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Landscape and environmental archaeology

Landscape research at Exeter is characterised by its interdisciplinarity, methodological innovation, commitment to fieldwork, and relevance to modern day society.

Our current research covers a range of themes:

  • The origins and development of historic landscapes
  • Exploring ancient landscapes through remote sensing techniques
  • The changing patterns in the exploitation of resources
  • Human-environment relations
  • Prehistoric and early historic seafaring
  • The Wetlands of Britain
  • How social relationships and cultural values shape past perceptions and current understanding of landscapess

Many of our research projects involve active collaboration with scholars from other disciplines including geography, history, palaeoenvironmental studies, hydrogeology, and classics and ancient history. 


Research postgraduates

Current research postgraduates:

Recent research postgraduates:

  • Andy Marggetts: Specialist Grazing Settlements
  • Carole Jane-Marie Lomas: Early medieval churches in Somerset
  • David Gould: Rabbit Warrens of South West England: landscape context, socio-economic significance and symbolism
  • David Stone: Mutually Assured Construction? A study of West Saxon and Mercian political, economic and military co-operation in the ninth and tenth centuries
  • Gill Cobley: Devon Antiquarians and their contribution to both local and national archaeology
  • Jess Collins: Representation of climate change in archaeology museums
  • Jo Pye: Place Names in the Cornish Landscape
  • Leonard Sidebottom: Heritage Conservation of European city walls
  • Maddy Knibb: Field-names in Somerset
  • Phil Treveil: Local and regional variation in landscape character: the significance of the Tamar Valley
  • Richard Nevell: The Slighting of Medieval Castles
  • Robert Clarke: Cold War Archaeology in the South West
  • Jonas De Souza: Pathways to Power in the Southern Brazilian Highlands: Architectonic Diversity, Function, and Change in Taquara/Itararé Ceremonial Centres
  • David Marshall: Lines on a landscape – the divisions of space on the human landscape of the Isle of Wight
  • Eddie Procter: Topographical legacies of monasticism: evolving perceptions and realities of monastic estate landscapes in the south eastern Welsh Marches
  • Sarah Stainer: From Tinners to Antiquarians: An archaeological analysis of the evidence for medieval and later attitudes toward prehistoric features on southern Dartmoor
  • Robert Waterhouse: The Landscape Archaeology of Islands in physically and culturally remote zones
  • Kate Mees: The early medieval funerary reuse of prehistoric and Romano-British landscapes in Wessex
  • Jacqueline Veninger: Conflict landscapes on the Anglo-Welsh Marches
  • Ciprian Ardelean: Spatial. Chronological and Cultural Frames Concerning the Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers during the Early Lithic Stage in Central-Northern Mexico 
  • Sue Fitton: the significance of 'Wick' place names
  • Fiona Fleming: The evolution of late Roman and early medieval settlement patterns
  • William Fletcher: The economic basis of the management of wetland archaeology
  • Simon Foote: The 9th and 10th century burhs of Wessex and Mercia
  • Michael Fradley: The old in the new: Urban castle imposition in Anglo-Norman England, AD1050-1150
  • Martin Goffriller: Castles of the Balearic Islands during the age of the 'Reconquista'
  • Abi Gray: Burial in the landscape 
  • Genevieve Hill: The perception and use of Northwest Coast wetlands by First Nations people
  • Rebecca Loader: a quantitative analysis of coastal heritage loss on the Isle of Wight
  • Duncan Wright: Settlements of the Middle Anglo Saxon period
  • Richard Sandover: Mapping Devonshire at Domesday
  • Pauline Pym: Monastic landscapes in Devon
  • Sam Walls: The archaeology of memory in historic communities of Devon
  • Nigel Crowe: The historic landscape of the Isle of Man
  • Jason Rogers: How boats change: Explaining morphological variation in European watercraft, based on an investigation of logboats from Bohemia and Moravia, Czech Republic
  • Ahmad Abdulkariem: Developing a conservation plan for Cyrene, Lybia
  • Lesley Harding: Early medieval mills in the west Midlands landscape
  • Owain Connors: The landscapes of lordship in Wales
  • Richard Parker: Post-medieval church interiors in Devon
  • Scott Chausee: Early Medieval Landscapes in Surrey

Current research projects

Members of the Department of Archaeology are involved in a range of research projects. 

Project titleStaff member

Warhorse: The Archaeology of a Military Revolution?

