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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Dr Martin Sterry, BA Hons (Cardiff) MA and PhD (Leicester)

Teaching Fellow in the Department of Archaeology

(email at


  • Assistant Professor (Teaching Track), Durham University 2017-
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Trans-Sahara, University of Leicester 2012-2017
  • Research Associate, Peopling the Desert, University of Leicester 2010-2012

Research Interests

Ancient Landscapes

This aspect of my research focusses on the relationships between agricultural intensification, expansion, and population demographics, especially with regard to the impact of these relationships on urbanisation and complex societies. I have explored these themes in my PhD looking at rural landscapes in pre-Roman and Roman Italy and in my post-doctoral positions in which I looked at oasis development across the Sahara. My current fieldwork project: the Middle Draa Project looks at a pre-desert zone in Morocco with significant evidence of oasis communities beyond the Roman frontier.

Geographical Information Science in Archaeology

A key element of my research lies in the development of novel techniques for analysing and visualising ‘Big Data’ in archaeology. This includes handling and processing large datasets of archaeological sites and assemblages especially for Roman Britain and and Roman North Africa.

Survey Archaeology

I am also interested in the use of satellite remote sensing, drone survey, structure-from-motion imaging, and fieldwalking to study Mediterranean landscapes. I have investigated the representativeness of survey results and constructed methodologies to compare the results from different regions, periods, and types of survey. I have also applied a similar approach to studying damage and threats to archaeology, especially in Libya.

Modelling ceramics from Roman Leicester


Selected Publications

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2017: British Academy Small Research Grant: The Middle Draa Project (Morocco)
  • 2017: TanDEM-X Science DEM Proposal: South Morocco Heritage Grant of 80,000 km2 digital elevation model for use in the Middle Draa Project
  • 2016: REF Impact Development Fund: The Wadi Draa, a Unique Heritage at Risk Grant for the creation of a museum exhibit in Morocco
  • 2011: GeoEye Foundation Imagery Grant: Grant of four satellite scenes totalling 600 km2 for use in the Peopling the Desert Project
  • 2011: NERC Radiocarbon Facility Grant: Full grant of 20 Radiocarbon dating measurements for the Peopling the Desert Project