School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Professor Sam Turner

Professor of Archaeology / Director, McCord Centre for Landscape


Research Interests

My research and teaching interests focus on the landscapes of Britain and Europe after the Roman period, and on medieval archaeology (particularly early medieval religion)

Research Roles

I am Director of the McCord Centre for Landscape, a University Research Centre which aims to bring together landscape researchers around the University. My other roles include the following:

• Co-Editor, Landscapes
• Programming Committee, International Medieval Congress
• Committee member, Medieval Europe Research Community 
• Chair of Management Committee, Archaeology Data Service
• Visiting Professor, Department of Humanities, University of Pavia, Italy 
• FUNDAP/IEAT Chair, Institute of Advanced Transdisciplinary Studies, UFMG, Brazil (2018)

Research Projects

Current and recent projects involving colleagues at Newcastle and beyond include:

Apalirou Environs Project, Naxos
Bogsak in Isauria: new approaches to historic landscapes
CHeriScape - Cultural Heritage in Landscape
CHiLaT - Cultural Heritage in Landscape: Planning for Development in Turkey
ChroMoLEME - Character of Monastic Landscapes in Early Medieval Europe
Cultural Heritage through Time
Hadrian's Wall Community Landscape Archaeology Project (WallCAP)
HERILAND: Cultural heritage and the planning of European landscapes
LoCuLanD: Long-term cultural landscape development
RESCOPART: Research consultation and participation
RESTOMO: Reintroducing Stone and Mortar
• SLLB: Sacred Landscapes in Late Byzantium
TerraSAgE: terraces as sustainable agricultural environments
Unlocking the Ionian landscape 

Colleagues who are working on these research projects in the McCord Centre include Anastasia Akerman, Francesco Carrer, Rob Collins, Maria DugganNicky GarlandGraham Fairclough, Sophie HueglinElif KoparalStelios Lekakis, Emmet Marron, Rusudan Mirzikashvili, Mihail MitreaCaron NewmanKerry Shaw, Marianne Spence, Anna Tonk, Alex Turner, and Soetkin Vervust 

I have (co-)organised these conferences and symposia at Newcastle and elsewhere:

• Cultural heritage in landscape: planning for development in Turkey, 12-14 September 2019, Izmir (with Prof. Engin Nurlu)
Abandonment and loss: changing societies and landscapes, 2-3 May 2019, Istanbul (with Dr Elif Koparal, Dr Volkan Demirciler, Dr Günes Duru)
• Society for Landscape Studies Conference 2019, 22 September 2018, Newcastle (with Dr Caron Newman)
• Fifth international Landscape Archaeology Conference (LAC2018), 17-20 September 2018, Newcastle and Durham
• Historic Landscapes: character, assessment and visualisation, 2-3 June 2017, Izmir (with Dr Elif Koparal and Dr Z. Aktüre)
Digital Approaches to Landscape Analysis, 20-21 February 2017, Istanbul (with Dr Gunder Varinlioglu)
• The CHeriScape network organised a series of five international conferences between 2014-2016, including a final conference in Newcastle in June 2016
Characterising Historic Landscapes: interdisciplinary perspectives, 1-4 March 2016, Izmir (with Prof. Engin Nurlu)
New Approaches to Historic Landscapes, 15-16 February 2016, Istanbul (with Dr Gunder Varinlioglu)
• Ceramics and Atlantic Connections, 26-27 March 2014 (with Maria Duggan and Dr Mark Jackson, Newcastle University)
Making Christian Landscapes: Conversion and Consolidation in the Early Middle Ages, 21-23 September 2012 (with Dr Tomás Ó Carragáin, UCC)
• Heartland to Frontier: MSRG Winter Seminar, 3 December 2011
• Light: a Christmas Symposium, 11 December 2009 (with Dr Mark Jackson, Newcastle University)
• Early Medieval Northumbria: Current Work and Future Directions, 11-12 February 2006 (with Dr David Petts, University of Durham) (published by Brepols as Early Medieval Northumbria: Kingdoms and Communities, 450-1100)
• Concealed Communities: Marginal and Mobile people in Late- and Post-Medieval Landscapes, 9 December 2005 (published in 2007 as a special issue of Intl J. Historical Archaeology