Professor Oliver CreightonProfessor Alan Outram

The End of the Journey: The Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene Colonisation of South America

Professor José Iriarte

Glass Networks: Tracing Early Medieval Long-Distance Trade, c. AD 800-1000

Dr Hajnalka Herold
Exeter: A Place in Time Professor Stephen Rippon
Ipplepen Project Professor Stephen Rippon
Understanding Landscapes Project Professor Stephen Rippon
Calstock Roman Fort Dr Chris SmartProfessor Stephen Rippon
Exmoor iron Dr Gill Juleff

Past Projects 

Project titleStaff member
Medieval silver mining in Bere Ferrers, Devon Professor Stephen RipponDr Peter ClaughtonDr Chris Smart
Planning in the early medieval landscape Professor Stephen RipponDr Chris Smart
Improving public access to the countryside: Stonebridge, near Southend-on-Sea, Essex Professor Stephen Rippon
The fields of Britannia: landscape transition in the Roman to medieval periods Professor Stephen RipponDr Chris Smart
Between the Carolingian west and the Byzantine east: Fortified élite settlements of the 9th and 10th centuries AD in central Europe  Dr Hajnalka Herold
Contextualizing change on the Lower Danube: Roman impact on Daco-Getic landscapes Dr Ioana Oltean
Anarchy? War and Status in Twelfth-Century Landscapes of Conflict Professor Oliver Creighton 
Poltimore Community Landscape Project Professor Oliver CreightonProfessor Henry FrenchDr Penny Cunningham
Excavation and survey at the large Bronze Age fortified site of Corneşti, Romanian Banat  Professor Anthony Harding 
Excavations at the Ballyarnet Bronze Age site, Northern Ireland Professor Bruce Bradley
Crandon Bridge Romano-British port Professor Stephen Rippon
Greater Exmoor project Professor Stephen Rippon
Meare: medieval exploitation of wetland resources in the Somerset Levels Professor Stephen Rippon
North Somerset Levels project Professor Stephen Rippon
Our Wetland Heritage Professor Stephen Rippon
Whittlewood landscape project Professor Stephen Rippon
Heritage management of England's wetlands Professor Robert Van de Noort
The Humber Wetlands project Professor Robert Van de Noort
Sutton Common Professor Robert Van de Noort
Monuments at risk in England's Wetlands (MAREW) Professor Robert Van de Noort
Unlocking Cornwall's Bronze Age Past Professor Robert Van de Noort
Climate change archaeology: building resillience from research in the world's coastal wetlands Professor Robert Van de Noort
Wetland management and conservation Professor Robert Van de NoortProfessor Bryony Coles
Wadi Faynan Landscape project, Jordan Professor Oliver Creighton
Medieval urban defences Professor Oliver Creighton; Dr Robert Higham
Castles and landscapes: expressions of power in medieval England Professor Oliver Creighton

