|Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology||327||+44 (0) 191 33 41166|
|Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies||+44 (0) 191 33 41166|
I am Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology.
My main research focus is on the social archaeology of the 1st millennium AD, with a particular interest in the development of Christianity. As part of this I am carrying out fieldwork on the Holy Island on the site of the early medieval monastery of Lindisfarne with my collaborators DigVentures, funded through crowdfunding and a series of other grants including one from National Geographic.
Whilst most of my current work is focused on the north of England, I have significant research interests in Wales and Scotland, as well as the wider North Sea world. I and have written books on the early medieval church in Wales and a more theoretical consideration of the process of conversion in the early medieval world in Britain and elsewhere. Outside Britain and Ireland I have had a particular long-standing interest in the early church in Brittany and Western Normandy, and I am currently researching the early medieval sculpture in Southern Brittany (Morbihan).
Other key interests include the archaeology of the post-medieval and contemporary past, particularly in Britain. I have recently completed an innovative new investigation of the impact of the Great Depression of the 1930s on the landscape of Northern England funded by the Leverhulme Trust. My interest in the more recent past also extends to using material-studies approaches to better understand vernacular belief and traditions, particularly traditional dance.
In addition to my work on Holy Island I have run a number of field projects. I ran the Department’s major field school at the Roman fort of Binchester (Co. Durham). This was a joint initiative being run by Durham University, Durham County Council and a number of US Universities and aims to explore the Roman and early medieval activity at this important cavalry fort and its associated civilian settlement, which formed part of the frontier defences of Roman Britain.
In 2011 I was been chosen as one of the winners of BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) inaugural New Generation Thinkers Scheme. I am a member of the Institute for Archaeology’s Research and Impact Special Interest Group.
Impact and Engagement
A key element of my work involves extensive work with local community groups to help them understand their heritage. This has involved the major involvement of local groups and individuals in our excavations at Binchester, which has been supported by funding from the AHRC, English Heritage and Durham County Council. This involvement continues all year round with volunteers working with us extensively in our post-excavation programme, and even attending master classes in environmental archaeology.
In 2012 I led a team that won £14k from the AHRC for a project which provides training in heritage skills to the general public. This has also allowed us to offer bespoke support and advice to a range of local history and archaeology groups, including supporting them in grant applications and providing training in a range of archaeological skills.
I also have a close interest in heritage management, growing out of my experience working in local government and my current role in developing a research framework for the Durham World Heritage Site. This has seen my involvement with a number of heritage projects developed with local government and English Heritage in the region, including the North-East and Hadrian’s Wall Research Frameworks and the Durham Archaeology Assessment. I am currently leading a new project to revise and develop the NE Regional Research Framework.
My interest in developing impact and engagement has been recognised through by award of a Beacon North-East fellowship in Community Engagement in 2008, an invitation to sit on the Community Participation committee of the HLF-funded Lindisfarne Peregrini Project and my role as Chairman of the Chartered Institute For Archaeologists Research and Impact Special Interest Group.
I have also carried out some media work engaging with the region’s heritage, including a number of broadcasts on Radio 3’s Nightwaves programme and speaking at the Festival of Freethinking held at the Sage in Gateshead.
- Lindisfarne: Holy Island Archaeology Project
- Landscapes of the Great Depression in NE England (Leverhulme)
- Yeavering Anglo-Saxon Palace (Gefrin Trust)
- Mapping Early Christianity in Western Normandy
- Roman Binchester Research Project
- Durham Medieval Archaeologists
- early medieval Britain, particularly northern England and Scotland
- early medieval Brittany, Normandy and the wider Atlantic world
- early medieval Christianity
- early medieval to contemporary maritime cultural landscapes
- post-medieval religion, ritual and belief
- 20th century archaeology
- 2014: Chairman, Research and Impact Special Interest Group, Chartered Institute for Archaeology:
