Professor John MorelandJohn Moreland

Professor of Medieval Archaeology

BA (Hons.) First Class; PhD

Email address:

Telephone: 0114 22 22909

Department address:

Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield
Minalloy House. Room D02
10 – 16 Regent Street
S1 3NJ
United Kingdom



My interest in archaeology was stimulated by reading books on the Greeks and Romans borrowed from the mobile library that visited our village in Ireland. I came over to Sheffield in 1977, and graduated with a 1st class honours degree. I returned in 1982 to begin a PhD (with Richard Hodges) on Settlement Patterns and Social Relations in Early Medieval Italy.

I lived in Rome for two years, and in 1988 went to America as Visiting Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University, Connecticut. I was appointed to a lectureship at Sheffield in 1989 – and have been here ever since. I was promoted to Professor in January 2010, became Head of Department in August 2010 – and am immensely proud to be head of the department where I began my archaeological career!

Professional Roles

  • President of the Hunter Archaeological Society (founded 1912) 2007 - 2010
  • Editorial boards of postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies (2009 -), and Debates de Arqueología Medieval (2010 -)
  • Member of the Centro Interuniversitario per la Storia e l'Archeologia dell'Alto Medioevo (Universities of Siena, Padova and Venezia).


Research Interests

  • the use of writing in Antiquity and the Middle Ages – as a technology of control, a vehicle for resistance, and as a means of communicating with the supernatural
  • the role of images (particularly the Cross) in medieval and early modern societies
  • the transition from late Antiquity to the middle ages in Europe (particularly in the Britain and the Mediterranean)
  • the archaeology of the Reformation
  • Sheffield and its region in the Middle Ages

Current research projects / collaborations

  • Vestiges of an Antiquarian: The Thomas Bateman Archive (with Deborah Harlan and Professor Dawn Hadley, in collaboration with Museums Sheffield).
  • Landscape and belief in the early medieval Peak District
  • Archaeology and text

Research supervision

I would welcome applications from students interested in pursuing research into:

  • The use of writing/images in past societies
  • The archaeology and history of South Yorkshire from Antiquity to the Reformation
  • The archaeology of belief (particularly in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages)


Selected publications

  • Archaeology, Theory and the Middle Ages. London: Duckworth (2010)
  • Archaeology and Text. London: Duckworth (2001)
  • ‘Land and power from Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England?’ Historical Materialism 19.1: 171-89 (2011).
  • ‘Catastrophe, continuity … or Late Antiquity’, in Denis Sami and Gavin Speed (eds) Debating Urbanism: Within and Beyond the Walls: 141-44 (Leicester) (2010).
  • ‘Going native, becoming German: Isotopes and identities in late Roman and early medieval England’, postmedieval 1: 142-49 (2010).
  • ‘Ethnicity, power and the myth of the English’ (in Russian), Srednie Veka 70(3): 163-95 (Studies on Medieval and Early Modern History, Russian Academy of Sciences) (translated by Ilya Afanasyev) (2009)
  • ‘The Farfa survey: broadening our perspective’, in F. Coarelli and H. Patterson eds. Mercator Placidissimus: The Tiber Valley in Antiquity: 779-788. Rome. (2009)

Full publications list

  • `Method and theory in medieval archaeology in the 1990's'. Archeologia Medievale 18: 7 – 42 (1991).

  • `The Middle Ages, theory and postmodernism'. Acta Archaeologica 68: 163 – 82 (1997).

  • `Through the looking glass of possibilities: understanding the Middle Ages', in H. Hundsbichler, G. Jaritz, and T. Kühtreiber (eds.) Die Vielfalt der Dinge. Neue Wege zur Analyse mittelalterlicher Sachkultur : 85 - 116. Forschungen des Instituts Für Realienkunde des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit. Diskussionen und Materialen Nr. 3 (1998).

  • Archaeology and Text . London : Duckworth (2001)

  • `Archaeology and text', Annual Review of Anthropology (2007).
  • `The world(s) of the cross'. World Archaeology 31: 194-213 (1999).

  • `The Bradbourne cross'. Current Archaeology 179: 456-60 (2002).

  • `George Forrest Browne, early medieval sculpture and 19 th century Reformation historiography'. Journal of the British Archaeological Association 156: 150-166 (2004).
Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages [ Farfa ]
  • `Wilderness, wasteland, depopulation and the end of the Roman Empire ?' Accordia Research Papers 4: 89 – 110 (1993).

