Daryl Stump



Daryl Stump holds a joint appointment with the Department of Archaeology and the Department of Environment and Geography reflecting his research interests in the use of archaeological techniques to assess the sustainability of human-environment interactions, with a particular focus on historic agricultural systems in eastern Africa.

From 2014-2018 he led the ERC-funded ‘Archaeology of Agricultural Resilience in Eastern Africa’ project (AAREA), which examined the long-term sustainability of the terraced agricultural systems at Engaruka, Tanzania, and Konso, Ethiopia, through a combination of archaeological, geoarchaeological, archaeobotanical and modelling techniques; a short film on which is available here.  During the AAREA project Daryl also led two Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (tRRACES and MATRIX), both of which added further geochemical techniques and additional case-studies, but maintained this focus on how long-term data drawn from a variety of techniques can inform modern resource-use policies.

Daryl first joined York as a Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow as part of another EU-funded project: ‘Historical Ecologies of East African Landscapes’ (HEEAL), which ran from 2007 to 2011.  Between the HEEAL and AAREA projects he returned to his first love of British contract field archaeology; a compulsion he has been both enjoying and enduring since 1992.  Daryl holds a degree in Social Anthropology and African Archaeology from SOAS (1999); an MA and PhD in African Archaeology from UCL (2001 and 2006); and a grudge against the rats that live beneath his shed.

He is always happy to discuss the design and funding of potential PhD or post-doctoral research projects on the themes of applied archaeology, the development of agricultural landscapes, and long-term sustainability, but gets grumpy at the prospect of research funding after March 2019.



Daryl Stump has been a field archaeologist since 1992. He has a technical specialism in complex stratigraphic excavation, a geographic specialism in east Africa, and a long standing research interest in intensive agriculture, human modifications of the environment, and applied archaeology. Research interests focus on the development of agricultural landscapes, with a particular emphasis on sustainability and on the use of historical perceptions within development and conservation narratives. This interest in the contemporary uses of long-term data is reflected in publications in a range of discipline-specific and policy-oriented journals, and in work exploring how evidence is perceived and employed by practitioners outside of academia. His research has been funded by a range of agencies including the AHRC, British Academy, ERC and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.



Projects and Research Grants (PI only)


ERC Starting Grant

AAREA: Archaeology of Agricultural Resilience in Eastern Africa



MATRIX: Anthropogenic units detected by Rare Earth Elements soil analysis in archaeological strata (Fellow: Gianni Gallello)



tRRACES: Resistance and Resilience of Ancient Agricultural Soils (Fellow: Cruz Ferro-Vázquez)


Wenner-Gren Foundation

The long-term history of soil and water conservation techniques in Konso, Ethiopia


British Academy

Archaeology and geoarchaeology of Konso, Ethiopia



Towards an applied archaeology of east African intensive agriculture


Research group(s)

Landscape and Society.


Selected publications

Isendahl, C. and D. Stump (eds). 2019. The Oxford Handbook of Historical Ecology and Applied Archaeology. OUP: Oxford.

Selected peer-reviewed publications

Lang, C., & Stump, D. 2017. Geoarchaeological evidence for the construction, irrigation, cultivation, and resilience of 15th–18th century AD terraced landscape at Engaruka, Tanzania. Quaternary Research, 88(3), 382-399. doi:10.1017/qua.2017.54

Ferro Vázquez, C., Lang, C., Kaal, J., and Stump, D. 2017. When is a terrace not a terrace? The importance of understanding landscape evolution in studies of terraced agriculture. Journal of Environmental Management, 202(3), 500-513.   dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.01.036

Stump, D.  2015 (online).  ‘Digging for indigenous knowledge: ‘Reverse engineering’ and stratigraphic sequencing as a potential archaeological contribution to sustainability assessments’, in Isendahl, C. and D. Stump (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Historical Ecology and Applied Archaeology. https://doi.org 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199672691.013.17.

Stump, D.  2013. ‘On applied archaeology, indigenous knowledge and the usable past’, Current Anthropology 54 (3): 268-298. https://doi.org/10.1086/670330.

