Skip to main content

Impact and Engagement Case Studies

Training in Action

Training in Action was developed in collaboration with the Insitut National du Patrimonie de Tunisie and the Department of Antiquities of Libya. It has trained 72 Tunisian and Libyan archaeologists in fast and reliable documentation techniques for objects and buildings, site conservation and management, museum object recording for the creation of a National Museum database and outreach activities to increase awareness among local populations of the importance of their heritage, its protection and preservation. 


UNESCO’s 2014 Chair in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage

Durham’s UNESCO Chair team are successfully co-designing and implementing heritage intervention programmes across South Asia. Providing time critical heritage and research training, they are strengthening regional partnerships between academics, local communities, policy makers and heritage practitioners as well as influencing heritage policy and practice to enhance the protection of living sites threatened by natural disasters, conflict and mega-infrastructure.


Bodies of Evidence

This represents a huge body of training courses and collaborations with national and international forensic partners for the last decade. The project has contributed to international capacity building and skills in forensic archaeology and anthropology to investigate the missing, including from post-conflict countries and/or in response to natural or humanitarian disasters (e.g. deaths of irregular migrants). This work is in collaboration with international NGOs (e.g. the International Committee of the Red Cross) and human rights lawyers working towards repatriation of the bodies of those missing to provide closure for family members, as well as steps towards political reconciliation.


Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA)

EAMENA is a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Leicester and Oxford.  In response to increasing threats we support heritage protection by using satellite imagery and ground survey to record and monitor cultural heritage sites across the MENA region. Durham undertakes site documentation, curates digital imagery, trains local heritage professionals, and supports the development of national digital inventories in Lebanon and Iraq.


Enhancing educational access to Jordan’s museums

Our work with museum and heritage professionals in Jordan is enhancing the accessibility of Jordanian museums to young people, and strengthening the capacity and sustainability of Jordanian museum education, through staff training, partnership building and experimental education events. Drawing on this experience, we will disseminate of a set of guidelines for good practice in Jordanian museum education.


REFIT – enhancing sustainability of cultural landscape management

Using three European landscapes containing Iron Age ‘oppida’ as case studies, this project has worked with landscape stakeholders, including environmental organisations, government agencies and local communities, to explore archaeology’s role as a focus for enhancing collaboration in the sustainable management of Europe’s landscape.


Scottish Soldiers

In 2013 two mass burials were discovered unexpectedly in Durham. Over the next two years, a complex jigsaw of evidence was pieced together by a team of archaeologists to establish the identity of the human remains. Today we know them to be some of Scottish soldiers who died in the autumn of 1650 in Durham cathedral and castle following the battle of Dunbar. This is their story. 


Belief in the North-East

Building on a long tradition of sharing our archaeological expertise with the local community, Belief in the North-East is a major National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported community archaeology project exploring all aspects of the archaeology of religion and ritual in North-East England from prehistory to the modern day. Working with groups and individuals, we are carrying out fieldwork, desk-based research and providing training to help the people of the North-East to better understand their local heritage.


Fragments of Faith - The Morton ‘cope’

Research into an altar frontal composed of recycled medieval vestments associated with Cardinal Archbishop John Morton (c.1420-1500) enabled exploration of material expressions of faith. Technical analysis, including X-radiography, was used to ‘unpick’ the vestments’ complex biography and propose an alternative history of their fragmentation and remaking for possible use during the penal period when Roman Catholicism was illegal in England.

This project’s systematic approach to surveying liturgical vestments designed or re-used for clandestine Roman Catholic services during the penal period enabled a re-categorisation of their making, types and context. Co-production generated fresh debates into the inter-relationships of material culture, memory and faith in suppressed religious practice. Read more at the Fabric of Resistance Site 


Fewston Workhouse

In 2009 the Churchyard of St Michael and St Lawrence in the village of Fewston, North Yorkshire was excavated in advance of the construction of a Heritage Centre. This was the start of a journey of collaboration between Durham and York Universities and, most importantly, the local community, including the descendants of those excavated. This Heritage Lottery funded collaboration has showcased the power of community engagement, and the role of the past for forging new links in the present. It has resulted in numerous, ongoing collaborative outputs, including artwork, permanent and temporary exhibitions, workshops and publications.


Rewriting World Archaeology of South Asia

We want to see South Asia play a prominent part in rewriting world archaeology. Building on the British Academy’s Writing Workshops Rewriting World Archaeology Programme with funding from the Antiquity Trust, Durham Archaeology is consequently working in partnership with Antiquity journal, regional experts and early career researchers from South Asia to overcome entrenched global inequalities in academic publishing.