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Dr Kate Sharpe

Research Associate

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Research Associate in the Department of Archaeology302 


I am currently PDRA on an AHRC-funded project, Co-producing Tolerant Futures through Ancient Identities with Chiara Bonacchi (PI) and Richard Hingley (CI). This is a Follow-On from Iron Age and Roman heritages: exploring ancient identities in modern Britain which I worked on from 2016-19.

Over the last few years I have held various roles within the Department and the Antiquity Journal, and have also worked freelance copy editing for non-English speaking archaeology authors. Recent major copy-editing projects include the edited volumes 'Megaliths of the World' and 'The Rise of Metalwork in Eurasia'.

Prior to that I supported staff in the submission of grant applications; from 2014 to 2015 I worked with Richard Hingley and Rob Witcher on a Follow-On to the Tales of the Frontier Project; and from 2011 to 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, primarily, 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.

Before discovering a love of the past, I completed a degree in Biochemistry at Newcastle University and spent twelve years in pharmaceutical information management. I took up archaeology full-time in 2002, returning to full-time study for 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). After my PhD I managed several community-based projects including the Northumberland and Durham Rock Art Project (EH-sponsored) and CSI: Rombalds Moor project in West Yorkshire, helping local people to record rock art for research and conservation, and subsequently, the Rock Art on Mobile Phones project at Newcastle University (ICCS), developing user-driven interpretative content for visitors to rock art sites.

Research interests

  • Megalithic monuments
  • Neolithic stone axes
  • British rock art
  • Rock art recording and management
  • Cumbrian prehistory
  • Community archaeology
  • Heritage management and interpretation
  • Landscape archaeology

Research groups

  • Heritage Partnerships
  • Prehistoric Worlds


Authored book

  • Barnett, T., M. Ritchie & K. Sharpe. (2021). A Song in Stone. Exploring Scotland’s Neolithic Rock Art. Forestry and Land Scotland.
  • 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.

Book review

Chapter in book

  • Sharpe, K. (2021). Documenting English rock art: a review of the ‘big picture’. In New Light on the Neolithic of Northern England. Hey, G. & Frodsham, P. Oxbow Books. 73.
  • 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 A. Mazel, A. Maxwell, D. & Sharpe, K. (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.

Edited book

  • Barnett, T. & Sharpe, K. (2010). Carving a Future for British Rock Art: New Directions for Research, Management and Presentation. Oxbow Books.

Journal Article