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Durham University

Email and Telephone Directory

Staff Profile

Dr Kate Sharpe

Research Associate in the Department of Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41119
Room number: 302

(email at


Over the last few years I have held various roles within the Department.

I am currently a PDRA working on and AHRC funded project: Iron Age and Roman heritages: exploring ancient identities in modern Britain, with Richard Hingley (PI), Tom Yarrow (CI) and Chiara Bonacchi (CI).

Previously, I was Editorial Manager for the Antiquity Journal, and prior to that I worked on Impact Evaluation, and supported staff across the Department in the submission of grant applications. From Oct 14 to Apr 15 I worked with Richard Hingley and Rob Witcher on a follow up to their Tales of the Frontier Project, creating 'impact and engagement', and from 2011-2013 I provided general research support to Chris Scarre (then HoD).

My own research centres around the use of stone in prehistoric Britain - including megaliths, stone tools, and rock art, particularly in Cumbria. I edit an informal newsletter, Rock Articles which aims to inspire and connect researchers, heritage managers, and enthusiasts with an interest in British rock art.

I took up archaeology full-time in 2002 when, after twelve years in pharmaceutical information management (Derwent Information, GlaxoWellcome, Pharmagene), I returned to full-time study gaining an MA (2004) and a PhD (2007) at Durham University. Alongside my doctoral research I worked on the Breaking Through Rock Art Recording project (2004) using laser scanning to record panels in Cumbria and Northumberland. I then worked primarily in community-based archaeology, on projects including the Northumberland and Durham Rock Art Project (EH-sponsored) and CSI: Rombalds Moor project in West Yorkshire (CSI= Carved Stone Investigations), both of which recruited and trained local people to record rock art for both research and conservation purposes. More recently I wasa PDRA on the Rock Art on Mobile Phones project at Newcastle University (ICCS), developing user-driven interpretative content for visitors to rock art sites in Northumberland.

Research Groups

Department of Archaeology

  • Heritage Partnerships
  • Prehistoric Worlds

Research Interests

  • British rock art
  • Cumbrian prehistory
  • Rock art recording and management
  • Community archaeology
  • Heritage management and interpretation
  • Landscape archaeology
  • The life of Hadrian's Wall


Authored book

  • Sharpe, K., Barnett, T. & Rushton S. (2008). The Prehistoric Rock Art of England: Recording, managing and enjoying our carved heritage. English Heritage, Northumberland County Council and Durham County Council.

Edited book

Chapter in book

  • Sharpe, K. (2014). Pride and Prejudice. The challenges of conserving and managing rock art in the landscape of Northern England through public participation. In Open-air rock-art conservation and management: state of the art and future perspectives Edited by. Darvill, T. & Fernandes, A.B.F.
  • Galani Areti Mazel, Aron Maxwell, Deborah & Sharpe, Kate (2013). Situating Cultural Technologies Outdoors: Empathy in the Design of Mobile Interpretation of Rock Art in Rural Britain. In Visual Heritage in the Digital Age. 183-204.
  • Sharpe, K. (2012). Reading between the grooves. Regional variations in the style and deployment of ‘cup and ring’ marked stones across Britain and Ireland. In Visualising the Neolithic (Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers). Cochrane, A. & Jones, A. M. Oxbow Books. 47-63.
  • Galani, A., Maxwell, D., Mazel, A. & Sharpe, K. (2011). Situating Cultural Technologies Outdoors: Designing for Mobile Interpretation of Rock Art in Rural Britain. In Museums and the Web 2011: Proceedings. Trant, J. & Bearman, D. Archives & Museum Informatics: Toronto.
  • Sharpe, K. & Watson, A. (2010). Moving images: interpreting the Copt Howe petroglyphs. In Carving a Future for British Rock Art: New Directions for Research, Management and Presentation. Barnett, T. & Sharpe, K. Oxbow Books. 57-64.
  • Sharpe. K. (2008). Rock Art and Rough Outs: Exploring the Sacred and Social Dimensions of Prehistoric Carvings in Cumbria. In Art as Metaphor: The Prehistoric Rock-Art of Britain. Nash, G., Mazel, A. & Waddington, C. Archaeopress.
  • Sharpe, K. (2007). The Lady of the Lakes: Clare Isobel Fell and the role of local societies for women in archaeology. In Studies in Northern Prehistory. Essays in Memory of Clare Fell. Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Research Series. Cherry, P. Titus Wilson, Kendal.
  • Díaz-Andreu, M. & Sharpe, K. (2005). Rock Art and Education: The British Experience. In The Valcamonica Symposiums 2001 and 2002. Rapport fran Riksantikcarieambetat 2004. Bertilsson, U. & McDermott, L. National Heritage Board of Sweden. 6.

Journal Article

Book review

Selected Grants

  • 2004: AHRC Doctoral Award