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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Chris Gerrard, BA (Hons), PhD, MIFA, FSA

Professor in the Department of Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41134
Room number: 229

(email at


Professor Christopher Gerrard has held a Chair in Archaeology since 2009 and was a Deputy Head of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health 2008-2011.

After studying for a joint honours degree in Archaeology and Geology Chris continued at the University of Bristol to complete his PhD in 1987 under the supervision of Professors Mick Aston and Richard Harrison. Subsequently he was awarded a post-doctoral grant from the Spanish government to work on medieval pottery in Spain and later joined the newly-formed Cotswold Archaeological Trust (now Cotswold Archaeology) in Cirencester in 1989, going on to become the Senior Archaeological Consultant at Countryside Planning and Management. He left commercial archaeology in 1992 to take up a post as lecturer at the University of Winchester (then King Alfred's College), joining the Archaeology department in Durham in 2000. He was Deputy Head of Department and Chair of the Department's Research Committee in the period 2005-7 before becoming a Deputy Head of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health (for Postgraduate matters) 2008-11 and Deputy Head of Department again in 2012 and Chair of the Board of Studies 2013-2016.

Chris has conducted fieldwork in many different parts of Britain, notably at Shapwick (Somerset) in an intensive landscape project he directed with the late Mick Aston (and for which he won the Best Archaeological Book of the Year award 2014), and at Clarendon (Wiltshire) where he worked with Tom Beaumont James on the medieval and later royal palace and park. Both of these projects, funded in large part by English Heritage, benefited greatly from the involvement of local communities and volunteers. He has also worked in NE Spain for many years and has published excavations and standing building recording on later medieval sites there, including Templar and Hospitaller complexes. His particular interest lies in the transition from Islamic to Christian societies and their landscapes in the north-east of Spain, including themes such as water/irrigation and qanats (he is co-PI on a Leverhulme Trust project on this topic). Chris is currently undertaking field survey and site recording with Spanish colleagues as part of the Moncayo Archaeological Survey and in 2013-14 excavated the abbot’s palace at Bulbuente (Zaragoza). His past experience in project management and ongoing interests in heritage and site presentation involves him in a wide variety of projects including as a trustee of the Ad Gefrin Trust (which manages the early medieval site at Yeavering in Northumberland). He has been an external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at the universities of Leicester, Nottingham, Exeter and Bournemouth, sits on the steering group of University Archaeology UK, formerly the Standing Committee for University Professors and Heads of Archaeology, and was a co-author of the 2015 revisions to the HEFCE Archaeology benchmarking statement. He also evaluates publications for Oxford University Press, Blackwells, and many others, as well as reviewing grant applications for research councils in the UK and abroad.

Chris' research students mainly work in three areas: medieval and later landscapes, artefacts, and medieval Spain and Europe. Among the former are Simon Draper who worked on early medieval Wiltshire (now Victoria County History, Oxford), Abby Antrobus on medieval townscapes (Senior Archaeological Officer, Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service), Amanda Richardson on medieval parks (Senior Lecturer in History at Chichester), Jenny Morrison (Archaeology officer, Tyne and Wear) who worked on post-medieval landscapes around Newcastle, Ronan O'Donnell who won an AHRC studentship to work on post-medieval landscapes in the north-east England and recently completed his doctorate, and Mark Kincey who has been working on historic lead mining in the North Pennines (collaboration with the department of Geography). As this list makes clear there are many opportunities for post-graduate topics in NE England working on both industrial and agrarian landscapes.

Among those who have worked on artefact topics are Eleanor Standley whose thesis was about medieval dress accessories (Assistant Keeper at the Ashmolean Museum and a Lecturer at the University of Oxford), Gwendolynn Heley on material culture as revealed by probate inventories in post-medieval Newcastle, Richard Kelleher (Assistant Keeper (Medieval and Modern) Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) who worked on coins identified through the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Phil Marter on the production of English medieval ceramics (Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Winchester), and Andrew Blair who has recently completed his PhD on the Indian Ocean economy in the late first millennium. Among the Spanish and European theses supervised by Chris are Erica D'Amico on Byzantine ceramics (Lecturer at Richmond, Rome), Ran Zhang on Chinese export ceramics, Diane Rego on the archaeological signatures of French and English peasants and Michelle Alexander (Lecturer at the University of York) who completed her PhD on the diet of medieval Spain using isotopic techniques. Many of these young researchers have successfully published their theses, for example Draper, Heley, and Richardson as BAR Archaeopress volumes, Standley in the Antiquaries Journal, and Alexander in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Those with an interest in studying later medieval topics in Britain and Europe should contact me directly. In particular, I am currently developing my interests in medieval ‘natural’ disasters such as severe weather, storm surges, earthquakes and tsunamis and investigating the varied responses of European societies to geophysical and hydrometeorological hazards. Peter Brown, an AHRC scholar, is beginning his doctoral research into medieval flood events and Paolo Forlin, a Marie Curie scholar based in Durham (2014-16; 2017-20), is developing new ways to analyse seismic events in the Middle Ages with archaeological case studies in southern Spain, Cyprus, the Azores and northern Italy ( In collaboration with colleagues in the Institute of Hazard and Risk our aim in this research is to explore how hazards become major disasters, how medieval society perceived these events and to understand how communities reacted and evolved to reduce their vulnerability. These are topics of wide interest to geographers, seismologists and climatologists, among others.

