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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor John Chapman, B.A. (Hons.) in Archaeology & PhD, University of London

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After completing a London PhD in Balkan prehistory with John Nandris, and working in provincial museums for 3+ years, I was appointed as a Lecturer in Archaeology (later Senior Lecturer) at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1980. My main fieldwork in the 1980s was the "Neothermal Dalmatia Project" in what is now Croatia. In the 1990s, I worked in Hungary on the "Upper Tisza Project" and transferred this project with me to Durham, where I was appointed as a Reader in Archaeology in 1996. Soon after the foundation of the Journal of European Archaeology in 1994, I was asked to be its first Editor, which I did until 2001. My current project - "Early urbanism in Europe?: the case of the Tripillye mega-sites" - aims to study the Nebelivka mega-site, Uman Region, Ukraine in its wider settlement and ecological context.

Research Groups

Department of Archaeology

  • Landscapes of Complex Society Research Group
  • Prehistory of Eurasia Research Group

Research Projects

Department of Archaeology

  • Early urbanism in prehistoric Europe?: the case of the Tripillia mega-sites
  • Materiality and depositional practices in the later Prehistory in Europe: an interdisciplinary approach using central Iberia (Spain) record as a case study
  • Megaliths and cultural identity in Bulgaria
  • Upper Tisza Project
  • Varna Eneolithic cemetery

Research Interests

  • Archaeological theory
  • Colour studies in prehistory
  • Field survey techniques
  • Fragmentation in archaeology
  • Prehistory of central and Eastern Europe
  • Tripolye mega-sites and the problem of European Neolithic urbanism

Teaching Areas

  • Introduction to Archaeology

    (4 hours/year.)
  • Archaeological Method & Theory (15 hours/year.)
  • Archaeology Practicals (8 hours/year.)
  • Balkan Networks (12 hours/year.)
  • Current Issues (6 hours/year.)
  • Discovering World Prehistory (7 hours/year.)
  • Masters in Archaeology RSS (8 hours/year.)
  • Prehistoric Europe (7 hours/year.)

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Chapman, John, Gillings, M., Shiel, R., Magyari, E., Gaydarska, B. & Bond, C. (2010). The Upper Tisza Project. Studies in Hungarian landscape archaeology. Book 2: Settlement patterns in the Bodrogköz Block. Archaeopress.
  • Chapman, John, Gillings, M., Shiel, R., Magyari, E., Gaydarska, B. & Bond, C. (2010). The Upper Tisza Project. Studies in Hungarian landscape archaeology. Book 3: Settlement patterns in the Zemplén Block. Archaeopress.
  • Chapman, John, Gillings, M., Shiel, R., Gaydarska, B. & Bond, C. (2010). The Upper Tisza Project. Studies in Hungarian landscape archaeology. Book 4: Lowland settlement in North East Hungary: excavations at the Neolithic settlement site of Polgár-10. Archaeopress.
  • Chapman, John, Gillings, M., Vicze, M. Shiel, R., Cousins, S., Gaydarska, B. & Bond, C. (2010). The Upper Tisza Project. Studies in Hungarian landscape archaeology. Book 5: Upland settlement patterns in North East Hungary: excavations at the multi-period site of Regéc-95. Archaeopress.
  • Chapman, J. C. & Gaydarska, B. I. (2007). Parts and wholes. Fragmentation in prehistoric context. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
  • Chapman, J., Shiel, R. S., Passmore, D. G., Magyari, E. & Gillings, M. (2003). The Upper Tisza Project: studies in Hungarian landscape archaeology. E-book 1: Introduction and Archaeological Field Survey in the Polgár Block. York: AHDS Archaeology.

Edited book

  • Chapman, John & Gaydarska, Bisserka (2010). From surface collection to prehistoric lifeways. Making sense of the multi-period site of Orlovo, South East Bulgaria. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
  • O’Connor, B., Cooney, G. & Chapman, John (2010). Materialitas. Working stone, carving identity. Oxbow Books.

