UoA 17B Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology

Archaeology is an interdisciplinary and international-facing research community with particular strengths in the UK, mainland Europe, North and South America, North Africa, plus Central and South Asia.

The REF period has seen core academic staff increased, post graduate research (PGR) numbers and submission rates boosted and research income grown with sources of grants diversified.

A key feature of our work is its collaborative character and interdisciplinary scope. This has been enhanced through active engagement in the University’s Humanities and Social Sciences Strategy and The Exeter Science Exchange: Bridging the Gaps.

Research in the Geography and Environmental Studies aspect of this UoA can be found in UoA 17A Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology.

Key results

  • 78 per cent of our research was assessed as either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • Nationally we were ranked 17 for 4* plus 3*, out of 74 submissions (including geography, environmental studies and archaeology)
  • 60 per cent of our research impact was assessed as world-leading (4*) and 100 per cent as world-leading or internationally excellent (4* plus 3*).

Impact case studies

NameSummary
Transforming museums through experimental maritime archaeology Research into maritime and experimental archaeology has played a major role in transforming how museums connect modern communities with their seafaring heritage through experimental archaeology and the innovative approach of ‘construction-as-performance’ (full-scale construction of a boat undertaken in front of the public using experimental archaeology). A project held at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (NMMC), supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Knowledge Transfer Fellowship (KTF), has demonstrated the value of experimental maritime archaeology in engaging the public with the past. In addition to greatly increasing their visitor numbers, this project received considerable regional, national and international media coverage, and has given the NMMC the confidence to develop their own research capacity. The ‘construction-as-performance’ concept has been adopted elsewhere. Exeter’s workstream in the EU-funded OpenArch project introduced staff from open air museums in mainland Europe to the Exeter/NMMC approach, and as a result Exeter staff were invited to take part in a boat reconstruction in Finland. The British Museum, NMMC, and an open air museum in Italy have commissioned further reconstructions using ‘construction-as-performance’.
The sustainable management of wetlands environments Research by the Wetland Archaeology group has transformed our understanding of the significance of wetlands as exceptionally well-preserved but highly vulnerable records of past human achievement. By informing public policy and advising planning and conservation bodies it has played a major role in shaping management practices in the UK and internationally. This includes Professor Van de Noort’s co-authorship of the English Heritage Strategy for Wetlands, which informed the multi-agency Vision for Wetlands that has distributed £8million of English Nature funding for wetland conservation (2008-11), and £462,000 of English Heritage (EH) grants (2011-15). The Vision for Wetlands emphasises the need for multi-agency working and as an example of this Professor Rippon’s AHRC KTF and contract research have involved collaborating with Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, RSPB, and Wessex Archaeology in developing a major circa 1,500ha nature reserve, informing policies to increase public access to the countryside, and planning for the future of the 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike venue.

Research groups

GroupAbout the Group
Bioarchaeology Our bioarchaeological research combines the study of archaeology with branches of the natural and physical sciences to address questions of health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and natural and human-induced environmental impacts in the past.
Landscape Archaeology Our landscape and environmental research is characterised by its interdisciplinarity, methodological innovation, commitment to fieldwork and relevance to modern day society.
Material Culture and Social Agency

This grouping blends theoretical and methodological concerns with interdisciplinary perspectives, aimed at understanding the relationship between people and things both in the past and in the contemporary world.

Our research engages with materials and places through a variety of methods and approaches - including fieldwork, experimentation, traditional archaeological analysis and new technologies.

UoA 17B Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology

Archaeology is an interdisciplinary and international-facing research community with particular strengths in the UK, mainland Europe, North and South America, North Africa, plus Central and South Asia.

The REF period has seen core academic staff increased, post graduate research (PGR) numbers and submission rates boosted and research income grown with sources of grants diversified.

A key feature of our work is its collaborative character and interdisciplinary scope. This has been enhanced through active engagement in the University’s Humanities and Social Sciences Strategy and The Exeter Science Exchange: Bridging the Gaps.

Research in the Geography and Environmental Studies aspect of this UoA can be found in UoA 17A Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology.

Key results

  • 78 per cent of our research was assessed as either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • Nationally we were ranked 17 for 4* plus 3*, out of 74 submissions (including geography, environmental studies and archaeology)
  • 60 per cent of our research impact was assessed as world-leading (4*) and 100 per cent as world-leading or internationally excellent (4* plus 3*).

Impact case studies

NameSummary
Transforming museums through experimental maritime archaeology Research into maritime and experimental archaeology has played a major role in transforming how museums connect modern communities with their seafaring heritage through experimental archaeology and the innovative approach of ‘construction-as-performance’ (full-scale construction of a boat undertaken in front of the public using experimental archaeology). A project held at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (NMMC), supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Knowledge Transfer Fellowship (KTF), has demonstrated the value of experimental maritime archaeology in engaging the public with the past. In addition to greatly increasing their visitor numbers, this project received considerable regional, national and international media coverage, and has given the NMMC the confidence to develop their own research capacity. The ‘construction-as-performance’ concept has been adopted elsewhere. Exeter’s workstream in the EU-funded OpenArch project introduced staff from open air museums in mainland Europe to the Exeter/NMMC approach, and as a result Exeter staff were invited to take part in a boat reconstruction in Finland. The British Museum, NMMC, and an open air museum in Italy have commissioned further reconstructions using ‘construction-as-performance’.
The sustainable management of wetlands environments Research by the Wetland Archaeology group has transformed our understanding of the significance of wetlands as exceptionally well-preserved but highly vulnerable records of past human achievement. By informing public policy and advising planning and conservation bodies it has played a major role in shaping management practices in the UK and internationally. This includes Professor Van de Noort’s co-authorship of the English Heritage Strategy for Wetlands, which informed the multi-agency Vision for Wetlands that has distributed £8million of English Nature funding for wetland conservation (2008-11), and £462,000 of English Heritage (EH) grants (2011-15). The Vision for Wetlands emphasises the need for multi-agency working and as an example of this Professor Rippon’s AHRC KTF and contract research have involved collaborating with Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, RSPB, and Wessex Archaeology in developing a major circa 1,500ha nature reserve, informing policies to increase public access to the countryside, and planning for the future of the 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike venue.

Research groups

GroupAbout the Group
Bioarchaeology Our bioarchaeological research combines the study of archaeology with branches of the natural and physical sciences to address questions of health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and natural and human-induced environmental impacts in the past.
Landscape Archaeology Our landscape and environmental research is characterised by its interdisciplinarity, methodological innovation, commitment to fieldwork and relevance to modern day society.
Material Culture and Social Agency

This grouping blends theoretical and methodological concerns with interdisciplinary perspectives, aimed at understanding the relationship between people and things both in the past and in the contemporary world.

Our research engages with materials and places through a variety of methods and approaches - including fieldwork, experimentation, traditional archaeological analysis and new technologies.