Books on a medieval coffin

Theory and Practice


Research on the contemporary context of our practice is critical to the department’s vision.  A research-led approach to the curation of the historic environment has been at the heart of work by Grenville. The department is also actively involved in the development of innovative approaches to fieldwork (Carver & Roskams), in the design of regional research frameworks and the creation of new links with the commercial sector (Edmonds & Roskams). Theoretical ecology provides a valuable paradigm for developing new models in bioarchaeology (Kenward, O'Connor), and rethinking archaeological taphonomy takes the practice of zooarchaeology in new directions (O'Connor). York is also in the vanguard of institutions developing innovative technologies for the recording of the archaeological process, the preservation of data and the dissemination of knowledge (Richards, Morgan). Award winning work by Edmonds (Derbyshire), by Finch (Yorkshire Country House Partnership), Roskams (York Archaeological Forum) and Smith (Castleford) has actively involved members of different communities in the archaeological process, from field and archival research to oral history, analysis, publication and the creation of exhibitions. New directions for research in these areas have also been opened up by the recent creation of the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past, which is affiliated to the department. 


  • Penny Bickle's main focus of research is Neolithic Europe. Working at the intersection of science and theoretical archaeology, she applies bioarchaeological methods to various sites and time periods to inform on issues of identity and social diversity among the early farming groups.
  • Prof. Martin Carver
  • Prof. Mark Edmonds
  • Jonathan Finch
  • Kate Giles
  • Jane Grenville
  • Dr Helen Goodchild is Project and Fieldwork Officer, and teaches field skills in landscape survey and geophysics, archaeological computing, as well as co-directing the undergraduate field school. Her research interests lie in the use of GIS for landscape modelling.
  • Peter Gouldsborough
  • Dr Don Henson is interested in public engagement with the past, the relevance of the past for present-day issues and in British/European prehistory. He also has a background in heritage education and community engagement
    with heritage. His most recent research has been into the communication of the Mesolithic period in Britain to non-academic audiences across a range of print and digital media, and in museums.
  • Harry Kenward
  • Dr Colleen Morgan is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage. My research is on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. I also conduct archaeological fieldwork in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf.
  • Cath Neal
  • Prof. Terry O'Connor
  • Prof. Julian Richards
  • Steve Roskams is interested in all aspects of archaeological fieldwork, both of theory and of practice. The former involves the construction, from a Marxist perspective, of frameworks for understanding landscape change in relation to transitions between the Iron Age and Roman periods, and between the latter and the medieval period. The latter includes the development of excavation methods and analysis to aid the interpretation of complex, deeply-stratified sequences and of extensive, shallow sites, together with an interest in how the fieldwork profession operates in relation to modern development pressures and the way in which such commercial work can engage modern communities more fully.
  • Kevin Walsh, whose research addresses questions of human-environment interactions across parts of the Mediterranean and the Alps, emphasises the use of historical and cultural ecological frameworks in landscape archaeology. All of his fieldwork comprises interdisciplinary endeavours, combing traditional archaeological evidence (field survey excavation, artefact analysis) with palaeoecological (pollen, charcoal, sedimentary aDNA) with bioarchaeological analyses of pottery residues and isotopic analyses of animal bones with a view to investigating transhumant practices.
  • Stephanie Wynne-Jones works on the archaeology of Africa, with a theoretical focus on exploring the relationships between people, objects and settings in the past, using a practice-based approach. She has also pioneered the use of novel methodologies on her excavations to provide detail on ephemeral traces of practices and activities and build these into archaeological interpretations. 


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