Chapter in book

  • Chapman, John (Accepted). Burn or bury? Mortuary alternatives in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic of Central and Eastern Europe. In The Cucuteni-Trypillia cultural complex and its neighbours. Essays in memory of Vlodomyr Kruts. Diachenko, A., Menotti, F., Ryzhov, S., Bunyatyan, K. & Kadrow, S. Astrolyabia. 259 – 278.
  • Chapman, John & Palincas, Nona (Published). Gender in East European prehistory. In A companion to gender prehistory. Bolger, Diane Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Chapman, J. & Palincas, N. (Published). Gender in Eastern European prehistory. In A companion to gender prehistory. Bolger, D. Wiley-Blackwell. 413 - 437.
  • Chapman, John (Published). The shell, the pin and the earring: Balkan Copper Age mortuary costumes in context. In Visualising the Neolithic. Cochrane, Andrew & Jones, Andrew M. Oxbow Books. 260 – 278.
  • Chapman, John & Gaydarska, Bisserka (2017). The Cucuteni – Trypillia ‘Big Other’ – Reflections on the Making of Millennial Cultural Traditions. In Between History and Archaeology: Papers in honour of Jacek Lech. Werra, Dagmara H. & Woźny, Marzena Oxford: Archaeopress. 267-277.
  • Chapman, John & Gaydarska, Bisserka (2016). Low-density agrarian cities: a principle of the past and the present. In Tripolye-Megasites and European Prehistory 4100-3400 BCE. Müller, Johannes, Rassmann, Knut & Videiko, Mikhailo EAA. Monograph Series 2: 289 - 300.
  • Chapman, John, Gaydarska, Bisserka & Hale, Duncan (2016). Nebelivka: Assembly Houses, ditches and social structure. In Tripolye-Megasites and European Prehistory 4100-3400 BCE. Müller, Johannes, Rassmann, Knut & Videiko, Mikhailo EAA. Monograph Series 2: 117 - 132.
  • Chapman, John, Videiko, Mikhailo, Gaydarska, Bisserka, Burdo, Natalia & Hale, Duncan (2015). Nebelivka: in search of the history and meaning of a Tripillye Copper Age mega-site. In Neolithic and Copper Age between the Carpathians and the Black Sea. Hansen, Svend Raczky, Pal Anders, Alexandra & Reingruber, Agathe Habelt. . Archäologie in Eurasien 31: 419 - 436.
  • Chapman, John & Gaydarska, Bisserka (2015). Spondylus gaederopus / Glycymeris exchange networks in the European Neolithic and Chalcolithic. In Handbook of the European Neolithic. Hofmann, Daniela, Fowler, Chris & Harding, Jan Routledge. 639 - 656.
  • Chapman, John (2015). The Balkan Neolithic and Chalcolithic. In Handbook of the European Neolithic. Hofmann, Daniela, Fowler, Chris & Harding, Jan. Routledge. 157 - 174.
  • Chapman, John (2014). Early Food Production in Southern Europe. In The Cambridge World Prehistory. Renfrew, Colin & Bahn, Paul. CUP. III: 1803 - 1817.
  • Burdo, N., Videiko, M., Chapman, J. & Gaydarska, B. (2013). Houses in the Archaeology of the Tripillia—Cucuteni Groups. In Tracking the Neolithic house in Europe. Sedentism, architecture and practice. Hofmann, D. & Smyth, J. New York: Springer. 95-115.
  • Chapman, John (2012). From the Varna cemetery to the Tripolye mega-sites: new arenas of power. In Beyond elites. Alternatives to hierarchical systems in modeling social formations. Kienlin, Tobias L. & Zimmermann, Andreas Rudolf Habelt. 225 - 242.
  • Chapman, John (2012). The negotiation of place value in the landscape. In The construction of value in the ancient world. Papadopoulos, John K. & Urton, Gary UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press. 66 - 89.
  • Chapman, John (2011). Enchantment and enchainment in later Balkan prehistory: towards an aesthetic of precision and geometric order. In The Dynamics of Neolithisation in Europe. Studies in honour of Andrew Sherratt. Hadjikoumis, A., Robinson, E. & Viner, S. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 152-175.
