We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

Durham Medieval Archaeologists (DMA)

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


Durham Medieval Archaeologists (DMA) has been established by research postgraduates and staff in the Department of Archaeology to raise the profile of medieval research being undertaken within the Department and the wider research community. It is a network of researchers, drawn from several of the Department's Research Groups, which aims to provide an active forum for discussion, debate and the exchange of ideas between medievalists from various disciplines on current and future research topics which impact the study of the medieval period.

Current projects (2018/2019)

Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium (EMASS) 2019

This year, DMA is co-organising the 13th annual Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium to be held in Durham and Newcastle on the 11th to 13th April 2019. The annual EMASS symposium is now a major event and continues to be run by and for postgraduate and early career researchers to provide a constructive platform to discuss ongoing innovative projects on the early-medieval period (broadly defined as the 4th to 12th centuries) and enhance and create academic networks. Alongside the panels of papers and discussions, there are dedicated poster sessions on both days of the conference. On the final day of the conference, there is an optional guided field trip to Lindisfarne to learn more about the recent archaeological excavations undertaken by the department of archaeology.

For further information and updates, please visit


Please see the DMA blog for information of upcoming talks and events:

DMA chairs: Kelly Clarke and Katie Haworth

Projects (2017/18)

DMA lunchtime speaker series

The lunchtime seminar series provides students and staff working on the medieval period with a chance to present their current research and gain valuable feedback from colleagues. Seminars will take place on Thursdays. For details of the dates, speakers and venue, please see the DMA blog:

Projects 2016/2017

In-house Medieval Lunchtime Speaker Series

This informal lunchtime series provides a relaxed setting in which postgraduate students and staff can present their current research, conference papers, or any other ideas in order to gain feedback, help shape a stronger medieval research community, and create high-impact research collectively. This series is scheduled to take place on Thursdays throughout the Epiphany term. 

'Symbolism and Medieval Castles'

Medieval castles were constructed for many reasons--to defend the lord, to boost one's status, to display a message, etc. Symbolism was constructed into the architecture of castles in many ways to convey meanings and messages as well as to choreograph movement around various areas of the castle dependant on one's social status. Professor Philip Dixon will be speaking on symbolism and castles at 4:00pm in room 104 of the Dawson Building on Tuesday, the 25th of April.

‘The Publication Process’

A primary aim of the DMA is to benefit and promote postgraduate students’ academic careers. This interactive meeting, led by Dr Sarah Semple, will inform students about the publication process and give them the opportunity to ask questions and share their own experiences. This event will take place at 18:00 on the 21st of November in room 217 of the Dawson Building. 

DMA Chair: Heidi Richards

Projects 2013/2014

‘Settlements in the Medieval World’

The seminar series will provide a forum for discussion of settlements, an important theme in medieval studies. This will allow the dissemination of recent ideas and research to a wide audience, consequently encouraging discussion of an important subject. The seminar series aims to facilitate dialogue between established researchers and the strong community of archaeology post-graduates and academic staff in Durham researching medieval topics.
12th December 2014 - Prof Martin Carver, York University “Commerce and Cult: Socio-economic initiatives in the 5-8th century”
11th March 2014 - Prof Helena Hamerow, Oxford University “The Origins of the Wessex Project: Uncovering the 'kingdom' of the Gewisse”

EMASS 2014

The DMA is also co-organising the Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium 2014, together with the Universities of York and Newcastle, to be held in Durham on 19th to 21st May 2014.
EMASS is a popular, friendly arena for postgraduate researchers specialising in archaeological and interdisciplinary approaches to the early medieval period in Europe and further afield.
There will be contributions from postgraduate and early career researchers contextualising the ‘early medieval’ period ranging from the 4th to 12th centuries AD, as well as papers involving community-led projects, museum-based studies and commercial ventures. EMASS has always been interdisciplinary in scope and we welcome papers from a range of disciplines from history to literature to palaeosteological and palaeoenvironmental research.
For more information please visit or email

Projects 2011
‘Medieval Transitions'

'Exploring Medieval Transitions' is a series of three one-day workshops hosted by the Departments of Archaeology at Durham University and the University of York, and the School of History at Newcastle University, examining transitions and material culture in the Middle Ages. The purpose of the workshops is to bring together interested scholars to discuss how political, social, religious and cultural transitions are manifested in the archaeological evidence, and how various forms of material culture were used to redefine and negotiate social change in those periods. The workshops are open to all archaeologists examining transitions within and around the medieval period (5th to 16 century A.D.).

