Skip to main content

Martha Stewart

Research Student

Research Student in the Department of Archaeology



My current research focuses on the work of C20th Roman historian and archaeologist Eric Birley. His career 1920s-70s saw archaeology in the UK shift from being primarily the domain of highly-skilled 'amateurs', becoming a university discipline based in the laboratory as much as the library. Besides this 'professionalisation' of archaeology, the significance of geography in the production and distribution of knowledge is a key area of interest, as is the potential impact of poor mental health on an academic career, at a time when this was a subject of shame and silence.


MA Roman Archaeology, with Distinction, University of Durham 2016
M St Roman History, Christ Church, Oxford 1997
BA Classics Mods; Final Honours School Ancient & Modern History, Christ Church, Oxford 1995

Research Topic

The contribution of Professor Eric Birley (1906-95) to Roman frontier studies

Conference Papers

2016: ‘Victorians on the Edge: An early excavation in context,’ Edge of Empire Conference, University of Durham, 2 September.


2019: 'Amateurs, Professionals, and everything in-between: Excavating Hadrian's Wall in the inter-war years,' Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Durham, Epiphany term.

2017: ‘Margerie Venables Taylor, an unsung heroine of Romano-British Archaeology,’ Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Durham, Easter term.

2016: ‘The Emperor’s New Pots: A late Victorian image of Roman Britain,’ Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Durham, 20 May.

Public Outreach

2019: 'Amateurs, Professionals, and everything in-between: Excavating Hadrian's Wall in the inter-war years,' Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, November

2019: Poster presentation on 'The Centenary Pilgrimage 1949 & International archaeological fellowship after WW2,' 14th Hadrian's Wall Pilgrimage, Vindolanda, 24 July

2016: ‘Robert Blair’s scrapbook and the 1875 excavation at South Shields,’ Hadrian’s Wall Community Networking Day, Hexham, 26 November.

Conference Organisation

2017: Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference organising committee
2016: Hadrian’s Wall: 40 years of frontier research, Durham, 2-4 September, student helper.

  • Stewart, M.L. (2019) Margerie Venables Taylor (1881-1963): An Unsung Heroine of Roman Britain? In Moshenska, G. & Lewis, C. (eds.): Life Writing in the History of Archaeology. London, UCL Press (forthcoming).
  • Hingley, R. & Stewart, M.L. (2019) Review of 'Alan Sorrell: The Man Who Created Roman Britain' by Julia Sorrell and Mark Sorrell, Journal of Roman Archaeology VOL? pp?.

2019: Filmed interview of Professor Rosemary Cramp, commissioned by Durham University Department of Archaeology as part of her 90th Birthday celebrations.