  • Chapman, John, Gaydarska, Bisserka, Skafida, E. & Souvatzi, S. (2011). Personhood and the life cycle of Spondylus rings: an example from Late Neolithic, Greece. In Spondylus in Prehistory: New Data and Approaches – Contributions to the Archaeology of Shell Technologies. Ifantidis, F. & Nikolaidou, M. Archaeopress. 139-160.
  • Chapman, John (2010). ‘Deviant’ burials in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic of Central and South Eastern Europe. In Body Parts and Bodies Whole: Changing Relations and Meanings. Rebay-Salisbury, K., Sørensen, M. L. S. & Hughes, J. Oxbow Books. 30-45.
  • Chapman, John & Gaydarska, Bisserka (2010). Fragmenting hominins and the presencing of Early Palaeolithic social worlds. In Social brain, distributed mind. Dunbar, Robin, Gamble, Clive & Gowlett, John Oxford Oxford University Press British Academy. 158: 417-452.
  • Chapman, John & Richter, Eva (2010). Geometric order and scientific principles: a view from the mesolithic, neolithic and chalcolithic of Central and South East Europe. In In medias res praehistoriae. Miscellanea in honorem annos LXV peragentis Professoris Dan Monah oblata. Bodi, G. Iaşi, România: Editura Universităţii „Alexandru Ioan Cuza. 21-58.
  • Chapman, John (2010). Houses, households, villages and proto-cities in Southeastern Europe. In The lost world of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000 – 3500 BC. Anthony, D.W. & Chi, J. Y. Princeton, N.J.: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. 74-89.
  • Chapman, John (2009). Notes on memory-work and materiality. In Materializing memory: archaeological material culture and the semantics of the past. Barbiera, I., Choyke, A.M. & Rasson, J. A. Archaeopress. 1977: 7-16.
  • Chapman, J. & Gaydarska, B. (2009). The fragmentation premise in archaeology: from the Paleolithic to more recent times. In The fragment: an incomplete history. Tronzo, W. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute. 131-153.
  • Chapman, J. (2008). Approaches to trade and exchange in earlier prehistory (Late Mesolithic – Early Bronze Age). In Prehistoric Europe. Theory and practice. Jones, A. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 333-355.
  • Chapman, John C (2008). Interaction, trade and exchange: approaches to trade and exchange in earlier prehistory (late mesolithic - early bronze age). In Prehistoric Europe: theory and practice. Jones, Andrew Chicester: John Wiley. 333-355.
  • Chapman, John (2008). Meet the ancestors: settlement histories in the Neolithic. In Living well together? Settlement and materiality in the Neolithic of South-East and Central Europe. Bailey, D., Whittle, A. & Hofmann, D. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 68-80.
  • Chapman, J. (2008). Object fragmentation in past landscapes. In Handbook of landscape archaeology. David, B. & Thomas, J. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast. 187-201.
  • Chapman, J. (2007). Engaging with the exotic: the production of early farming communities in South-East and Central Europe. In A short walk through the Balkans. The first farmers of the Carpathian Basin and adjacent regions. Spataro, M. & Biagi, P. Trieste: Società per la preistoria i protostoria della regione Friuli-Venezia Giulia. 207 - 222.
  • Chapman, J. , Gaydarska, B. & Hardy, K. (2006). Does enclosure make a difference? A view from the Balkans. In Enclosing the past: inside and outside in prehistory. Harding, A. Sievers, S. & Venclová, N. Sheffield: J. R. Collis Publications. 20-43.
  • Chapman, John C (2003). From Franchthi to the Tiszazug: two Early Neolithic worlds. In Morgenrot der Kulturen: Frühe Etappen der Menschheitsgeschichte in Mittel- und Südosteuropa. Jerem, E. & Raczky, P. Budapest: Archaeolingua. 89-108.