October 22, 2011, Department of Archaeology, Durham University

'Exploring Transitions in Material Culture'

The material remains that archaeologists find and study reflect the traditions, practices, beliefs, and structures of past social groups. As such, artefacts reflect the changes that past societies encountered, either during temporal transitions or in transitional locations. The one day workshop will focus on how transitional periods and places affected social groups in the past, and how this in turn affected the material culture created by those societies.

For more information see:

The DMA committee: Brian Buchanan, Ronan O’Donnell, and Jocelyn Baker

Projects 2010

'DMA Research Seminar Series, Current Archaeological Projects and Research in Northern and Eastern Britain AD 400 - 1500'

Sustaining this vibrancy and momentum, starting in June 2010 the DMA will host a bi-weekly medieval seminar series 'Current Research Projects in Northern and Eastern Britain AD 400 -1500' with invited speakers to discuss their current research and projects. Seminars will include discussions on domestic and religious architecture, funerary archaeology, ceramics and settlement. These small scale seminars will keep students and staff abreast of current research directions and projects specifically in the field of Medieval Archaeology in the British Isles.

Starting in June 2010 the DMA will host a bi-weekly medieval seminar series 'Current Research Projects in Northern and Eastern Britain AD 400 -1500' with invited speakers to discuss their current research and projects. Seminars will include discussions on domestic and religious architecture, funerary archaeology, ceramics and settlement. These small scale seminars will keep students and staff abreast of current research directions and projects specifically in the field of Medieval Archaeology in the British Isles.

Medieval Research Seminars

Monday 7th June 2010 - Early Medieval Ceramics by Duncan Brown (English Heritage)
Monday 21st June 2010 - New Evidence for Post-Roman and Early Anglo-Saxon Settlement in North Northumberland by Clive Waddington (Archaeological Research Services Ltd)
Monday 11th October 2010 - The Seventh Century Cemetery at Street House, Loftus by Mark Simmons (Cultural Services, Hartlepool Borough Council)
Monday 25th October 2010 - Bamburgh Research Project by Graeme Young AND The Reuse of Prehistoric Monuments in Early to Middle Anglo-Saxon Settlements by Vicky Crewe (PhD Candidate, Sheffield University)
Monday 1st November 2010 - Bell Towers of Lincolnshire by Prof. David Stocker
Monday 8th November 2010 - Medieval Hungate by Jayne Rimmer (YAT)
Monday 15th November 2010 - The Archaeology and Conservation of the East Front of York Minster by Alex Holton (PhD candidate, York University)
Monday 22nd November 2010 - Corpus of Medieval Parish Churches in the Diocese of Dunblane and Dunkeld by Prof. Richard Fawcett
Monday 29th November 2010 - New Light on County Durham Churches. Archaeological Assessments 1991/2008 by Peter Ryder
Monday 6th December 2010 - Project Eliseg: Digging Early Medieval Stone Sculpture by Prof. Howard Williams
All are welcome to attend and all the seminars will be held in the Birley Room, Archaeology Dept. at 5.00pm

For further information please contact us:

We look forward to seeing you there,

the DMA committee - Lisa Brundle and Emma Wells

Projects 2008-2009

The Sensory Perceptions in Medieval Society AD 450-1600

This project consisted of five multi-disciplinary workshops, which investigated the classical senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch in the medieval period. These workshops consisted of a mix of postgraduate, early careers, and professional academics from within Durham University and the wider academic community. The success of the project lay in the smooth running of the workshops and the breadth and quality of multi-disciplinary approaches towards the senses in medieval society. The DMA committee are now seeking to develop an edited volume from the series, encompassing papers by Durham PhD students and other workshop participants - so watch this space for further details on the edited volume. The final event, a well attended session at the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG 09), which drew a significant audience and encompassed papers from Durham students and staff (Lisa Brundle, Emma Wells, Pam Graves, David Petts), was chaired and organised by the DMA committee (Gwen Dales, Sira Dooley-Fairchild, and Jocelyn Baker).

Past committee members that organised and ran the sessions


Gwen Dales

Sira Dooley-Fairchild

Jocelyn Baker


Abby Antrobus

Michelle Mundee

Eleanor Standley

Prof. Chris Gerrard


From the Department of Archaeology

From other departments

Related links

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China