School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Maria Duggan

Maria Duggan

Links to Late Antiquity: Understanding Contacts on the Western Seaboard in the 5th to 7th Centuries.

Personal profile

My PhD project concerns imported Mediterranean pottery at Late Antique sites in Britain, Ireland and on the Atlantic seaboard of continental Europe.

PhD project

Since the 1950s publication of the excavations at Tintagel, the presence of Mediterranean imported pottery at Late Antique sites in western Britain has been recognised. Recent projects have increased the quantity of imported pottery identified from sites in Britain and Ireland. 

This study will offer a new synthesis of these imports but will also consider this material fully in its wider Continental and Mediterranean context. In particular, the traditional assumptions of direct trade with the east Mediterranean will be questioned. New discoveries at recently published sites on the western seaboard suggest a more complex picture of this transport.

The thesis will consider whether the imported pottery reflects previously unidentified networks of trade or exchange between western Britain and communities in France, Spain and Portugal in Late Antiquity. This analysis will be used to consider the economic, political and cultural connections between the Atlantic seaboard and the east Mediterranean in this period of social transformation. 

Comparisons of the character and composition of the British, Irish and Continental ceramic assemblages will be central to understanding the mechanisms of this transport.

These conclusions will be further illustrated and interpreted by GIS mapping and network analysis techniques. The project will also integrate new research carried out in the Mediterranean to provide new understandings of the nature and origins of the material transported.

Research interests

  • Roman and Byzantine ceramics
  • Roman red-slipped tableware
  • Roman and Byzantine food and dining practices
  • Trade and economy in Late Antiquity
  • Early Medieval south-west Britain

Academic qualifications:

  • BA Ancient History and Archaeology, The University of Liverpool 1999
  • MA Archaeology, The University of Liverpool 2001
  • MLitt Archaeology (Late Roman and Byzantine Ceramics), Newcastle University 2011


AHRC PhD Funding October 2011 – September 2014
Devon County Council Historic Environment Service research grant


John Dore Scholar 2009-10 - awarded by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies (CIAS) and the Libyan Society

Research projects:

I have been involved with a number of research projects at Newcastle University.

Mothecombe Project

With Dr Sam Turner and Andy Agate of Newcastle University and Steve Roskams of York University.

2011 - Senior supervisor for final year of excavations. This site in south Devon has revealed 5th/6th century occupation and imported Mediterranean pottery.

Pisidia Survey Project - Directed by Dr Lutgarde Vandeput (BIAA) and Dr Veli Köse (Hacettepe University)

With Dr Mark Jackson of Newcastle University.

2010 - survey and ceramic recording of Late Roman Red Slip Ware kiln sites in Pisidia, Turkey.

2011 - Ceramic processing supervisor for survey around ancient city of Pednelissos in southern Turkey.

Chassenon Project

With Dr Sam Turner and Dr Jane Webster of Newcastle University

2011, 2012 – Ceramic processing supervisor for a project investigating post-Roman and medieval settlement activity in the region of the Gallo-Roman sanctuary


I have taught/will be teaching as part of the following undergraduate modules:

  • ARA2091 Archaeologies of the Roman Empire
  • ARA2100 Fieldwork Methods and Artefact Analysis
  • HIS1025 World Empires

As a commercial archaeologist I supervised students from the University of Liverpool and Manchester University on various excavations. I have been involved with Newcastle University research projects in Britain, France and Turkey where I have trained students in archaeological excavation, site recording and techniques of ceramic processing and quantification.


  • 21st Theoretical Archaeology Conference Organising Committee.
  • TRAC 2011 Proceedings Editorial Team.
  • School of Historical Studies Postgraduate Forum Secretary 2010-11


Joint editor: Proceedings of 21st Theoretical Archaeology Conference
Joint author: Preface to Proceedings of 21st Theoretical Archaeology Conference

Commercial experience:

  • 2002-2006 - Archaeological Supervisor and Finds Assistant, University of Manchester Archaeological Unit
  • Summer 2006 - Excavator, Çatalhöyük Research Project
  • 2001 - Site Assistant, Liverpool Museum Field Archaeology Unit