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Our six Research and Impact Groups act as hubs for discussion and collaboration in fieldwork, analysis and grant applications. They highlight key strengths in the Department's current research profile and each group holds regular meetings and seminars. Academic staff, Visiting Professors, Post-Doctoral Research Assistants and Research Postgraduates may belong to more than one of these groups, and the involvement of Research Postgraduates in Research and Impact Group seminars and workshops is particularly encouraged. 



The Bioarchaeology Research Group at Durham undertakes cutting edge, internationally renowned research on past human lifeways using biological remains. Members of the group have a broad range of expertise in biomolecular archaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, geoarchaeology, palaeoecology, palaeodemography and palaeopathology. Major collaborative projects exploring diverse geographical and temporal scales are a hallmark of the Bioarchaeology Research Group. We believe that the academic environment for bioarchaeology within the Department of Archaeology at Durham is currently unsurpassed in the UK. 

The group focuses on a number of related research themes, addressing major archaeological questions with the development of new techniques, alongside established methods: 

  • Foodways and the Origins of agriculture 
  • Dispersals and diasporas 
  • Origins and evolutionary history of disease 
  • Environmental change and chronologies 
  • Human-animal-environment relations 
  • Society and identity 

Contact: Eva Fernandez-DominguezAndrew Millard


Heritage Partnerships

The Heritage, Archaeology, People & Places Research & Impact Group (HAPPi) brings together research on the intersection between the built heritage (as broadly interpreted to include all field archaeology) and the management, interpretation and presentation of heritage. It recognises that these remains present particular challenges in terms of monitoring their use, valuation and survival, and explaining them to residents, stakeholders and wider audiences. Taking a truly international perspective, this research group draws on a range of approaches, philosophies, techniques and methodologies to monitor, evaluate, interpret and present the often-threatened archaeological and architectural resource. 

Contact: Anna Leone


Landscapes of Complex Society 

The Group’s research is focused on the landscape dimension of complex polities, and draws upon case-studies from across Eurasia. The group includes a large group of PhD students who work alongside experienced members of staff. We welcome enquiries about potential research projects at post-graduate and post-doctoral levels on themes related to this group. Interested scholars should contact the relevant people within the research group in the first instance. 

Contact; Graham PhilipRobert Witcher 


Northern Communities 

The Northern Communities Research group brings together staff, students and Archaeological Services to explore the archaeology and historic environment of the North of England. One of the unique aspects of this group is that our research is underpinned by work carried out by academics, the commercial sector (specifically Archaeological Services) and in co-operation with community groups. 

Contact: Sarah SempleChris Gerrard


Prehistory of Eurasia 

The Prehistory of Eurasia research group captures the diversity of international research taking place at Durham in this broad period/area range. This vibrant body of researchers and post-graduate students covers topics ranging in time from the Lower Palaeolithic to the end of the Iron Age, and in space from Torquay to Damascus. The group combines competing theoretical and empirical backgrounds to create new synergies in cross-period and cross-area discourse. The aim is to transcend traditional and restrictive theoretical pigeon-holes by providing a forum in which broad-ranging and widely informed interpretation is the norm. 

We welcome enquiries about potential research projects at post-graduate and post-doctoral levels, and encourage interested scholars to contact relevant people within the research group in the first instance. 

Contact: Ben RobertsChris Scarre 


Material and Visual Culture 

Artefacts, monuments and images form essential materials for the study of the past. Through analysis of their manufacture/creation, trade, distribution, uses and understandings we can gain insights into social norms and behaviours, identities, rituals, and beliefs in the past, and consider how this intersects with perceptions, identities and behaviours today. 
At Durham, research in this area has a distinctive spectrum of periods, places and materials, from Palaeolithic cave art and hand axe creation through later prehistoric and ancient Egyptian imagery, Chinese and Roman ceramics, and Classical, Medieval and Islamic monuments, to early modern commodities. Methods and approaches are equally wide-ranging, from cutting-edge archaeo-materials science in specialist laboratories to critical theorisation of frameworks through which we derive meanings from material and visual remains. 
The Material and Visual Culture Research Group (MaVis) provides a connecting structure for this work, and informs and enhances our scholarship through activities that aid critical comparison of approaches and interdisciplinary synergies. 

Contact: Catherine DraycottMarta Diaz Guardamino