The Impact of UK Archaeology Research

REF2014 results highlight the nature and diversity of impact arising from archaeological research


The 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessed, for the first time, the impact of research undertaken in UK universities.

The list of impact case study titles below highlights:

+ the tremendous diversity of impacts arising from archaeological research with case studies from every continent except Antarctica;

+ how archaeology can make a difference to communities at the local, regional and international level;

+ how archaeology is committed to sustaining cultural heritage in many innovative ways;

+ how archaeological research influences policies and guidelines governing the management of cultural heritage;

+ how archaeological evidence can challenge contemporary views about people and the past helping to promote cultural understanding.

There are many definitions of impact:

  • For example, it is ‘the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy’ (Research Councils UK).

  • Impact has also been defined as research that has ‘... an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia’ (REF2014).

Submissions to REF 2014 were asked to provide a statement on how the process of generating impact was supported within subject areas and what strategy was in place to support impact activities in the future. In addition impact case studies demonstrating the best examples of activities to date were invited (a minimum of two case studies but the exact number depended on the size and nature of the submission).

Now that the results of the REF2014 are known for archaeology and all other disciplines (see, University Archaeology UK lists the archaeological impact case studies submitted.

The case studies can be downloaded in full from the REF2014 website. Click here to find the submissions under Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology and click on the institution link to access the case studies. Note that not every institution in this list submitted an archaeological impact case study as it covers the additional disciplines noted above.

- Old Scatness: the past providing a sustainable future

- Pioneering geophysical prospecting to enhance sustainable approaches to the detection of the buried past

- Archaeology and World Heritage Status on the Cape Verde Islands

- Peru - Aridification and Landscape Modification: Lessons from the Past

- The Past and Future Roles of Asian Millets

- Understanding the Historical Nature of the Human Body

- Using Medieval Village Research to Improve the Skills and Aspirations of Secondary School Students and Disadvantaged Adults

- Bones without barriers: engaging with ancient human remains

- Early Medieval Carved Stones And Landscape: Rhynie Environs Archaeological Project (REAP)

- Project Eliseg: Death and Memory in Early Medieval Britain

- Let the dead teach the living. The applications of palaeopathological research to industry, heritage and education

- Protecting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lumbini, Nepal, and neighbouring sites of significance.

- Sharing expertise: community archaeology and training in north-east England

- The sustainable management of wetland environments

- Transforming museums through experimental maritime archaeology

- Coin Hoards and Helmets: Iron Age treasure boosts tourism, underpins museum expansion and inspires new sense of community pride

- Libyan Desert Archaeological Heritage: Research helps to shape governmental policy and preserve cultural heritage

- The King in the Car Park: The remains of the last Plantagenet king of England generate global interest, leading to diverse impacts at local, regional and national scale.

- Castell Henllys and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

- Illuminating the Land of Light

- Stepping stones to the Neolithic. Islands, maritime connectivity and the ‘western seaways’ of Britain, 5000-3500 BC

- Healing Heritage: Facilitating and evaluating the impact of museums and museum encounters on health and wellbeing

- Peoples-based conservation: Caring for Hinemihi, the Maori meeting house at Clandon Park, UK

- Reanimating cultural heritage in Sierra Leone

- Supporting tourism and recognition of Maya heritage at Lamanai and on Ambergris Caye

- Thames Discovery Programme: Community archaeology on the foreshore

- Transforming the future of Silk Roads archaeology in Asia

- Voicebox: Research on the physics and evolution of speech facilitating science teaching in secondary schools

- Development of heritage in Orkney

- Social significance and authenticity in heritage conservation and management.

- Historic Landscape Characterisation: Research, Management and Planning

- Material culture of the Roman frontier

- Community archaeology as 'citizen science': embedding research into a regional heritage agenda

- Pavlopetri: improving the public presentation, management and conservation of submerged cultural heritage

- Accurately dating the past – OxCal: free software for the calibration of radiocarbon dates

- Bringing the Iron Age and Romans to life in southern Britain: Danebury hillfort and Brading villa

- Enriching and educating visitor experience at Aphrodisias in SW Turkey: The stone-for-stone reconstruction of the Sebasteion and the contextual display of its reliefs

- Inspiring and Educating Communities through Archaeological Fieldwork in South Oxfordshire

- Enhancing heritage management and capacity building in European wetland archaeology

- Improving public understanding of social diversity in Roman Britain

- Silchester Town Life Project: enhancing public awareness, knowledge and understanding of the archaeology of Iron Age and Roman Britain

- Archaeology in the City: cultural, educational and environmental benefits from researching post-medieval Sheffield

- Cultural, economic and political impacts resulting from the discovery of Ice Age Cave Art at Creswell Crags

- Stonehenge and its landscape; changing perceptions, informing the next generation and benefitting the local economy

- Protecting Maritime and Coastal Heritage at home and overseas

- Revealing Avebury's prehistoric landscape

- The Portus Project: Bringing the Roman Empire Back to Life

- Challenging the Past: The Magdalen Hill Archaeological Research Project

- The Clarendon Park Project

- ZooMS: archaeozoology, food security, traceability and authentication

- Impact on Mesolithic heritage preservation, conservation and presentation

- The Peleliu battlefield archaeological survey

- Animal domestication and the spread of early farmers

- The Water Supply of Byzantine Constantinople

- Uncovering the secrets of the Rhind Mummy (in partnership with National Museums Scotland)

- Commemoration and protection of battlefields in policy and practice

- Conservation of pre-medieval sculptures on 6th century Christian site and regeneration of the surrounding area

- The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site

- Evidence based management strategies for Heritage iron

- Changing people’s perceptions of the human:animal relationship

- The Newport Medieval Ship Project

- Stone Weathering and Conservation

- Turning a Shared Past into a Shared Future: Historical Archaeology and Conflict Resolution in Northern Ireland

- Molecular and Isotope ‘Fingerprinting’ to Enhance Food Quality Assurance, Forensic Approaches and Wider Public Interest in Chemistry through Archaeology

- Communicating Wroxeter’s significance

- Representing Chedworth Roman Villa

- Conserving cultural heritage and influencing education through the Çaltılar Archaeological Project (ÇAP), SW Turkey

- The Development of Cultural Value in the Practice of Heritage Management in Greece

- Using Research Collections to Inform Public Understanding of the Ancient Greek and Etruscan Past

- Persian Past - Iranian Present: Communicating Ancient Iran to East and West

- Borderlines: Understanding Ancient Empires through their Frontiers

End. World image ©Setsiri Silapasuwanchai

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic