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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

Dr Claire Nesbitt

(on maternity leave) in the Department of Archaeology

Claire completed her undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology at Newcastle University before going on to undertake an AHRC-funded M.Litt degree in Byzantine Archaeology. She completed a PhD on the manipulation of light in middle Byzantine churches, also funded by the AHRC, at Newcastle in 2007. Between studies Claire worked as a field archaeologist and as an archaeological and geophysical surveyor. She was also involved in the Leverhulme-funded project, to survey the Anastasian Wall and the Water Supply for Constantinople. Claire has taught at the Institute of Byzantine Studies, Queen's University Belfast, the School of Historical Studies, Newcastle University and the Department of Archaeology, Durham University. She brings to Antiquity experience of a diverse range of research projects and has published on understanding 'Experience' in Byzantium, the use of light in Byzantine churches, Byzantine window glass, theoretical approaches to Hadrian's Wall, archaeologies of race and multiculturalism, Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age archaeology of western Scotland and Post-Medieval settlement in the Western Isles.

Research interests include:

Phenomenology and Experience of Architecture and Landscape

  • The experience of worship and encountering the Divine in Byzantine sacred architecture
  • Perception of landscape in relation to understanding of self and society (Hadrian's Wall case study)

Perceptions of Monumentality

  • Dislocated experience of monumental sites
  • Archaeology of monumentality vs archaeology of marginality
  • Biographies of monuments

Material culture and the aesthetics of experience

  • Window glass, light and architectural form in the Byzantine Church
  • Material culture on the margins


Research Groups

Research Projects

Research Interests

  • Archeology of Landscape
  • Historiography and the Perception of Monumentality
  • The Geography of Ownership and Development of Archaeological Knowledge on Hadrian's Wall
  • Manipulation of Light in Ecclesiastical Architecture
  • Phenomenology and Experience in Byzantine Church Architecture
  • New Perspectives on Late Antique and Byzantine Glass


Book review

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P. & Nesbitt, C. (2009). An Archaeology of Race. Exploring the Northern Frontier in Roman Britain.

Related Links

Selected Grants

  • 2010: IMRS Student Bursary and Conference Support Grant £1000
  • 2010: NIASSH Conference Programme Grant £2000.00
  • 2010: Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust £1000
  • 2010: Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies £2000

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China