Research Groups

Department of Archaeology

  • Landscapes of Complex Society Research Group
  • North East Research Group

Research Projects

Department of Archaeology

  • Clarendon Palace, Wiltshire
  • Developing new approaches to dating ancient irrigation features
  • Durham Medieval Archaeologists (DMA)
  • Medieval and post-medieval earthquakes in Europe
  • Moncayo Archaeological Survey, NE Spain
  • Religious orders on the frontier: monks on the edge of Christian Europe
  • Shapwick Project, Somerset. A Rural Landscape Explored
  • Yeavering: A Palace in its Landscape

Research Interests

  • Archaeological resource management
  • Historic earthen architecture
  • Historic irrigation and water
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Medieval artefacts
  • Medieval ceramic imports
  • Medieval disasters and responses
  • Medieval rural settlement
  • Spanish medieval ceramics
  • Templars and Hospitallers
  • The western Atlantic seaboard in the Middle Ages
  • Natural disasters and archaeology

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Gerrard, C.M., Graves, C.P., Millard, A.R., Annis, R & Caffell, A. (2018). Lost Lives, New Voices. Unlocking the stories of the Scottish soldiers from the Battle of Dunbar 1650. Oxbow Books.
  • Aston, M A & Gerrard, C M (2013). Interpreting the English village. Landscape and community at Shapwick, Somerset. Windgather Press.
  • Beaumont James, T. & Gerrard, C.M. (2007). Clarendon. Landscape of Kings. Macclesfield: Windgather Press.
  • Gerrard, C.M. & Aston, M.A. (2007). The Shapwick Project, Somerset. A Rural Landscape Explored. Leeds: Society for Medieval Archaeology.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2003). Medieval Archaeology. Understanding traditions and contemporary approaches. London: Routledge.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2003). Paisaje y señorío. La casa conventual de Ambel (Zaragoza): arqueología, arquitectura e historia de las Órdenes militares del Temple y del Hospital. Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico.
  • Gerrard, C.M. & Darvill, T.C. (1996). Cirencester: Town and Landscape. Stroud: Cotswold Archaeological Trust.

Edited book

  • Gerrard, C.M. & Gutiérrez, A (2018). The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford University Press.
  • Petts, D. & Gerrard, C.M. (2006). Shared Visions: The North-East Regional Research Framework for the Historic Environment. Durham: Durham County Council.
  • Gerrard, C.M., Gutierrez, A. & Vince, A.G. (1995). Spanish Medieval Ceramics in Spain and the British Isles. British Archaeological Reports International Series 610. Oxford: Tempus Reparatum.