Stump, D.  2013. ‘The role of agricultural and environmental history in developmental discourse in eastern Africa’, in Davies, M and F. Nkirote (eds) Humans and the Environment: new archaeological perspectives for the 21st century.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stump, D.  2013. ‘The archaeology of agricultural intensification in Africa’, in Mitchell, P. and P. Lane (eds) Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stump, D.  2010.  ‘Ancient and backward or long-lived and sustainable: the role of the past in debates concerning rural livelihoods and resource conservation in eastern Africa’, World Development 38 (9): 1251-62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2010.02.007. 

Stump, D.  2010.  ‘Intensification in context: archaeological approaches to precolonial field systems in eastern and southern Africa’, African Studies 69 (2): 255-278.  Special issue History and Archaeology in Conversation edited by P. Delius and A. Schoeman. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00020184.2010.499201.

Stump, D. & M. Tagseth.  2009. The history of precolonial and early colonial agriculture on Kilimanjaro: a review’, in T. Clack, (ed.), Culture, History and Identity: Landscapes of Inhabitation in the Mount Kilimanjaro Area, Tanzania. BAR International Series No. 1966. Oxford: Archaeopress. pp. 107-124.

Stump, D.  2006.  ‘The development and expansion of the field and irrigation system at Engaruka, Tanzania’.  Azania 41: 69-94. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00672700609480435.


Non peer reviewed publications

Richer, S., & D. Stump. 2016. More than just a terrace: a past perspective on the multifunctional agriculture of Konso, Ethiopia, WFO E-Magazine F@RMletter, 54: 5-7. Available online.


Policy briefs

Stump, D. and Richer, S. 2017 ‘Terraces are good, but sediment traps are better’, AAREA Policy Brief No 1, University of York. AAREA Policy Brief No 1



Current PhD students:

Tabitha Kabora, Modelling the long term ecosystem, socioeconomic and landscape dynamics of two historical agronomies in East Africa: Agent based simulation of the resilience and sustainability of agriculture intensification practices (AAREA project PhD1, ERC funded)

Senna Thornton-Barnett, What can archaeology tell us about the resilience of intensive agricultural landscapes? Assessing crop diversity, hydrology, and landscape management at Engaruka, northern Tanzania, and Konso, southern Ethiopia (AAREA project PhD2, ERC funded).


Contact details

Dr Daryl Stump
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor

Tel: +44 (0)1904 324979

External activities

Invited talks and conferences

Stump, D. Is ‘Resilience’ a Sustainable Concept? A Discussion of Potential Archaeological Contributions to Resilience and Sustainability Assessments with Reference to Engaruka, Tanzania and Konso, Ethiopia.  The REAL ITN Final Conference: Landscape Transformations and Sustainable Trajectories in East Africa – Past, Present and Future. 11th-12th July 2017, Moshi, Tanzania.

Invited workshop contributor: International Workshop for LandUse6K research initiative, Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm 24th-25th April, 2017. 

Stump, D. ‘Water as an engine of anthropogenic landscape change: the construction of agricultural fields in east Africa from the 15th century AD.’  World Historical Ecology Network (WHEN) and The Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE) SYMPOSIUM, Uppsala University, 26th April 2017. Water and Society in the Past and Present: Perspectives from Archaeology and Historical Ecology.

Invited workshop contributor: Early Career Research Workshop on Future Earth, British Academy, 15th December 2016.

Stump, D. ‘What food security issues do we miss if we do not include archaeological data?’ Food Security in Eastern Africa: Past, Present, Future.  Global History & Culture Centre, University of Warwick, 7th-8th July 2016.

Stump, D. The archaeology of traditional farming practices in east Africa. ‘Agrobiodiversity present and past: ecological and archaeological perspectives on traditional farming regimes in Morocco’, Hosted by the AGRICURB Project and the British Council, Chefchaouen, Morocco 24th-28th March 2015.



Media coverage

Dissemination and outreach

Grains of Truth: online documentary, AAREA Project, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJKal9rkFKo

Daryl Stump and Rob Marchant, ‘What on earth does the past of Eastern Africa tell us about future sustainability?’  Public lecture, photographic exhibition and 3Sixty video presentation.  University of York, ‘Research in Focus’ series, 26th January 2017

IrriGate: The African Irrigation Game.  Interactive game for children, York Festival of Ideas, 10th June 2016.  Downloadable version for Android (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-V1jSNxFWKzX0lpX0tzSlZkU1k ) and Apple phones developed in collaboration with Becky Naylor, Department of Electronic Engineering, York, and produced as an MSc project by Zharif Khairuddin.