Research - History and Archaeology Department
The Department is committed to high-quality research in the fields of history, archaeology and heritage. The Department’s researchers explore diverse themes and evidence. Our archaeologists investigate British and European prehistory and history while the historians’ research interests range across the medieval, early modern and modern periods, and over local, British, European and American history.
The research interests of the historians range over local, British, European, American and international history, while research conducted by the archaeologists focuses on British and European prehistory and history.
In the last national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the majority of the Department’s research was considered to be of international quality, with some publications viewed as ‘world-leading’. Over the last few years, members of the Department have worked hard to build on this success. This is reflected in the Department’s impressive record of funding awards, publications and outreach work which has gained recognition at both a national and international level.
Several of the Department’s current research projects have received external funding and financial support. Supported by grants from the Leverhulme Trust and the European Research Council, Professor Howard Williams is exploring The Past in its Place: Histories of Memory in English and Welsh Locales. Dr Meggen Gondek and Dr Michael Huggins have also received sizeable grants from the British Academy and the American Antiquarian Society to enable them to research in Germany and the USA respectively.
All members of the Department are actively involved in publishing the results of their on-going research projects. Notable publications of late include Professor Peter Gaunt’s joint editorship (with Barry Coward) of English Historical Documents, 1603-1660 which the Times Literary Supplement described as ‘perhaps the most important historical undertaking of our age’; Dr Keith McLay’s contribution to the groundbreaking volume A Military History of Scotland; Dr Tim Grady’s book on German Jews in the Great War which was awarded proxime accesit status in the Royal Historical Society’s Gladstone Prize competition; and Amy Gray Jones’s collaborative study of medieval burials from the site of St Mary Spital, London.
Many of the Department’s publication have also helped to shape international research agendas. Chief amongst are Dr Katherine Wilson’s work on Burgundian tapestries in the French journal Revue du Nord and Dr Donna Jackson’s ground-breaking study of Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy in Africa.
The involvement of the Department’s historians and archaeologists in public events continues to go from strength to strength as well. In addition to his numerous television appearances, Professor Peter Gaunt regularly speaks about his work on the English Civil War in his role as President of the Cromwell Association. Dr James Pardoe’s own research led to a well-received exhibition on royal portraiture at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum, while our archaeologists not only present public lectures but integrate public outreach within their archaeological fieldwork.
Collectively, the Department’s research activity has helped to create a thriving intellectual community dedicated to exploring the latest historical and archaeological developments. Our lively seminar series and regular conference programme help to add to this atmosphere. Members of the Department organise and contribute sessions to international conferences such as the British Association of Jewish Studies annual conference, which Dr Hannah Ewence organised, and the European Association of Archaeologists annual meeting, where Prof Howard Williams is a frequent speaker.
We encourage all postgraduate students to contribute to the Department’s research activities. Indeed, the Department runs an annual postgraduate conference where students can discuss their ideas and finding to a wide audience. The Department currently has three postgraduate taught programmes: MA in Military History, MA Archaeology of Death and Memory, MA Archaeology and Heritage Practice. Added to this, we also run two very successful Masters by Research (MRes) programmes: MRes in History and the MRes in Archaeology.