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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Ms Freya Horsfield, BA, MA, FHEA

(email at

Academic Biography

  • 2018 ESRC-funded Impact Fellowship
  • 2016 Research Associate in Hazard & Risk, Durham University
  • 2014 MA Landscape archaeology, GIS and virtual landscapes (Distinction). University of Birmingham
  • 2000 BA Archaeology. University College, London

Research Topic

Part of the Rievaulx Landscapes Project

I draw on my experience in developing policy, strategy and evidence-based advice to government within rapidly-evolving multi-stakeholder contexts, to lead a fresh interdisciplinary look at the behaviour and impact of a major medieval institution.

The choices made by the medieval monastery of Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire have implications for modern-day choices in modern-day places. During more than 400 years Rievaulx Abbey cycled between resilience and collapse in the face of risks with such modern resonance as climate fluctuation, recurrent flooding, foreign trade debts and animal diseases which threatened the livelihood of a generation.

The trace which these choices have made on the landscape can be invisible to the unaided human eye, so archaeological prospection and digital visualisation methodologies are crucial to my research. I also bring together the insights of people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, to help evolve new approaches to research co-production.  

Committee and Society Service (recent)

2016-2019. Member, advisory committee to the APTiTUDE / TRUCE project, a National Institute for Health Research-funded project to design a complex intervention for reduction of antibiotic prescribing in dentistry

2016-2017 Management Board member, Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, Durham University 

2013-14 UK representative - OECD Global Science Forum expert working group on scientific advice for policy making and the role and responsibility of expert bodies and individual scientists 


2017 Grant from Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies to take part in measured survey training run by Historic England; from Quaternary Research Association to participate in Vale of Pickering Field Meeting; from International Society for Archaeological Prospection to present at International Conference on Archaeological Prospection.

2016 Durham University research dialogue leader. Grant by Archaeology Department to run colloquia on original research idea.

2016 Grant from Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) to undertake geophysical survey near Rievaulx Abbey

2015 Grants from Rosemary Cramp fund and Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) to run engagement and training workshops for Rievaulx Landscapes Project

2014 Grant and bursary from EU ARIADNE scheme to participate in CNR ISTI Pisa summer school on 2D and 3D documentation for archaeology

2014 Grant from Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) for conference attendance 

1996 Swan Hellenic travel scholarship

Conference contributions (selected)

Horsfield, F. ‘Rievaulx Landscapes Project’. Durham University Archaeology Department Research Seminar. 2015. University of Durham (Presentation)

Horsfield, F. ‘Rievaulx Landscapes Project’. Institute of Hazard Risk and Resilience (IHRR) Postgraduate Forum ‘Risk and the Anthropocene’ 2015, University of Durham. (Presentation)

Horsfield, F. ‘Rievaulx Landscapes Project’. Inaugural workshop of Rievaulx Landscapes Project. 2015. Rievaulx Abbey. (Presentation, workshop organiser and facilitator).

Engagement and collaboration (selected)

2019 - present. Chair, Teesside Archaeological Society

2018 - present. Programme of engagement and collaboration around adult digital skills and citizen science.

2015 - present. Programme of community involvement in Rievaulx Landscapes Project, including lidar interpretation workshops (organiser and facilitator)

2014. Participant, Royal Society Pairing Scheme

Is supervised by


Journal Article

Research Groups

Research Projects

  • Rievaulx Landscapes Project

Selected Grants

  • 2018: Grant from Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) - workshop and engagement for Rievaulx Landscapes Project