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Department of Archaeology


Our research

The Department of Archaeology has ongoing research projects funded by the AHRC, NERC, the Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society, British Academy, Wenner Gren, UNESCO, Historic Scotland and English Heritage, among others, and with established research partnerships reaching across the globe. Field projects based within our department operate in areas as diverse as Syria, Iceland, France, Egypt and Kuwait. Our research encompasses Britain, Europe, the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Near East, Egypt, South Asia and the Indian Ocean, spanning the Palaeolithic to the post-Medieval periods, and covering fields from Archaeological Science to the History of Archaeology.

Our research staff and students, and our facilities

We have more than 30 full-time academic members of staff (11 Professors, five Readers, nine Senior Lecturers, and five Lecturers), 14 postdoctoral researchers and over 110 research postgraduates. Such students are integral to our research community and projects. If you come to Durham in order to gain a research qualification in Archaeology, you will work within an exciting research environment that provides an impressive range of activities guaranteed to stimulate debate and discussion, and to support and strengthen your work. To aid such projects, our department also houses state-of-the-art facilities for research into bioarchaeology, environmental archaeology, chronometry and the analysis and conservation of archaeological materials, and the University’s library is extremely well resourced for our research.

Research excellence and its assessment

As a department, we are focused on building upon our worldwide reputation for research excellence.

According to the most recent research quality assessment (Research Excellence Framework 2014), our Department was top of the 29 Archaeology Departments in the UK for research intensity (i.e. assessment of performance against the proportion of eligible staff submitted), indicating our research has quality and depth.

In more detail, the main headlines are that over the period 2008 to 2014 some 73% per cent of our research overall was considered of internationally excellent or world leading quality. This gave our Department a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.11, which means that we are ranked second in our discipline nationally out of 29 departments of Archaeology. Needless to say, league table compilers may make their own calculations so our rankings do vary slightly if further variables are introduced. This demonstrates for research that we are one of the best two departments of Archaeology in the UK.

For those of you not familiar with the REF, this is a UK wide grading exercise (all subjects and universities) in which the quality of articles and books, the 'research environment', and 'research impact beyond academia' over the period from 2008-2014 are assessed and scored by an independent panel. On the basis of the REF results, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the three other UK higher education funding bodies currently distribute some £2 billion of funding. The results are also used by league table compilers, which influence Durham University’s reputation both in the UK and internationally, so the 18 December 2014 was an important day for us when the results were published.

Scottish Soldiers Project