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Durham University

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Mr Peter Brown, BA(Hons), MAR

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After completing a BA(Hons) degree here at Durham with a dissertation on historic landscape development, I completed a Masters by Research degree, still at Durham, investigating the impact of natural disasters on British later medieval society. I am currently expanding this research for my PhD by considering a wider geographic area in greater detail. At the same time as conducting this research, I am engaged in a number of field projects including the Moncayo Archaeological Survey in Aragon, NE Spain, and the Rustaq-Al Batinah Survey, Sultanate of Oman. I am also currently a technician at the DARC Laboratory (Durham Archaeomaterials Research Centre).

Research Topic

Weathering a Climactic Climate: An Archaeological Assessment of Resilience and Response to Meteorological Hazards in Medieval Northern Europe AD 1000-1550


My project adopts an interdisciplinary approach to examine the impact of natural disasters on medieval society and the responses provoked by their occurrence. By investigating a number of detailed case studies I am exploring how individuals and populations as a whole responded to extreme natural phenomena such as floods, windstorms and thunderstorms. Archaeological evidence combined with documentary sources offer an unrivaled opportunity to understand how a pre-modern society reacted to the unpredictable extreme events which accompanied the period's fluctuating climate.


(2015-Present) AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Scholarship

(2017) Mick Aston Research Grant from the Society for Medieval Archaeology

(2016) Grant for study trip from the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

(2016) Grant for conference attendance from the Economic History Society

(2016) Grant for conference attendance from the Rosemary Cramp Fund

(2016) Research Training Grant for conference attendance from Northern Bridge 

(2015/16) Northern Bridge Placement with Twam International Archaeological Consultants

(2015) Grant for research trip from the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

(2015) Northern Bridge Placement with Arqueocanaria S.L.

(2015) Grant for conference attendance from the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

(2014) Grant to cover fieldwork costs from the John Simpson Greenwell Memorial Fund

Conference Contributions

  • 2015: ‘Aeolian Sand as a hazard in medieval Britain’ Presented at: Weather Beaten Archaeology, 07-08 March, Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo, Republic of Ireland
  • 2016: 'The Extreme Windstorm of AD 1362: Contemporary Perceptions and Responses' Presented at: The Crisis of the 14th Century: "Teleconnections" between Environmental and Societal Change?, 24-26 February, Deutsches Historisches Institut in Rom, Rome, Italy
  • 2016: 'Protection from nature's extremes: Personal adornment and the cult of the saints' Presented at: Human-nature Interactions in Archaeological Research, 12-13 March, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • 2016: 'A severe windstorm in medieval England - Responses and reactions to the St Maur's Day storm of 1362' Presented at: Anthropology, Weather and Climate Change, 27-29 May, British Museum, London, UK
  • 2016: 'Extreme Winds and High Tides: Responses to storms in medieval England' Presented at: Waiting for the End of the World: Perceptions of Disaster and Risk in Medieval Europe, 02-04 December, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
  • 2018: 'Defending against deluge: flood events and social organization in medieval Marshaland, Norfolk' Presented at: Flood and flow: Rivers Gathering, 12-13 May, De Vere Cotswold Water Park Hotel, South Cerney, UK
  • 2018: 'Diverting the deluge: Approaching flooding from a landscape perspective' Presented at: 5th International Landscape Archaeology Conference, 17-20 September, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  • 2019: 'Coping with floods and other natural disasters from a medieval perspective: practical, religious and superstitious strategies' Presented at: Hochwasser - Wahrnehmungen und Schutz am mittelalterlichen Oberrhein, 28-31 January, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2013: Birley Prize for Best Dissertation in Classical Archaeology:


Chapter in book

  • Brown, P. J. (2018). Coping with disaster. In The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. Gerrard, C. M. & Gutiérrez, A. OUP. 154-168.
  • Brown, P. J. (2017). The contribution of archaeology to the study of historical disasters. In Archaeological Approaches to Breaking Boundaries: Interaction, Integration and Division. Proceedings of the Graduate Archaeology at Oxford Conferences 2015–2016. O'Sullivan, R., Marini, C. & Binnberg, J. Oxford: BAR Publishing. 2869: 239-245.

Journal Article