A Critical Consideration of an Aspect of Early Medieval Monument Reuse. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 21(2): 195-209.
- Durham-Stanford Binchester Research Project
- Mapping the early church in Western Normandy
- Personal blog: Outlandish Knight
- 2012: Mapping Lindisfarne: the Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (£8158.73 from National Geographic Society)
- 2012: North-Eastern Heritage Partnership (£14531.22 from Arts and Humanities Research Council)
- 2011: Geophysics at Binchester (£2000.00 from The Roman Research Trust)
- 2010: Mapping the early church in Western Nomandy (£1500.00 from Society of Antiquaries of London)
- 2010: Mapping the early church in Western Normandy (£1077.00 from Society for Medieval Archaeology)
- 2009: Society for Church Archaeology
- 2008: Mapping the early church in western Normandy (£282.00 from society for church archaeology)