  • `Ethnicity, power and the English", in B. Frazer and A. Tyrell (eds.) Social Identity in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland : 23-51 Leicester University Press (2000).

  • `Concepts of the early medieval economy", in C. Wickham and I. Hansen (eds.) The Long Eighth Century : 1-34. Brill (2000).

  • `The significance of production in eighth-century England ", in C. Wickham and I. Hansen (eds.) The Long Eighth Century : 69-104. Brill (2000).

  • `The Carolingian empire: Rome reborn?", in S. Alcock , T. D'Altroy, K. Morrison and C. Sinopoli (eds.) Empires. Perspectives from Archaeology and History : 392-418. Cambridge University Press (2000).

  • `Object, identities and cosmological authentication', Archaeological Dialogues 10: 144-49 (2003).
From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages in Central Italy
  • "Excavations at Casale San Donato, Castelnuovo di Farfa (RI). Archeologia Medievale 18: 477 - 490 (with M. Pluciennik) (1991).

  • "Restoring the dialectic: settlement patterns and documents in medieval central Italy ", in B. Knapp (ed.) Archaeology, Annales and Ethnohistory : 112 - 129. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1992).

  • "Excavations at Casale San Donato, Lazio , Italy ". Archeologia Medievale 20: 185 – 228 (1993).

  • "Wilderness, wasteland, depopulation and the end of the Roman Empire ?" Accordia Research Papers 4: 89 – 110 (1994)

  • `Casale San Donato', in C. Bertelli and G.P. Bertelli eds. Il Futuro dei Longobardi: l'Italia e la Construzione del Europa di Carlo Magno : 203-04. Skira, Milan (2000).

  • "Transformations in a Sabine landscape, 200-1000AD', in forthcoming in P Attema ed. Proceedings of the 6 th Congress of Italian Archaeology. Groningen (2005).

  • `Scavi a Casale San Donato (RI), 1990-94', forthcoming in Attitivà di Scavo Archaeologico di Institutioni Straniere in Italia (1975-98) (Rome). (2006)

  • `The Farfa survey', forthcoming in the Papers of the British School at Rome (2007).

  • A poster (prepared for prepared for the conference on The Tiber Valley in Antiquity, 27 th -28 th February 2004, British School at Rome) which summarises the projects findings can be found here (please do not cite without permission).
Butrint Project, Albania
  • " Butrint , Albania : A microcosm of Mediterranean history". Minerva 7: 9 - 13 (with R. Hodges and S. Martin) (1996).

  • "Late-Antique and Byzantine Butrint: an interim report on the port and its hinterland (1994-95)". Journal of Roman Archaeology 10: 207 - 34 (with R. Hodges et al .) (1997).
Bradbourne Project
  • `Exposing the gaps in the long-term history of the Peak District, Derbyshire, England', in H. Thrane (ed.) Diachronic Settlement Studies in the Metal Ages of Europe : 131-39 (with Dr. Mark Edmonds). Jutland Archaeological Society, Aarhus (2004).

  • See above ( Images ) for publications on the Bradbourne Cross

  • The text of a paper which summarises many of the recent results of the project can be found here (please do not cite without permission – these are preliminary results).


Level 1

  • European Classical Civilisations
  • World Civilisations

Level 2

  • Early Historic Europe
  • Archaeology and Text

Level 3

  • Dark Age Britain (from 2012)


  • Method and Theory in Historical Archaeology I
  • Death and Commemoration
  • From the Age of Migration to the Age of Discoveries


  • ‘Words, objects and belief in Anglo-Saxon England’, invited paper presented at the conference on Words and Things: Texts and Material Culture in Late Antiquity, Cornell University, USA (April, 2010).
  • ‘Landscape and belief in medieval England’, invited paper presented at the Recerca Avançada en Arqueologia Medieval conference, Lleida, Spain (March, 2010).
  • Invited discussant, Writing as Material Practice: Substance, Surface and Medium Conference, University College London (May, 2009).
  • Invited discussant, From One Sea to Another. Trade Centres in Northern Europe and Mediterranean during the Early Middle Ages, Comacchio, Italy (March, 2009).
  • Invited discussant, Writing and Non-Writing Conference, Sheffield Centre for Aegean Archaeology, University of Sheffield (January, 2009).
  • Organiser of the Archaeologies of the Everyday Conference, Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield (June, 2008).

Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

PGR Admissions and Studentships (Semester 1, 2017/18)