- 2006: Frend Prize for Early Christian Studies: Awarded to young scholars for distinction in Early Christian studies by the Society of Antiquaries of London
- 2006: Member, Archaeological Advisory Committee: Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust 2006-2007
- Petts, D. (2011). Pagan and Christian. Bloomsbury Academic
- Hewitt, R., Brightman, J., Mason, D., Petts, D., Radford, S., Vyner, B., & Waddington, C. (2011). An Archaeological Assessment of County Durham: The Aggregate Producing Areas. Durham County Council; Archaeological Research Services
- Petts, D. (2009). The Early Medieval Church in Wales. The History Press
- Petts, D., & Gerrard, C. (2006). Shared Visions: The North-East Regional Research Framework for the Historic Environment. Durham County Council
- Petts, D. (2003). Christianity in Roman Britain. Tempus
- Foreman, S., Hiller, J., & Petts, D. (2002). The Archaeology of a Middle Thames Landscape. Volume 3: Anglo-Saxon to post-medieval. Oxford Archaeology
Chapter in book
- Petts, D. (2023). Early medieval monasteries on the North Sea coast of Anglo-Saxon England. In J. Dale (Ed.), St Peter-On-The-Wall Landscape and heritage on the Essex coast (159-176). UCL Press
- Petts, D. (2021). Space and place in English morris dance. In L. Maloney, & J. Schofield (Eds.), Music and Heritage New Perspectives on Place-making and Sonic Identity. Routledge
- Petts, D. (2020). Patterns in Monumentality: Characterising sculptural assemblages at early medieval monastic sites in Northern Britain. In C. Thickpenny, K. Forsyth, J. Geddes, & K. Mathis (Eds.), Peopling Insular Art: Practice, Performance, Perception (127-140). Oxbow Books
- Petts, D. (2019). Britain and Ireland, 100–700 CE. In The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Archaeology. OUP. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199369041.013.31
- Petts, D. (2018). Materializing Morris Dancing. In M. Heaney (Ed.), The Histories of the Morris in Britain. Papers from a conference held at Cecil Sharp House, London, 25 - 26 March 2017, organized in partnership by Historical Dance Society with English Folk Dance and Song Society and The Morris Ring, The Morris Federation and Open Morris (331-362). English Folk Dance and Song Society & Historical Dance Society
- Petts, D. (2018). Early medieval Carham in its Landscape Context. In N. McGuigan, & A. Woolf (Eds.), The Battle of Carham: A Thousand Years On (151-173). Birlinn
- Petts, D. (2017). ‘A place more venerable than all in Britain’: The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon Lindisfarne. In R. Gameson (Ed.), The Lindisfarne gospels : new perspectives (1-18). Brill Academic Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004337848_002
- Petts, D. (2017). Places and spaces: some reflections on reconstructing the spatial organisation of Northumbrian monasteries. In G. Thomas, & A. Knox (Eds.), Early medieval monasticism in the North Sea zone : proceedings of a conference held to celebrate the conclusion of the Lyminge excavations 2008-15 (43-54). Oxford University School of Archaeology
- Semple, S., Buchanan, B., Harrington, S., Oliver, D., & Petts, D. (2017). Power at the Edge: Yeavering, Northumberland, England. In S. Semple, S. Orsini, & S. Mui (Eds.), Life on the Edge: Social, Religious and Political Frontiers in Early Medieval Europe (91-112). Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum with the Internationales Sachsensymposion
- Petts, D. (2016). Christianity in Roman Britain. In M. Millett, L. Revell, & A. Moore (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of Roman Britain (660-81). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199697731.013.036
- Petts, D. (2015). Late Roman military buildings at Binchester (Co. Durham). In R. Collins, & M. Weber (Eds.), Roman military architecture on the fronties: Armies and their architecture in Late Antiquity (32-45). Oxbow
- Petts, D. (2015). Churches and Lordship in Western Normandy, AD 800-1200. In J. C. Sánchez-Pardo, & M. G. Shapland (Eds.), Churches and social power in early medieval Europe : integrating archaeological and historical approaches (297-328). Brepols Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1484/m.sem-eb.5.108512
- Petts, D. (2014). Christianity and cross-channel connectivity in late and sub-Roman Britain. In F. Haarer, R. Collins, K. Fitzpatrick-Matthews, S. Moorhead, D. Petts, & P. Walton (Eds.), AD410: The History and Archaeology of Late and Post-Roman Britain (73-86). Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
- Petts, D. (2013). Late Roman to early medieval settlement at Ingleby Barwick: discussion. In A Roman Villa at the Edge of Empire: Excavations at Ingleb Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, 2003-04 (195-200). Council for British Archaeology
- Petts, D., & Turner, S. (2012). Introduction: Northumbrian Communities. In D. Petts, & S. Turner (Eds.), Early medieval Northumbria: Kingdoms and Communities AD450-1100 (1-14). Brepols Publishers
- Petts, D. (2012). Place-names and archaeology on a border: churches in Ergyng. In R. Jones, & S. Semple (Eds.), Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England (130-146). Shaun Tyas
- Petts, D., & Turner, S. (2009). Multiple church complexes on early medieval ecclesiastical sites in Western Britain. In N. Edwards (Ed.), The Archaeology of the Early Medieval Celtic Churches. Taylor and Francis
- Petts, D. (2009). Variation in the British burial rite: AD400-700. In D. Sayer, & H. Williams (Eds.), Mortuary practices and social identities in the Middle Ages (207-221). University of Exeter Press
- McOmish, J., & Petts, D. (2008). Fey Field, Whithorn: Excavations by David Pollock and Amanda Clarke. In The Archaeology of York Web Series. York Archaeological Trust
- Petts, D. (2006). The Roman lead tank from Perry Oaks. In F. Archaeology (Ed.), Landscape Evolution in the Middle Thames Valley: Heathrow Terminal 5 Excavations Volume 1, Perry Oaks (227-230). Framework Archaeology
- Petts, D. (2006). Landscapes of Memory in the Colonial City: Building History in Imperial India. In A. Green, & R. Leech (Eds.), Cities in the World: 1500–2000 (195-212). Taylor and Francis
- Petts, D. (2004). Early Medieval or Late Antique?: Burial in Western Britain AD410 to 600. In R. Collins, & J. Gerrard (Eds.), Debating Late Antiquity AD300–700: Proceedings of the York Conference (77-87). Archaeopress
- Petts, D. (2003). Memories in stone: changing strategies and contexts of remembrance in early medieval Wales. In H. Williams (Ed.), Archaeologies of Remembrance: death and memory in past societies (193-214). Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers
- Petts, D. (2002). Cemeteries and boundaries in western Britain. In S. Lucy, & A. Reynolds (Eds.), Burial in early medieval England and Wales (24-46). Society for Medieval Archaeology
- Petts, D. (2002). Votive Hoards in Late Roman Britain: Pagan or Christian?. In M. Carver (Ed.), The Cross Goes North: Processes of Conversion in Northern Europe, AD 300–1300 (109-118). Boydell & Brewer
- Petts, D. (1999). Christianity and the End of Roman Britain. In P. Baker, C. Forcey, S. Jundi, & R. Witcher (Eds.), TRAC 98 : Proceedings of the 8th Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, University of Leicester, April 1998 (86-95). Oxbow Books
- Petts, D. (1998). Landscape and cultural identity in Roman Britain. In J. Berry, & R. Laurence (Eds.), Cultural Identity in the Roman Empire (79-94). Routledge
- Petts, D. (1998). Burial and gender in late and sub-Roman Britain. In C. Forcey, J. Hawthorne, & R. Witcher (Eds.), TRAC 97 : Proceedings of the 7th Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, University of Nottingham, April 1997 (112-124). Oxbow Books
- Petts, D. (1997). Elite settlement in late Roman and sub-Roman Britain. In K. Meadows, C. Lemke, & J. Heron (Eds.), TRAC 96: Proceedings of the sixth annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Sheffield 1996 (101-112). Oxbow Books
- Petts, D., & Turner, S. (Eds.). (2012). Early Medieval Northumbria: Kingdoms and Communities AD450-1100. Brepols Publishers
- Petts, D., O’Donnell, R., & Armstrong, K. (2021). Material Responses to the Great Depression in Northeast England. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 25(4), 1165-1193. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10761-021-00595-7
- O'Donnell, R., & Petts, D. (2019). 'Rural' Rhetoric in 1930s Unemployment Relief Schemes. Rural History, 30(1), 53-69. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0956793319000049
- Petts, D. (2019). Ecclesiastical Tidescapes: Exploring the Early Medieval Tidal World. Norwegian Archaeological Review, 52(1), 41-64. https://doi.org/10.1080/00293652.2019.1634754
- Petts, D. (2013). Military and Civilian: Reconfiguring the end of Roman Britain in the North. European Journal of Archaeology, 16(2), 314-335. https://doi.org/10.1179/1461957112y.0000000030
- Petts, D. (2013). Expanding the archaeology of Holy Island (Lindisfarne). Medieval Archaeology, 57, 302-307
- Petts, D. (2011). Landscapes of Belief: Non-conformist mission in the North Pennines. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 15(3), 461-480. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10761-011-0150-1
- Petts, D. (2009). Coastal landscapes and early Christianity in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria. Eesti Arheoloogiaajakiri, 13(2), 79-95. https://doi.org/10.3176/arch.2009.2.01
- Petts, D. (2007). De Situ Brecheniauc and Englynion y Beddau: Writing about burial in early medieval Wales. Anglo-Saxon studies in archaeology and history, 14, 163-172
- Challinor, D., Petts, D., Poore, D., & Score, D. (2003). Excavations at Manor Farm, Drayton, Oxfordshire. Oxoniensia, 68, 279-311
- Petts, D. (2002). The Reuse of Prehistoric Standing Stones in Western Britain? A Critical Consideration of an Aspect of Early Medieval Monument Reuse. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 21(2), 195-209. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0092.00157
- Petts, D. (2002). Beacon Hill, Aspatria : an early Christian carved stone rehabilitated. Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Transactions, 2, 103-109