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REFIT: Resituating Europe’s first towns

A case study in enhancing knowledge transfer and developing sustainable management of cultural landscapes  

A research project of the Department of Archaeology

Project contact: Professor Tom Moore

Funded by

The European Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPICH) via the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), French National Research Agency (ANR) and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation (MINECO).


Building on expertise and research on some of the most significant monuments in European history (Late Iron Age oppida: c.200BC-AD60), the ‘REFIT’ project focuses on understanding and engaging landscape stakeholders (e.g. wildlife organisations, farmers) in the value of this pan-European phenomenon as part of their cultural landscapes. 

The REFIT project maximises Durham’s existing expertise on oppida (Moore 2020) through cooperation between three project partners: Durham University (UK), Bibracte EPCC (France) and Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). The project is focused around four landscapes which contain Iron Age oppida: Bibracte, France; Ulaca, Spain and Bagendon & Salmonsbury, in the UK. The project takes a cultural ecosystems approach recognising that ecology, heritage, wildlife and non-material benefits cannot be divorced from each other in the management of cultural landscapes. Working directly with our associate partners:

We are exploring how to incorporate the perceptions and needs of stakeholders whilst engaging them in knowledge exchange around the value of archaeological heritage. The project explores current perceptions of the case study landscapes and examines contrasting European approaches to management and engagement. 

Emerging from our recognition of the limited connections between stakeholders in these landscapes, we have implemented a range of novel engagement strategies, including participatory augering, and created a suite of resources, including digital open-access field guidesThe project has also aided new heritage displays and presentations at Salmonsbury and Bibracte.

The aim has been to develop engagement tools which explore how archaeology can be better integrated into the management and engagement of these cultural landscapes, representing exemplars for studies elsewhere.  

Although the project’s funding finished in 2018 we are continuing to work alongside our partners to develop these approaches. In 2018, further research at three additional landscapes in the Cotswolds (funded by Durham University) explored stakeholders’ perceptions and interaction. 

Follow the REFIT Project on Twitter @_REFIT 

Sustainable management of cultural landscapes

Image above: Aerial view of the landscape around Mont Beuvray, France. Photo: Bibracte EPCC.

Published Results 

Journal Article 

  • Moore, T., Guichard, V. & Álvarez Sanchís, J. 2020. The place of archaeology in integrated cultural landscape management. A case study comparing landscapes with Iron Age oppida in England, France and Spain. Journal of European Landscapes 1: 9-28 
  • Moore, T. & Tully, G. 2018. Connecting landscapes: Examining and enhancing the relationship between stakeholder values and cultural landscape management in England. Landscape Research 43(6): 769-783. 
  • Tully, G., Piai, C., Rodríguez-Hernández, J.  & Delhommeau, E. 2019. Understanding Perceptions of Cultural Landscapes in Europe: A Comparative Analysis Using ‘Oppida’ Landscapes. The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice, 10 (2): 198-223
  • Tully, G. & Allen, M.J. 2017. Participatory Augering: A methodology for challenging perceptions of archaeology and landscape change. Public Archaeology 16(3-4): 191-213.