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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

North Sea Capital: Newcastle, the Making of a Mercantile Community; and Coal, Community and Capitalism

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


These projects have their origins in the Eye of the North project.

North Sea Capital is exploring the relationship between an emerging merchant community, the physical form of their town, and material expressions of their economic, social and religious concerns. It examines the strategies of different agents within the town, and how the archaeology of Newcastle reflects their conceptions of themselves, inner conflicts and collaborations, and their relationships with other merchant communities around the North Sea and Baltic Sea rims.

Coal, Community and Capitalism intends to examine the evolution of a network of landowners, traders and consumers based in Newcastle upon Tyne and the coal-rich North-East of England, and their diverse relationships with London, Continental Europe and America. The project will explore the creation of capitalist conditions of investment and production, the social networks and exclusions of those creating the wealth, and their cultural preoccupations. The project is conceived as a combined archaeology and anthropology of the early coal industry, from the earliest exports of coal from medieval Newcastle until the eve of the Industrial Revolution.

Both projects are being carried out in collaboration with Mr David Heslop, County Archaeologist for Tyne & Wear. 

Newcastle from the south, 1827

Published Results

Journal Article

  • Graves, CP (2009). Building a new Jerusalem the Meaning of a Group of Merchant Houses in Seventeenth-Century Newcastle upon Tyne, England. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 13(4): 385-408.


From the Department of Archaeology

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China