Pete Wilson
Research Associate



Pete Wilson, PhD, FSA, FSA Scot, MCIfA is an independent Archaeological Consultant having, until June 2016, been Head of Research Policy (Roman Archaeology) for English Heritage (2006-2012) and latterly Foresight Coordinator for Historic England. He also has a strong interest in issues around illegal metal detecting and the wider issues of Heritage Crime.



Primary research focus is ‘the Roman North’ with particular emphasis on towns and civil settlement, along with the end of the Roman period.


  • Completion of the publication report for the 1999-2000 excavations at Cawthorn Camps (Roman forts and temporary camp), North Yorkshire.
  • Completion of the publication report for the 2003-2005 excavations at Groundwell Ridge Roman villa, Swindon
  • Completion of a publication report for the 1956-58 excavations at Newton Kyme Roman fort, North Yorkshire in combination with a report drawing together all of the available data on the Roman fort and civil settlement at Adel, West Yorkshire.


Previous Research

PhD thesis North East Yorkshire - A later Prehistoric and Roman landscape: Studies of settlement, economy, burial and the evidence they provide for culture change following the Roman occupation (University of Bradford 1995, unpublished). The thesis examined the impact of the Roman occupation on the region, local responses to it and the character or Roman-period settlement, agriculture and industry.

‘The Catterick Project’ – over the period 1981-1999 a series of rescue-driven excavations in combination with extensive geophysical surveys, fieldwalking and latterly metal detecting investigated the Roman small town, and its environs, along with aspects of the early medieval landscape.

Cawthorn Camps 1999-2000, a project conceived in partnership with the North York Moors National Park, tested developing new understanding of the internationally important earthwork complex as well as contributing to the further development of the management regime for the site.

Groundwell Ridge Roman villa, a major Community Archaeology project undertaken on the site which was saved from development following a locally-based public campaign in Swindon.


Selected publications


‘Aspects of the Yorkshire Signal Stations’. In V A Maxfield and M J Dobson (eds) Roman Frontier Studies 1989. Proceedings of the XVth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies. Exeter: University of Exeter Press (1991), 142-147.

‘The Roman Period on the North York Moors: Developments and Prospects’. In B E Vyner (ed) Moorland Monuments: Studies in the Archaeology of North East Yorkshire in Honour of Raymond Hayes and Don Spratt. York: Council for British Archaeology Research Report 101 (1995), 69-78.

‘Behind the Frontier: Roman and Natives in Northern England’. In Roman Frontier Studies 1995 (ed) W Groenman-van Waateringe, B L van Beek, W J H Willems and S L Wynia. Oxford: Oxbow monograph 91 (1997), 587-93.

with P Cardwell, R J Cramp, J Evans, A Thompson, R Taylor-Wilson and J S Wacher ‘Early Anglo-Saxon Catterick and Catraeth’. Medieval Archaeology 40 (1996), 1-61.

‘The defences of the forts and civil settlements at Catterick, Yorkshire, England (Roman Cataractonium)’. In N Gudea (ed) Roman Frontier Studies 1997. Zal─âu (1999), 277-81.

‘Catterick: The End of A Roman Town?’.  In T Wilmott and P R Wilson (eds) The Late Roman Transition in the North: Papers from the Roman Archaeology Conference, Durham 1999. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, British Series 299 (2000), 25-31.

Cataractonium: Roman Catterick  and its hinterland. Excavations and research 1958-1997. Council for British Archaeology Research Reports 128/129 (2002).

‘Cawthorn Camps: 70 Years after Richmond’. In P Freeman, J Bennett, Z T Fiema and B Hoffman (eds) Limes XVIII. Proceedings of the XVIIIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies held in Amman, Jordan (September 2000). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports International Series 1084(ii) (2002), 859-866.

‘Craft and ‘Industry’ on the North York Moors in the Roman Period’. In P Wilson and J Price (eds) Aspects of Industry in Roman Yorkshire and the North. Oxford: Oxbow (2002), 13-20.

The RomanTowns of Yorkshire: 30 years on.’ In P Wilson (ed) The Archaeology of Roman Towns: Studies in honour of John S Wacher. Oxford: Oxbow (2003), 258-269.

‘Military Religion at Roman Catterick’. In H Visy (ed) Proceedings of the XIXth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies. Pécs: University of Pécs (2005), 441-446.

‘The Roman expansion in Yorkshire reconsidered’ in Limes XX Estudios Sobre la Frontera Romana Vol 1 (2009) eds A Morillo, N Hanel & E Martín (2009), 103-11 (Madrid).

Lullingstone Roman Villa, English Heritage Guidebook (2009).

'Holding the Line? The Humber Frontier and the expansion into Yorkshire reconsidered', in D Breeze and L M Thomas (eds) First Contact: Rome and Northern Britain, Perth: Tayside & Fife Archaeological Committee mono 7 (2009), 8-14

'To Build or not to Build? Presenting Roman Sites in Britain', in M Müller, T Otten and U Wulf-Rheidt (eds.), Schutzbauten und Rekonstruktionen in der Archäologie. Von der Ausgrabung zur Präsentation. Mainz: Xantener Berichte 19 (2011), 263-74 

'Emeritus Professor Philip Rahtz: An appreciation', Ryedale Historian 26 (2012-2013), 56-62

(with M Harrison) 'Three years on from 'The Nighthawking Survey': innovations in heritage protection', in S Campbell and S Thomas (eds) 'Portable Antiquities: archaeology, collecting, metal detecting', Internet Archaeology 33 (2013) (

[Contributor to] M Walsh 'Roman, c AD 43 to 400', in J Ransley and F Sturt (eds) People and the Sea: A Maritime Archaeological Research Agenda for England, York: CBA Res Rep 171, 93-112

‘Romano-British Archaeology in the Early Twenty-First Century' published in the online version of The Oxford Handbook of Roman Britain (eds) M Millett, L Revell and A Moore. DOI 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199697713.013.002 (hard copy publication forthcoming)

‘Change behind the Frontier: Roman military deployment north of the River Humber, England, in the third and fourth centuries AD’ in L Vagalinski and N Sharankov (eds) Limes XXII. Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies Ruse, Bulgaria, September 2012 (2015) Sofia, 19-25

‘Living in the shadow of the Roman army: aspects of civilian settlement in northern England’ in D J Breeze, R H Jones and I A Oltean (eds) Understanding Roman Frontiers. Papers offered to Professor Bill Hanson on the occasion of his retirement, (2015) Edinburgh: John Donald, 273-85

‘Metal detectors: friends or foes’, in P Everill and P Irving (eds) Rescue Archaeology Foundations for the Future (2015) Hertford: Rescue, 159-72

English Heritage Head of Research Policy (Roman Archaeology)

Contact details

Dr Pete Wilson
Research Associate
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor

Tel: 01944 738282