Journal Article

  • Spataro, Michela, Cubas, Miriam, Craig, Oliver E., Chapman, John C., Boroneanţ, Adina & Bonsall, Clive (2019). Production and function of Neolithic black-painted pottery from Schela Cladovei (Iron Gates, Romania). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11(11): 6287-6304.
  • Chapman, John, Gaydarska, Bisserka & Nebbia, Marco (2019). The Origins of Trypillia Megasites. Frontiers in Digital Humanities 6: 10.
  • Gaydarska, Bisserka, Nebbia, Marco & Chapman, John (2019). Trypillia Megasites in Context: Independent Urban Development in Chalcolithic Eastern Europe. Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • Higham, Thomas, Slavchev, Vladimir, Gaydarska, Bisserka & Chapman, John (2018). AMS Dating of the Late Copper Age Varna Cemetery, Bulgaria. Radiocarbon 60(02): 493-516.
  • Chapman, John (2018). Climatic and human impact on the environment?: A question of scale. Quaternary International 496: 3-13.
  • Chapman, John (2017). The Standard Model, the Maximalists and the Minimalists: New Interpretations of Trypillia Mega-Sites. Journal of World Prehistory 30(3): 221-237.
  • Chapman, John & Gaydarska, Bisserka (2015). Fragmentation in Archaeology: Sorting through the Pieces. Stratum Plus 2015(2): 85 - 110.
  • Videiko, Mikhailo, Chapman, John, Burdo, Natalia, Gaydarska,Bisserka Terziiska-Ignatova, Stoilka Ivanova, Svetlana & Rud, Vitali (2015). Research project “Early urbanism in prehistoric Europe: the case of the Trypillia mega-sites” in 2013. Stratum Plus 2015(2): 147 - 170.
  • Chapman, John, Videiko, Mikhailo Gaydarska, Bisserka Burdo, Natalia & Hale, Duncan (2014). An Answer to Roland Fletcher’s Conundrum?: Preliminary Report on the Excavation of a Trypillia Mega-Structure at Nebelivka, Ukraine. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology 16: 135 - 157.
  • Chapman, John, Wallduck, Rosalind & Trianaphyllou, Sevi (2014). Disarticulated human bone disposal during the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic in the Balkans and Greece. Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Historica 18(II): 1, 11 - 46.
  • Gaydarska, B., Gurova, M. Chernakov, D., Blake, E. & Chapman, J. (2012). A place to live, a place to bury and a place to hoard: Understanding deposition on and off the Bulgarian tell of Kosharna. Archaeologica Bulgarica XVII(1).
  • Kostov, Ruslan I., Protochristov, Christo, Stoyanov, Chavdar Csedreki,László Simon,Alíz Szikszai, Zita Uzonyi, Imre, Gaydarska, Bisserka & Chapman, John (2012). Micro-PIXE Geochemical Fingerprinting of Nephrite Neolithic Artifacts from Southwest Bulgaria. Geoarchaeology 27(5): 457 - 469.
  • Magyari, Eniko, Chapman, John, Fairbairn, Andrew S., Francis, M. & de Guzman, M. (2012). Neolithic human impact on the landscapes of North-East Hungary inferred from pollen and settlement records. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 21(4-5): 279-302.
  • Chapman, John & Gaydarska, Bisserka (2011). Can we reconcile individualisation with relational personhood? A case study from the Early Neolithic? Documenta Praehistorica 38: 21-44.
  • Magyari, E. K., Chapman, John, Passmore, D. G., Allen, J. R. M., Huntley, J. P. & Huntley, B. (2010). Holocene persistence of wooded steppe in the Great Hungarian Plain. Journal of Biogeography 37(5): 915-935.
  • Chapman, J., Magyari, E. & Gaydarska, B. (2009). Contrasting subsistence strategies in the Early Iron Age ?: new results from the Alföld Plain, Hungary and the Thracian Plain, Bulgaria. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 28(2): 155-187.
  • Chapman, John (2009). The Danube and settlement prehistory – 80 years on. European Journal of Archaeology 12(1-3): 145-156.
  • Magyari, E.M., Chapman, J., Gaydarska, B., Marinova, E., Deli, T., Huntley, J.P., Allen, J.R.M. & Huntley, B. (2008). The ‘oriental’ component of the Balkan flora: evidence of presence on the Thracian Plain during the Weichselian late-glacial. Journal of Biogeography 35(5): 865-883.
  • Higham, T., Chapman, J., Gaydarska, B. & Slavchev, V. (2008). The first AMS dates for the Varna cemetery. Acta Musei Varnaensis VI: 95-114.

Conference Paper

  • Gaydarska, B., Chapman, J., Raduncheva, A. & Koleva, B. (2007), The châine opératoire approach to prehistoric figurines: an example from Dolnoslav, Bulgaria, in Renfrew, C. & Morley, I. eds, McDonald Institute Monographs Image and Imagination: material beginnings. Cambridge, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, 171-184.

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Europe: History & Archaeology: prehistory of Central and Eastern Europe
  • World perspectives & techniques: archaeological theory
  • World perspectives & techniques: field survey techniques
  • Landscape & buildings: past aspects (prehistory)
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