Postgraduate Supervision

I am currently supervising PhD students on topics including early medieval archaeology, rural landscapes in the medieval and post-medieval periods, and landscape and heritage management. Please contact me if you are interested in studying for a research degree at Newcastle in any of these areas:
• Medieval or later landscape history and archaeology
• Early medieval and medieval archaeology
• Management of the historic landscape
• Interdisciplinary studies in archaeology and history or other related disciplines

My current research students include [with funding source indicated where applicable]:
• David Astbury, 'Long-term landscape development in northern England' [AHRC]
• Niels Dabaut 'Cultural heritage and landscape identity in the Tyne Valley' [AHRC, co-supervision with Queen's University, Belfast]  
• Gianluca Foschi 'The role of musical proportions in early Christian buildings'
• Rod Grimshaw 'Thirlmere: landscape and memory'
• Victoria Lucas, 'Glass chemistry as a window on Anglo-Saxon innovation, recycling, trade and contact, AD 700-1000' [AHRC, co-supervision with Durham University]
• Shaun Macdonald, 'Understanding regional patterns of stone-built churches in Anglo-Saxon England'
• Ben Morton, 'Understanding the dynamics of change in historic landscapes' [AHRC]
• Laura Patrick, 'Cultural landscape of late medieval Gaelic Ulster' [AHRC, co-supervision led by Queen's University, Belfast]

My previous research students include:
• Mareike Ahlers - PhD (2018) 'Assembling the dead: early Neolithic non-megalithic mortuary structures in Britain, Denmark and northern Germany' [AHRC] (now curatorial trainee at Museum Hameln, Germany)
• John Bowman - PhD (2017) 'Iron and steel in the Derwent valley'
Maria Duggan - PhD (2015) 'Links to Late Antiquity' [AHRC] (now British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Newcastle University)
• Katie Green - PhD (2012) 'Rural Byzantine landscapes and societies: new approaches to characterisation and analysis' [AHRC] (now Communications and Access Manager, Archaeology Data Service, University of York)
Dulma Karunarathna - PhD (2014) 'The female in changing social contexts in historical societies of ancient Sri Lanka' [Commonwealth Commission] (now Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)
• Janet Lambert - PhD (2010) 'Experiencing landscape' [AHRC]
• Sophie Laidler - PhD (2019) 'The impact of archaeology in the north-east of England, 2005-15' [AHRC, co-supervision led by Durham University] 
Caron Newman - PhD (2014) 'Mapping the late medieval and post medieval landscape of Cumbria' [Newcastle University]
• Andrew Newton - PhD (2009) 'The location of early medieval churches in Northumbria: conversion to a Christian landscape in northern England'
• Shiela Newton - PhD (2014) 'Landscape change: the case of two Pennine parishes'
• Vicky Manolopoulou - PhD (2015) 'Processing emotion: litanies in Byzantine Constantinople' [Church of Greece] (Lecturer in Byzantine History, King's College London, 2018-19; now Hannah Seeger Davis Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Princeton University)
• Jonathon Shipley - PhD (2010) 'Concealed communities: the history and archaeology of upper Coquetdale and the College Valley during the late medieval and post-medieval periods' [AHRC] (now Principal Archaeology and Heritage Consultant at AECOM)

Industrial Relevance

The McCord Centre undertakes consultancy and applied research projects relating to landscapes, seascapes and historic buildings. Recent examples include the Tyne and Wear HLC, the Irish Sea HSC, the North Sea (East Yorkshire to Norfolk) HSC and Forestry and Woodland Futures



Please note that I am on research sabbatical until the end of January 2020

I normally contribute to the following modules:

Undergraduate Teaching

ARA1030 Archaeology of Britain from the Romans to the 20th century
HIS1027 European history
ARA2012 Fieldwork
HIS2040 Greece from Ancient times to the 21st century
ARA3013 Early medieval northern Europe
ARA3023 Dissertation

Postgraduate Teaching

ARA8180 Early medieval Britain and Europe
ARA8234 Landscape archaeology
ARA8090 Themes, theories and methods in archaeology
ARA8113 Early medieval Britain: Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Vikings