Accessibility statement

Sarah M Duffy


I recently finished my PhD at University of York in the Department of Archaeology and am now a Postdoctoral Research Associate within the Department.  My doctoral research focused primarily on the application of digital recording and visualisation techniques within the scope of archaeological investigation, namely on how innovative approaches can best be used to enhance the understanding of the recorded archaeological resource.  I also explored the role of research design, the value of interdisciplinary research and volunteer-based recording programmes as well as the impact of technology transfer.  My doctoral work has led me to additional research interests such as the digital survey and investigation ancient rock art and medieval graffiti. 

I specialize in a digital imaging technique called Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), a multi-light imaging method that produces an interactive output used to reveal extremely subtle surface relief.  While completing my PhD, I developed a set of guidelines for English Heritage on Highlight-RTI, a flexible RTI recording approach.  I also employ a digital modelling technique based on photogrammetric and Structure from Motion (SfM) processing approaches which allows the generation of 3D geometry from multiple digital photographs. I was elected the International Student Representative for the International Congress on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies, Vienna, Austria in 2009 and remain a scientific committee member. Most recently, I have been collaborating on research in Jersey as part of the Ice Age Island Project and  in Sudan with the International El Kurru Project (CUNE).


PhD Archaeology at Department of Archaeology University of York, UK (UoY) 2013. Thesis title: Archaeological Recording in the Digital Age: Towards an informed and reflexive methodology. Supervisor: Jane Grenville

MSc Historic Preservation at School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin, USA, 2008. Dissertation title: Innovative Technology & Ancient History: Exploring Polynomial Texture Mapping of Larger Objects at Chersonesos, Ukraine.

BA Liberal Arts (Archaeology & Anthropology) at UT Austin, 2000.

Current fieldwork & collaborations

El Kurru, Sudan: International El Kurru Project (CUNE)/ specialized imaging of funerary architecture & excavation (SfM/RTI) / 2014

Happisburgh, Norfolk: British Museum/NHM/AHOB/ digital modelling of early human footprints (SfM) / 2013

Jersey: Ice Age Island Project / survey of landscape, excavation and specialized imaging of small finds (SfM & RTI) / 2013 - pres

Ilkley Moor: CSI: Rombalds Moor / rock art survey (RTI)  (Pennine Prospects video of survey) / 2013

Ughtasar, Armenia: Ughtasar Rock Art Project / rock art survey (2010 - pres)

St Mary's Watford: Watford Borough Council/ W. Herts Archaeological & Historical Society / survey of gravestones (2013)

English Heritage: survey of architectural details (2013)

Conservation and interpretive experience

Chersonesos, Ukraine: Institute of Classical Archaeology (2006-2008)

Historic building survey

Galveston, Texas: Hardy Heck Moore, Inc (Austin, Texas) (2007-2008) 


Duffy, S (in prep)  ‘Relighting the Past: Extreme RTI at Ughtasar Rock Art Site’. Internet Archaeology.

Ashton, N, Lewis, S, DeGroot, I, Duffy, S M , Bates, M, Bates, R Hoare, P, Lewis, Parfitt, S, Peglar, S, Williams, C, Stringer, C . (2014)  Hominin 'Footprints from Early Pleistocene Deposits at Happisburgh, UK'  in  PLOS ONE, UK. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88329.

Duffy, S (2013) Archaeological Recording in the Digital Age: Towards an informed and reflexive methodology. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of York.

Duffy, S with contributions by P Bryan, E Graeme, G Beale, H Pagi and E Kotoula (2013) Multi- light Imaging Techniques for heritage application’: PTM Guidelines. English Heritage, UK.  

Tyson, E, Duffy, S., Rabinowitz, A & Cleere, C (2011) 'Making Sense of the South Region: Design and Implementation of a Site Interpretation Project' in The Study of Ancient Territories Chersonesos & Southern Italy: Report for 2008-2011, 54-62.

Duffy, S (2010) ‘Polynomial Texture Mapping at Roughting Linn Rock Art Site’.  ISPRS Technical Commission V Mid-Term Symposium Proceedings, 38:5, 213-7.

Duffy, S (2009) ‘Innovative Technology & Ancient History: Exploring Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM) at Chersonesos, Ukraine’ in Proceedings from 14th International Congress Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (Vienna, 2009), 610-615.     

Duffy, S (2008) Innovative Technology & Ancient History: Exploring Polynomial Texture Mapping of Larger Objects at Chersonesos, Ukraine.  Unpublished Master’s Thesis, UT Austin.


Recent Presentations

Organized/chaired roundtable session: 'Recycling digital data sets for archaeological visualization and analysis'. 18th Int'l Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies’ Vienna, AU. (2013)

'Visualising Ice Age Island'. Cross museum research symposium on 3Dtechnologies‏, British Museum, London, UK (co-presented with Rebecca Scott) (2013)

'Highlighting Medieval Church Graffiti: Exploring the Application of Multi-Light Imaging at Durham'. Institute for Field Archaeologists (Making waves; designing and demonstrating impact in archaeology and heritage), Birmingham, UK. (2013)

'Development and launch of the English Heritage guidelines on multi-light imaging for heritage applications'  CDH2013: Centre for Digital Heritage 2013:Interfaces with the Past) co-presented with Paul Backhouse (EH), York, UK (2013)

‘Highlighting the Ubiquitous: Recording Medieval church graffiti Durham’. Art Through Millennia: Cambridge Art and Archaeology Workshop, Cambridge University, UK. (2012)

‘Exploring the Flexibility of Innovative Visualization Tools at Ughtasar Armenia’. Digital Humanities Symposium, University of York‏, UK (co-presented with Richard Stroud). (2012)


S-Duffy rhc image

Contact details

Sarah Duffy
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor

Tel: (44) 1904 433931
Fax: (44) 1904 433902