Dr David Griffiths

Research Interests

Viking-Age and medieval archaeology; landscape archaeology (method, theory and practice); past environmental and coastal landscape change; heritage; public engagement and community archaeology. Geographic areas: England, Wales, Northern Isles of Scotland, Irish Sea region, North Atlantic, Scandinavia.

Just published:




David has held his current post and been a Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford, since 1999. From Wirral, in north-west England, he studied History and Archaeology at Durham University, and was a visiting student and fieldworker at the University of Tromsø, Norway. In the 1990s he was a professional archaeologist working in the gas pipeline construction industry and for a planning consultancy. He has also been a temporary lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA), Scotland (FSA Scot.) and a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (MCIfA).

Hon. Visiting Fellow, University of Liverpool, Institute of Irish Studies

Visiting Reader, University of Highlands and Islands, Institute for Northern Studies

British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow, 2014-15.

Winner: Inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement with Research, 2016 (Archeox, Archaeology of East Oxford Project)

National Archaeological Award Nominations (finalist):

     2011 Current Archaeology: Best Research Project (Vikings of the Irish Sea)

     2012 Current Archaeology: Best Research Project (Settlement under the Sand - Orkney)

     2012 British Archaeological Awards: Best Community Archaeology Project (Archeox)

Teaching and examining

Course Director and supervisor for Postgraduate courses - MSc Applied Landscape Archaeology and D.Phil in Archaeology (part-time stream). Also Course Director for the Undergraduate Certificate in Archaeology.

External Examinerships: University of Durham (BA / MA in Historical Archaeology), University of Cambridge ICE (current); Aberdeen, Southampton, Birmingham and Chester (terms completed). M.Phils/PhDs examined at Cambridge, Durham, UC Cork, Glasgow, Nottingham, UC Dublin.

D.Phil Supervision

David is happy to discuss supervising or co-supervising topics which are a good fit with his academic interests in historical/medieval, Viking-Age, or landscape archaeology and heritage, either as part-time D.Phil students admitted through Continuing Education, or as full-time D.Phil students who would have to apply via the School of Archaeology.

Current Supervisees:  Russell Weston (Kellogg College); Richard Walsh (St Peter's College); Sally Taylor (Kellogg College & Clarendon Scholar); Emma Bonthorne (Kellogg College); Genevieve Cain (Kellogg College); Louise Formby-Tiedman (St Catherine's College). Completed/passed: Jill Hind (Kellogg College); Lisa Hill (St Cross College); Jane Harrison (Kellogg College); Jamie Anderson (Hertford College).

Departmental positions

David is Director of Studies in Archaeology which means (together with Dr Alison MacDonald and Dr Toby Martin) he oversees the part-time teaching programme in Archaeology and Anthropology, including  (shared with Dr Paul Barnwell) the programme of Courses and Workshops in the Historic Environment. From 2014-18 he served a 4 year term as the Department's Director of Research, covering research policy, seminars and research-led training across the subjects represented on the full-time teaching staff at OUDCE. The new DoR (from October 2018) is Prof Tom Buchanan.

Research and Public Engagement activity

David is PI on four major externally-funded research projects, three of which are complete or near-complete:

Birsay-Skaill Landscape Archaeology Project (Orkney, Scotland), funded by Historic Scotland, Oxford University and Orkney Islands Council. Since 2003, geophysics and selective excavation have revealed a wealth of exciting new data in this archaeologically-rich area. This project was nominated for 'Research Project of the Year' by Current Archaeology Magazine in 2012.  

SPLAT - Salisbury Plain Landscape Transitions, with Dr Olaf Bayer and Richard Osgood of the MoD. In 2015 we were awarded an ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant to develop proposals and methods for a multi-period landscape investigation on Salisbury Plain Training Area. This resulted in a series of seminars and a successful pilot project surveying (with MSc Applied Landscape Archaeology students) the Neolithic Causewayed enclosure of Robin Hood's Ball, near Larkhill. Details can be found here

East Oxford Community Archaeology Project - http://www.archeox.net A five year project has recently concluded, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Oxford University on the archaeology and history project on the urban landscape of East Oxford. This is based on partnerships with university museums, the School of Archaeology, local government and charities. The project was also successful in securing a CBA Community Archaeology Training Bursary for 2012-13. Nominated for 'Best Community Archaeology Project' by the BAA Awards 2012. Winner 2016 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Public Engagement with Research.

During the past decade David completed a major research and publication project on the coastal site of Meols, Wirral, in conjunction with National Museums Liverpool. http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/archaeology/projects/meols.aspx  The online project archive with the Archaeology Data Service is at http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/meols_sal_2007/

With William Wintle and Gill Hey, he has undertaken several geophysical surveys in the environs of the Roman and Medieval small town of Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, in conjunction with the field training weeks of the MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology.

He has also undertaken and completed work funded by Cadw on the Viking Age sculptured cross 'Maen Achwyfan' in North Wales (see list of publications below).

He has been involved in an advisory capacity in two publication projects for recent Viking-Age excavations, Cumwhitton Viking cemetery (Cumbria, with Oxford Archaeology North) and Woodstown, a Viking defended river camp (Co. Waterford, Ireland, with National Roads Authority and OPW Ireland). (both now published). He was a member of the expert panel for EMASS, a major Irish project synthesising evidence for medieval settlement from recent development excavations, and a post-doctoral peer reviewer for the Irish and Icelandic Research Councils. In 2016 he chaired a funding review of LBI Arch Pro for the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft, Vienna.

David's book Vikings of the Irish Sea (2010 reprinted 2012) continues to be popular with academic, student and public audiences See: http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/archaeology-books/vikings-of-the-irish-sea.html

For online reviews see: http://suite101.com/article/vikings-of-the-irish-sea-book-review-a233532#.UWvcu_Kk6So%20

David has given numerous lectures, conference papers and university research seminars in the UK and overseas, in Ireland, France, Greenland, Iceland, USA and Scandinavia. He has lectured twice to the Society of Antiquaries of London, and given named lectures including the H Addyman lecture in York and the Whithorn lecture.  He continues to participate in international conferences and research workshops such as the Viking CongressIMC LeedsISMARNEMWARG and the St Magnus conference series in Orkney.

David has undertaken, with colleagues from Bangor, Liverpool and Lancaster, to organise the 19th Viking Congress to Wales and North-west England in July 2021.


David is involved with the following projects:

Courses and workshops in the historic environment

Archaeology research in the Department for Continuing Education


Link to departmental profile:

Dr David Griffiths