Key recent publications

  • Creighton, O. H., N. J. Christie 2013: Transforming Townscapes. From Burh to Borough: The Archaeology of Wallingford, AD 800-1400, Leeds: Maney Publishing.
  • Creighton, O. H. 2012: Early European Castles: Aristocracy and Authority, AD800-1200, Duckworth/Bloomsbury.
  • Creighton, O. H. 2009: Designs Upon the land: Elite Landscapes of the Middle Age. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer.
  • Creighton, O. H., P. Cunningham, H. French 2013: 'Peopling polite landscapes: community and heritage at Poltimore', Devon, Landscapes, vol. 34, no. 2, 61-85
  • Harding, A. F. 2013: Salt in Prehistoric Europe, Leiden: Sidestone Press.
  • Harding, A. F. 2013: 'World systems, Cores and Peripheries in Prehistoric Europe', European Journal of Archaeology, vol. 16, 378-400
  • Harding, A. F., V. Kavruk 2013: Explorations in Salt Archaeology in the Carpathian Zone, Budapest: Archaeolingua.
  • Harding, A. F., W. Raczkowski 2010: 'Living on the lake in the Iron Age: new results from aerial photography, geophysical survey and dendrochronology on sites of Biskupin type', Antiquity, vol. 84, no. 324, 386-404
  • Herold, H. 2012: 'Fortified Settlements of the 9th and 10th Centuries AD in Central Europe: Structure, Function and Symbolism', Medieval Archaeology, Leeds, vol. 56, 2012, 60-84
  • Herold, H. 2010: Zillingtal, Burgenland – Die awarenzeitliche Siedlung und die Keramikfunde des Gräberfeldes(Zillingtal, Burgenland: The Avar Period Settlement and the Ceramic Finds of the Cemetery – in German), Mainz, Roman-Germanic Central Museum (RGZM) Press.
  • Iriarte, J., S. Moehlecke Cope, M. Fradley, J. J. Lockhart, J. C. Gillam 2013: 'Sacred landscapes of the southern Brazillian highlands: understanding southern proto-Je mound and enclosure complexes', Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, vol. 32, 74-96
  • Iriarte, J., M. J. Power, S. Rostain, F. E. Mayle, H. Jones, J. Watling, B. Whitney, D. McKey 2012: 'Fire-free land use in pre-1492 Amazonian savannas', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, vol. 109, 6473-6478
  • McKey, D., S. Rostain, J. Iriarte, B. Glaser, J. J. Birk, I. Holst, D. Renard 2010: 'Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organized patchiness in Amazonia', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, vol. 107, no. 17, 7823-7828
  • Iriarte, J., Gillam, C., and Marozzi, O. 2008: ‘Monumental burial and memorial feasting: An example from the southern Brazilian highlands’, Antiquity, 82: 947-961
  • Lazzari, M., M. A. Korstanje 2013: 'The past as a lived space: heritage places, re-emergent aesthetics, and hopeful practices in NW Argentina', Journal of Social Archaeology, vol. 3, no. 13, Sage, 394-419
  • Lazzari, M. 2011: 'Tangible interventions: The lived landscapes of contemporary archaeology', Journal of Material Culture, vol. 16, no. 2, 171-191
  • Lazzari, M., Pereyra D., L, Scattolin, M.C., Cecil, L., Glascock, M. and Speakman, J. 2009: ‘Ancient social landscapes of northwestern Argentina: Preliminary results of an integrated approach to obsidian and ceramic provenance’. Journal of Archaeological Science 36:1955-1964.
  • Lazzari, M. 2008: ‘Topographies of value: ethical issues in landscape archaeology’, in Handbook of Landscape Archaeology, Left Coast Press, 644-653.
  • Oltean, I. A. 2013: 'Funerary barrows and ancient settlement patterns: a quantitative approach to their recovery and analysis', Antiquity, vol. 335, no. 87, 202-219
  • Hanson, W. S., I. A. Oltean 2012: 'The ‘Valu lui Traian’: A Roman frontier rehabilitated', Journal of Roman Archaeology, vol. 25, 297-318
  • Hanson, W. S., I. A. Oltean (eds.) 2013: Archaeology from Historical Aerial and Satellite Archives, New York: Springer.
  • Karr L. P., A. K. Outram, L. A. Hannus 2011: 'Open-area excavations at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, South Dakota (A.D. 1000-1150): new interpretations of site function from interdwelling areas', Journal of Field Archaeology, vol. 26, no. 4, 281-288
  • Rippon, S. 2012: Making Sense of an Historic Landscape, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rippon, S., M. Fulford 2011: Pevensey Castle, Sussex: Excavations in the Roman Fort and Medieval Keep, 1993-5, Salisbury, Wessex Archaeology.
  • Rippon, S., Claughton, P. and Smart C. 2009: Mining in a Medieval Landscape: the royal silver mines of the Tamar Valley, Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
  • Rippon, S. 2008: Beyond the Medieval Village: The Diversification of Landscape Character in Southern Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Van de Noort, R. 2013: Climate change archaeology: building resilience from research in the world's coastal wetlands, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Van de Noort, R., B Durham, V. V. Martens, M. Vorenhout 2012: 'Organic loss in drained wetland monuments: managing the carbon footprint', Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, no. 1-4, W.S Maney and Sons, 85-98
  • Van de Noort, R. 2011: North Sea Archaeologies; a maritime biography (circa 10,000 BC-AD 1500), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Van de Noort, R., D. Whitehouse 2009: 'Excavations at Le Mura di Santo Stefano, Anguillara Sabazia', Papers of the British School at Rome, vol. 77, British School at Rome, 159-223

Other important publications

  • Creighton, O. 2005: Castles and Landscapes: Power, Community and Fortification in Medieval England, London: Equinox.
  • Harding, A. 2007: ’Salt in Late Bronze Age Europe’, in L’Exploitation du sel à travers le temps, Piatra-Neamţ: Editura Constantin Matasă, (published 2008): Bibliotheca Memoriae Antiquitatis XVIII, 191-198
  • Oltean, I.A. 2007: Dacia: Landscape, Colonisation and Romanisation, Routledge, London and New York
  • Oltean, I.A. and W. S. Hanson 2007: ‘Villa settlement in Roman Transylvania’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 20, 113-137
  • Oltean, I.A. and W.S. Hanson 2007: ‘Reconstructing the archaeological landscape of Southern Dobrogea: integrating imagery’, in M. Ehlers and U. Michel (eds) Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring, GIS Applications, and Geology VII (Proceedings of SPIE 6749), 674906
  • Rippon, S. 2006: Landscape, Community and Colonisation: the North Somerset Levels during the 1st to 2nd millennia AD. York: Council for British Archaeology Research Report 152.
  • Rippon, S. 2004: Historic Landscape Analysis, York: Council for British Archaeology.
  • Van de Noort, R. 2007: Sutton Common: The Excavation of an Iron Age Marsh Fort, York: Council for British Archaeology
  • Van de Noort, R. 2006: 'Argonauts of the North Sea; a social maritime archaeology for the second millennium BC', inProceedings of the Prehistoric Society 73: 267-87
  • Van de Noort, R. 2004: The Humber Wetlands; the archaeology of a dynamic landscape, Bollington: Windgather. 
  • Van de Noort, R. 2003: Ancient Seascapes: the social context of seafaring in the Bronze Age, World Archaeology 35 (3): 404-415
  • Van de Noort, R,  O’Sullivan, A. 2006: Rethinking Wetland Archaeology, London: Duckworth.