Chapter in book

  • Gerrard, C & Gutiérrez, A (2018). 'The Qanat in Spain: Archaeology and Environment'. In Water Management in Ancient Civilizations. Berkin, J Berlin: Edition Topoi. 197–226.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2018). A last word: the study of later medieval archaeology. In The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. Gerrard, C.M. & Gutiérrez, A. OUP. 982-996.
  • Graves, C.P. & Gerrard, C.M. (2018). Embracing New Perspectives. In The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. Gerrard, C.M. & Gutiérrez, A. OUP. 38-51.
  • Gerrard, C.M. & Gutiérrez-González, J.A. (2018). Looking South: Spain and Portugal in the Middle Ages. In The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. Gerrard, C.M. & Gutiérrez, A. 964-981.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2018). Overview: People and Projects. In The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. Gerrard, C.M. & Gutiérrez, A. OUP. 3-19.
  • Miccoli, L, Perrone, C, Gardei, A, Ziegert, C, Kaiser, C, Fontana, P & Gerrard, C (2016). Analysis and diagnosis of earthen buildings: The case of Ambel preceptory in Aragon, Spain. In Earth construction & tradition vol. 1. Feiglstorfer, H. Institute for Comparative Research in Architecture, Vienna. 203–232.
  • Gerrard, C.M., Turner, A. & Wilkinson, K. (2010). Geophysical and geoarchaeological survey at the Bishop's Palace, Wells. In Jocelin of Wells. Bishop, builder, courtier. Dunning, R Woodbridge: Boydell Press. 125-136.
  • Gerrard, C M (2009). The Society for Medieval Archaeology: The early years (1956-1962). In Reflections: 50 Years of Medieval Archaeology, 1957-2007. Gilchrist, R & Reynolds, A Maney Publishing. 30: 23-46.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2009). The study of the deserted medieval village: Caldecote in context. In Caldecote. The development and desertion of a Hertfordshire village. Beresford, G. Leeds: Society for Medieval Archaeology. 28: 1-20.
  • Gerrard, C M (2009). Tribes and territories: 50 years of Medieval Archaeology in Britain. In Reflections. 50 Years of Medieval Archaeology. Gilchrist, R & Reynolds, A Leeds: Society for Medieval Archaeology. 79-112.
  • Gerrard, C. M. (2008). Adventures in a post-medieval landscape: a rural case study from Shapwick, England. In Constructing post-medieval archaeology in Italy: a new agenda. Gelichi, S & Librenti, M Florence: Edizioni All'Insegna del Giglio. 75-96.
  • Gerrard, C.M. & Dauber, R. (2008). Building Biographies: Graffiti, Architecture and People at the Hospitaller Preceptory at Ambel (Zaragoza), Spain. In The Military Orders. Volume 4. On Land and by Sea. Upton-Ward, J. Aldershot: Ashgate. 235-250.
  • Gerrard, C. M. & Rippon, S. (2007). Artefacts, sites, and landscapes: archaeology and medieval studies. In A century of British Medieval Studies. Deyermond, A. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 525-556.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2007). Not all archaeology is rubbish: the elusive life histories of three artefacts from Shapwick, Somerset. In People and Places. Essays in Honour of Mick Aston. Costen, M. Oxford: Oxbow. 166-180.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2005). The medieval and later towns of the Middle Thames Valley. The wider archaeological context. In Reading and Windsor: Old and New. Preston, S. Reading: TVAS. 181-186.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2002). The archaeology of the Knights Templar. In Excavations at the Templar preceptory. South Witham, Lincolnshire 1965-67. Mayes, P Leeds: Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 19. ix-xiii.
  • King, R. & Gerrard, C.M. (2001). The Pottery. In Ludgershall Castle. Excavations by Peter Addyman 1964-1972. Wiltshire Archaeological and natural History Society Monograph Series 2. Ellis, P Devizes.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (2000). Espacio y vida cotidiana: la casa conventual de las Ordenes Militares de Ambel (Zaragoza). In Las Ordenes Militares en la Peninsula Iberica. Lopez-Salazar Perez, J Cuenca: Ediciones de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha. 1467-1487.

