Professor Stephen Driscoll
- Professor of Historical Archaeology (Archaeology)
My primary interests revolve around the Early Medieval Celtic world, with a particular focus on the Early Historic period in Scotland. This has drawn me into exploring long-term cultural and political trajectories in northern Britain from the Iron Age to modern times. Intellectually these studies share a natural affinity with the cultural history of Ireland and western Britain, as well as with Scotland’s northern European neighbours, the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings.
In addition to having undertaken excavations at Edinburgh Castle, Glasgow Cathedral, Forteviot, Govan Old church and elsewhere, I follow my interests through the monumental sculpture, medieval architecture and places of assembly.
SERF (Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot )
Since 2006, my colleagues and I have been exploring the remarkable concentration of prehistoric ritual monuments, burials and Pictish royal palace site at Forteviot in its regional setting. The majority of the fieldwork is conducted as part of our annual field school which attracts students from around the world. The results can be viewed on the SERF webpage:
Govan Archaeological project: Govan Old Church and the Govan Stones
Situated on the south bank of the Clyde, Govan is synonymous with shipbuilding, but its origins lie in in the Early Medieval period, when its church was the principal church of the kingdom of Strathclyde. Excavations in the 1990s established that Govan Old predates Glasgow Cathedral and show that the existing churchyard was established by the time the famous Govan Stones were brought to the site. This collection of sculpture is one of the largest in the British Isles and the largest body of Viking Age sculpture in Britain. These unique cultural assets are central to efforts to use the cultural heritage to promote urban regeneration in Govan, the most prominent element of which is the Govan Stones, a project to redisplay and widen access to the sculpture and the Old Church.
These completed PhDs indicate that my interests range across Scottish historical archaeology:
- Chris Dalglish (2000) Rural settlement in the age of reason: an archaeology of the southern Scottish Highlands from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries A.D.
- Caroline Hale (2006) "A perfect Elysium and the residence of a divinity": a social analysis of country houses and policies in late seventeenth and eighteenth century Scotland
- Oliver O’Grady (2008) The setting and practice of open-air judicial assemblies in medieval Scotland: a multidisciplinary study
- Sarah Thomas (2008) From Rome to 'the ends of the habitable world': the provision of clergy and church buildings in the Hebrides, circa 1266 to circa 1472
- Mharie-Claire Semple (2009) An archaeology of Scotland's early Romanesque churches: the towers of Alba
- Adrián D. Maldonado Ramírez (2011) Christianity and burial in late Iron Age Scotland, AD 400-650
The majority of my teaching is research based and, at Honours level, is interdisciplinary with colleagues from Scottish History and Celtic & Gaelic. These courses include:
- The Picts and the Formation of Alba
- Northern Britons 5th century to 12th century
- Founding of Scotland: 11th – 13th centuries
At Postgraduate level I contribute to the M.Litt. in Celtic and Viking Archaeology core and various options, including the Early Christian Monuments of Scotland.
- Advisory Committee for Historic Scotland since 2012, Chair of the Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee
- Director, Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, School of Humanities, University of Glasgow
- Trustee of the York Archaeological Trust, since 2013
- Chair of Organising Committee for the 2015 annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Glasgow