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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

REFIT: Resituating Europe’s first towns: A case study in enhancing knowledge transfer and developing sustainable management of cultural landscapes

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


Through research on some of the most significant monuments in European history (Late Iron Age oppida: c.200BC-AD60), the ‘REFIT’ project focuses on understanding and engaging landscape stakeholders (e.g. wildlife organisations, farmers) in the value of this pan-European phenomenon as part of their cultural landscapes.

Funded by the European Union’s Joint Programme Initiative on Cultural Heritage (via the AHRC, ANR and Mineco), the REFIT project maximises existing expertise on oppida through cooperation between three project partners: Durham University (UK), Bibracte EPCC (France) and Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). The project is focused around 4 landscapes which contain Iron Age oppida: Bibracte, France; Ulaca, Spain and Bagendon & Salmonsbury, in the UK. The project explores a cultural ecosystems approach recognising that ecology, heritage, wildlife and non-material benefits cannot be divorced from each other in the management of cultural landscapes. Working directly with our associate partners – Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (UK); Reseau de Grand Sites de France (France); Natural Parc du Morvan (France), Regional Government of Avíla (Spain) and Cotswold Archaeology (UK) – we are exploring how to incorporate the perceptions and needs of stakeholders whilst engaging them in knowledge exchange around the value of archaeological heritage. The project explores current perceptions of the case study landscapes and examines contrasting European approaches to management and engagement.

Emerging from our recognition of the limited connections between stakeholders in these landscapes, we have implemented a range of novel engagement strategies, including participatory augering, and resources, including digital open-access field guides. The aim is to develop engagement tools which explore how archaeology can be better integrated into the management and engagement of these cultural landscapes, representing exemplars for studies elsewhere. Although the project’s funding finished in 2018 we are continuing to work alongside our partners to develop these approaches. In 2018, further research at 3 additional landscapes in the Cotswolds (funded by Durham University) explored stakeholders’ perceptions and interaction.

Discover more about the REFIT Project and access the project’s resources by visiting our website:

Follow the REFIT Project on Twitter @_REFIT

Published Results

Journal Article

  • Moore, T. & Tully, G. (2018). Connecting landscapes: Examining and enhancing the relationship between stakeholder values and cultural landscape management in England. Landscape Research 43(6): 769-783.
  • Tully, G. & Allen, M.J. (2017). Participatory Augering: A methodology for challenging perceptions of archaeology and landscape change. Public Archaeology 16(3-4): 191-213.

Chapter in book

  • Tully, G. (2016). Resituating cultural landscapes: Pan-European strategies for sustainable management. In Heritage 2016. 5th International conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development. Book of abstracts with papers in CD form. Amoêda, R., Lira, S. & Pinheiro, C. Barcelos: Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development. 347-359.


From the Department of Archaeology

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China