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Durham University

Department of Archaeology



Durham is one of the leading departments of Roman Archaeology with one of the largest groups of specialists on the Roman world. Through the Centre from Roman Culture we also have strong links with colleagues in other Durham departments, including Classics and Geography, and regional professional institutions. Our international reputation for innovative research and high-quality teaching derives from the breadth of our chronological and geographical coverage, extending from Archaic Rome to Late Antiquity, and from metropolis to frontiers, in areas such as Italy, North Africa, France and Britain.

Both staff and students are actively involved in a range of field projects and the development of critical theoretical perspectives. Our distinctive research includes:

  • Genealogies of archaeological knowledge, receptions of Roman culture in historical and contemporary societies
  • Advanced landscape theory and method, new field projects and innovative methods of analysis
  • Popular perceptions of Roman/native icons, multivocality of people and place (e.g. Hadrian's Wall, Boudicca)
  • Identities and cultural change, social praxis from graveside ritual, to monumentality, and globalization
  • Economies and demography from ceramics, to human remains, and site distributions.

Research postgraduates draw directly on our research strengths:

  • Dr Becky Gowland - Human palaeopathology, health, burial and Roman social identities;
  • Dr Richard Hingley - Roman Britain and Roman Iberia, Roman imperialism and contemporary Empire, the genealogy of the reception of Roman culture;
  • Dr Anna Leone - Topography of Rome, Roman/Late Roman/Byzantine Italy, North Africa and the East, Roman and Byzantine pottery, Roman economy;
  • Dr Tom Moore - Iron Age/Roman transition in Britain, France and Germany, early Roman settlement and landscapes and the history of Iron Age studies;
  • Dr David Petts - Roman and post-Roman Britain, early Christianity and the archaeology of northern England, including Binchester field school;
  • Dr Robert Witcher - Pre-Roman and Roman Italy, Roman imperialism, landscape archaeology techniques, from GIS and field survey to phenomenology.

The department has a lively research community of postgraduates researching Roman topics such as Hadrian's Wall, towns in Roman Britain, religious landscapes in Syria, Malta and Egypt. We have excellent library facilities for the study of Roman Archaeology and our location in the North-east provides easy access to a wealth of Roman monuments, most obviously Hadrian's Wall, as well as museums. There is also a rich later prehistoric archaeology to study and explore, enabling students to span the Iron Age-Roman divide.

  • Conferences held through the Centre for Roman Cultural Studies.
  • A major AHRC-funded project on Hadrian's Wall, which explores the reception of this monument from the sixth century to the present.
  • As part of agenda-setting within Roman frontier studies, a major field project is running a major excavation at Binchester Roman fort and vicus (County Durham). This initiative is undertaken in collaboration with Stanford University (USA).
  • Research projects are also being undertaken in France, Sicily and Rome.

We are currently welcoming applications to the MA Archaeology and enquiries from prospective applicants for PhD research and potential topics or areas of specialism. Please contact us should you have any question regarding admission to Postgraduate Courses.