Journal Article

  • Bailiff, I.K., Jankowski, N. , Snape, L.M., Gerrard, C.M., Gutiérrez, A. & Wilkinson, K.N. (2018). Luminescence dating of qanat technology: prospects for further development. Water History 10(1): 73–84.
  • Miccoli, L., Gerrard, C. M., Perrone, C., Gardei, A. & Ziegert, C. (2017). A collaborative engineering and archaeology project to investigate decay in historic rammed earth structures: the case of the medieval preceptory in Ambel. International Journal of Architectural Heritage 11(5): 636-655.
  • Gerrard, C.M. & Borowski, T. (2017). Constructing identity in the Middle Ages: relics, religiosity and the Military Orders. Speculum 92(4): 1056-1100.
  • Kincey, M.E., Gerrard, C.M. & Warburton, J. (2017). Quantifying erosion of at risk archaeological sites using repeat terrestrial laser scanning. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 12: 405-424.
  • Forlin, P. & Gerrard, C. M. (2017). The archaeology of earthquakes: The application of adaptive cycles to seismically-affected communities in late medieval Europe. Quaternary International 446: 95-108.
  • Forlin, P., Gerrard, C. M. & Petley, D. (2016). Exploring representativeness and reliability for late medieval earthquakes in Europe. Natural Hazards 84(3): 1625-1636.
  • Alexander, M M, Gerrard, C M, Gutiérrez, A & Millard, A R (2015). Diet, society, and economy in late medieval Spain: Stable isotope evidence from Muslims and Christians from Gandía, Valencia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156(2): 263-273.
  • Bailiff, I.K., Gerrard, C.M., Gutiérrez, A., Snape-Kennedy, L.M. & Wilkinson, K. N. (2015). Luminescence dating of irrigation systems: Application to a qanat in Aragon, Spain. Quaternary Geochronology 30(B): 452-459.
  • Gerrard, C. & Gutiérrez, A. (2015). Melchor de Monserrat. Treasures of Malta 21(3): 61-68.
  • Gerrard, CM & Petley, D (2013). A risk society? Environmental hazards, risk and resilience in the later Middle Ages in Europe. Natural Hazards 69(1): 1051-1079.
  • Jaquin, P., Gerrard, C., Augarde, C. & Canivell, J. (2013). Damage in historic rammed earth structures: a case study at Ambel, Zaragoza, Spain. Revista Digital de Arqueologia, Arquitectura e Artes 1: 32-41.
  • Gerrard, C & Gutiérrez, A (2012). Estudio arqueológico del Somontano del Moncayo: avance metodológico. Salduie: Estudios de prehistoria y arqueología 10: 259-270.
  • Gerrard, CM (2011). Contest and co-operation: strategies for medieval and later irrigation along the Huecha Valley, Aragon, north-east Spain. Water History 3(1): 3-28.
  • Pluskowski, A, Boas, A & Gerrard, CM (2011). The Ecology of Crusading: Investigating the Environmental Impact of Holy War and Colonisation at the Frontiers of Medieval Europe. Medieval Archaeology 55(1): 192-225.
  • Jaquin, P.A., Augarde, C. & Gerrard, C.M. (2008). Chronological description of the spatial development of rammed earth techniques. International Journal of Architectural Heritage 2(4): 377-400.
  • Wilkinson, K. Gerrard, C.M., Pope, R. Aguilera, I. & Bailiff, I.K. (2005). Prehistoric and historic landscape change in Aragon, Spain: some results from the Moncayo Archaeological Survey. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 18(1): 31-54.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (1999). Opposing identity: Muslims, Christians and the Military Orders in Rural Aragon. Medieval Archaeology XLIII: 143-160.
  • Gerrard, C.M. & Aston, M.A. (1999). Unique traditional and charming. The Shapwick Project. Antiquaries Journal 79: 1-59.
  • Gerrard, C.M. (1997). Misplaced faith? Medieval pottery and fieldwalking. Medieval Ceramics 21: 61-72.
  • Darvill, T, Gerrard, C & Startin, B (1993). Identifying and protecting historic landscapes. Antiquity 67: 563-74.

Book review

  • Gerrard, C.M. (2001). Reconstruccion del Coro Petreo del Maestro Mateo. Internet Archaeology 11.

Conference Paper

  • Gerrard, C.M. (2010), Edificios en el paisaje medieval: el papel y recursos de las ordenes militares en Ambel (Zaragoza), in Ortega Ortega, J.M. & Escriche Jaime, C. eds, I Jornadas de Arqueologia medieval en Aragon. Teruel, Spain, Museo de Teruel, Instituto de Estudios Turolenses, Teruel, 53-78.
  • Jaquin, P.A., Augarde, C.E. & Gerrard, C.M. (2004), Analysis of Tapial structures for modern use and conservation, in Modena, Claudio, Lourenço, Paulo B. & Roca, Pere eds, 2: Symposium on Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions,. Padua, Italy, Taylor & Francis, Leiden, 1315-1321.

Conference Proceeding

  • Jaquin, P.A., Augarde, C.E. & Gerrard, C.M. (2007). Historic rammed earth structures in Spain: construction techniques and a preliminary classification. Proceedings of International Symposium on Earthen Structures 2007, Bangalore, Interline Publishing.
  • Jaquin, P.A., Augarde, C.E. & Gerrard, C.M. (2006). Analysis of historic rammed earth construction. 5th International Conference on Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions, Delhi, Macmillan India Ltd.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Marter, P. & Gerrard, C.M. (2004). Medieval pottery production in England: a new gazetteer. The Archaeologist 51: 16-17.

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Gerrard, C.M. (2007). Retrospect and prospect: 50 years of Medieval archaeology. Society for Medieval Archaeology

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