Professor Christopher Gerrard BA (Hons) PhD FSA

Chris studied Archaeology and Geology at Bristol University and completed his doctorate there on trade and medieval communities in south-west England. After a post-doctoral project took him to Spain on behalf of the British Museum, Chris worked first on the commercial side of archaeology at Cotswold Archaeology, then as a consultant, before joining the University of Winchester and subsequently Durham University in 2000.

He has been both a Head of Department there and a Deputy Head of Faculty but continues fieldwork projects in the UK, Spain and in the Azores. He is currently undertaking major excavations at Auckland Castle (County Durham). His interests lie in the study of landscapes and water features, the origins and evolution of medieval settlement, and natural disasters.

He has twice won the Best Archaeological Book award, for Interpreting the English Village (with Mick Aston, 2014) and for Lost Lives, New Voices (with four Durham colleagues, 2018).

Roger Miket BA (Hons) M-Litt FSA

Roger discovered archaeology while a schoolboy in the ‘60s, helping on an excavation at the Roman Fort of Arbeia, South Shields, and the twin monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow. Graduating in History at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and later post-graduate studies in archaeology, Roger began work in the Museum of Antiquities/Department of Archaeology, University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. In 1976 he was appointed Principal Keeper of Archaeology for Tyne & Wear Museums Service.

In 1986 he was invited to establish a museums service for the Isle of Skye & Lochalsh district in the Hebrides that might communicate something of the incredibly rich and diverse archaeological and historical heritage of these islands to its communities and visitors. At government reorganisation in 1995 he was appointed Manager of Culture & Leisure. In 1998 he took early retirement and in 2002 returned to Northumberland where he served for ten years as a trustee of The Glendale Gateway Development Trust. 

In parallel to this, for many years he was a tutor in Archaeology for the Adult Education Departments of the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and later the University of Aberdeen. Subsequently he served for a number of years as an Advisory Member of the Northern Board of Scottish Natural Heritage. In 1990 he was co-founder and director of a small publishing house on the Isle of Skye,Maclean Press (, dedicated to producing works on the heritage, history & archaeology of the Hebrides.

His archaeological research interests and publications range from the mesolithic to the 20th century. He remains fully active and involved in archaeology.

His research interests have led him to undertake survey and excavation of sites of all periods from the mesolithic to the later 19th century, and a number of books and publications on the history and archaeology of north Britain. Some of his Scottish titles were published by Maclean Press, a publishing company he founded and ran for over twelve years on the Isle of Skye

Dr Dave Petts MA PhD

David is Senior Lecturer in the Archaeology of Northern England at Durham University and convenes the Department’s North-East England Research Group, having spent time working in commercial and local government archaeology before taking up his post in Durham in 2007. His main research interests focus on the social archaeology of the 1st millennium AD, with a particular focus on the development of Christianity.

As part of this he is carrying out fieldwork on the Holy Island on the site of the Anglo-Saxon monastery of Lindisfarne with collaborators DigVentures, funded through crowd-funding and a series of other grants including one from National Geographic. Whilst most of his current work is focused on the north of England, he has significant research interests in Wales and Scotland, as well as the wider North Sea world.

He has 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 he has had a particular long-standing interest in the early church in Brittany and Western Normandy.

In 2011 he 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. He is on the committee of the Chartered Institute for Archaeology’s Research and Impact Special Interest Group.

Professor Sarah Semple BA (Hons) Mst Hist Res Dphil

Sarah is currently Head of Department in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University. After studying at the Institute of Archaeology in London (UCL) she spent several years working in commercial archaeology in the UK before completing DPhil in Archaelogy at The Queen’s College, Oxford and a research fellowship at St Cross College Oxford.

She took up a permanent lectureship at the University of Chester in 2004 before moving to the Department of Archaeology at Durham in 2006. As an early medieval archaeologist Sarah focuses on the landscapes and material culture of Britain and northern Europe, and her research is particularly connected to ways of understanding past human interactions with natural and human altered environments.

Her recently republished single-authored monograph Perceptions of the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon England explores the centrality of the physical remains of the past in the shaping of early medieval identity and power, while Negotiating the North: Meeting Places in the Middles Ages in the North Sea Zone, provides the major outcomes from The Assembly Project, a collaborative international project that explored the development of administrative and assembly practices in northern Europe from AD 300-1500.

Long-running research interests in death and burial, landscape and identity, also promoted a successful bid for a major Leverhulme-funded project People and Place. The Making of the Kingdom of Northumbria which is using the burial records of northern Britain to explore the health, wealth, ethnicity and lifestyle of the first Northumbrians, charting the emergence of one of the largest kingdoms in early medieval Britain in terms of migration, mobility, social stratification, and political aggregation AD 300-800. 

Peter Topping, BA (Hons), PhD, FSA, MCIfA

Peter’s background is in multi-period landscape analysis and has undertaken excavation and fieldwork in the Northumberland Cheviots since 1970.

He has worked for the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and English Heritage for over twenty-eight years, on projects as varied as Neolithic flint mines and causewayed enclosures, the Stonehenge World Heritage Site landscape, the South-East Northumberland Cheviots, medieval settlements, industrial monuments and Cold War defence sites.

He has also participated in projects led by the US National Park Service in Ohio and Minnesota, and is currently directing a long-term project on the hillfort and its environs on Wether Hill in the Breamish Valley of the Northumberland Cheviots.

He has published extensively and currently co-editing with Dr Julie Gardiner, a new Oxbow Books series entitled ‘American Landscapes’ accessible accounts of archaeological/cultural landscapes, defined by region, theme or time periods.

Kate Wilson BA (Hons) PG-dip FSA

Kate studied Architecture at the Polytechnic of Central London (now Westminster University), Archaeology at Durham University and postgraduate studies in Building Conservation at Bournemouth University with the late John Ashurst.

She recently retired after 35 years in the heritage sector working for various organisations including Historic England, where she led multidisciplinary teams that provided advice, skills and services to support local communities looking after historic places and landscapes in the north of England.

Kate continues to work in the north as a Trustee with the Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust helping to care for heritage by supporting change in favour of the adaptive reuse of local assets to maintain and protect our valuable heritage places and spaces. She is also a Professor in Practice with the Department of Archaeology at Durham University. This is a new role that will enable her to share her skills directly with staff and students and to bring her practical experience to the classroom.