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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Postgraduate Student Profiles

Laura Armitage

“Being a postgraduate student in the Durham Department of Archaeology is a wonderful experience. Not only are there many opportunities for students (in the form of seminars, study groups and social events) but we also have the chance to develop important professional relationships with the academic staff. From my first day, I have been made to feel part of a community that cares about my educational and personal development. All members of staff make time to talk with me about research or my concerns and to offer career advice. I have also developed a real sense of camaraderie with my peers, who share my beliefs and dedication.
I have lots of career options having completed this programme at Durham. I feel more confident to follow my dreams and go after the jobs I am most passionate about. The course has given me a wide range of relevant skills, which have prepared me for so many different types of jobs in the heritage sector. I am looking forward to showing them what I can do.”

Laura Armitage, MA Museum and Artefact Studies, 2012-3.
Erik Farrell

“The focus on archaeological objects was my main reason for choosing Durham's programme.
[The best part of being a member of my department is] the ability to learn [from] and work on actual archaeological artefacts. There is no replacement for actual practice when learning conservation and the department is very willing to share artefacts and information for teaching purposes. The teaching and support are excellent.
So far, the most interesting aspect of lab work was the section on metals. I entered with a decent knowledge of metals and production techniques; it's interesting to see the number of different corrosion products and structures that arise from a single alloy product. It is fascinating to see the results of the combination of the chemistry of corrosion, the nature of the burial environment, and the composition and construction of the object.”

Erik Farrell - MA Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects, 2012
Gary Bankhead

“As a current MA by Research student, having access within the department to a range of appropriate imaging and analytical systems ensures that I can undertake meaningful analysis of my archaeological artefacts from the River Wear, Durham. However, what really makes the difference is the immediate access I have to expert staff and it is because of their detailed understanding of ancient materials, technology and artefacts that I can accurately interpret the results.”

Gary Bankhead - MA by Research Student
Ophelie Lebrasseur

“Using the ancient and modern genetic signatures of dogs and chickens, my research is focused on extending our knowledge of the Austronesian disperal (through the Lapita Cultural Complex) in SEA and Oceania. Following on from this, I am also researching the use of ghost ants as proxies for human migration.
I am very happy with the support offered in the department. An example of this is the Student Archaeology Workshops that give all research postgraduates the opportunity to teach on a non-compulsory module offered to undergraduates.
I do feel that having studied at Durham will potentially be a valuable asset for my CV. However, I feel that the thing that has been most valuable is the opportunity Durham University gives its students to be involved in various societies and sports and thus, gaining valuable skills and experience outside of your degree.”

Ophelie Lebrasseur - PhD Student.