Professor Stephen Rippon
Professor of Landscape Archaeology
Telephone: 01392 724353
I am a landscape archaeologist with interests focused on the Roman and medieval periods in Britain and mainland North West Europe. My early work focused on the history of wetland reclamation and explored how human communities changed from simply exploiting the rich natural resources that wetlands have to offer, to modifying these environments to make them more suitable for agriculture, to fully transforming them through reclamation. My initial projects were in and around the Severn Estuary in SW Britain and were published in The Gwent Levels: the evolution of a wetland landscape (1996), and The Severn Estuary: the evolution of a wetland landscape (1997). This was followed by a major comparative study of North West Europe, published in The Transformation of Coastal Wetlands: Exploitation and Management of Marshland Landscapes in North West Europe during the Roman and Medieval Periods (2000). Major fieldwork projects include Landscape, Community and Colonisation: The North Somerset Levels During the 1st to 2nd Millennia AD (2006). More recently I have worked on the South Essex Marshes (that included an AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellowship) the results of which have been published in the journal Landscape Research vol 38.ii (2013).
My current research is exploring the origin and development of regional variation in landscape character, using interdisciplinary analysis of archaeological, cartographic, documentary, place-name and architectural evidence, published in Beyond the Medieval Village: The Diversification of Landscape Character in Southern Britain (2008), and Making Sense of An Historic Landscape (2012).
I am also developing a range of interdisciplinary approaches to studying the landscape, some of which are included in Historic Landscape Analysis (2004 [reprinted 2008; Second, revised Edition 2013]). I have worked collaboratively with historians, for example in Mining in a Medieval Landscape: The Royal Silver Mines of the Tamar Valley (2009), and my current Leverhulme Trust funded project 'Planning in the Early Medieval Landscape' is with Professor John Blair at the University of Oxford. I also work closely with palaeoenvironmental specialists, for example in reconstructing past patterns of land use (eg 'Beyond villages and open fields: the origins and development of a historic landscape characterised by dispersed settlement in South West England': Medieval Archaeology 50, 2006).
Another current Leverhulme Trust funded project - The Fields of Britannia - is examining the relationships between the Roman and medieval countryside.
I am currently Dean of the University's Faculty of Graduate Research, President of the Medieval Settlement Research Group, Treasurer of the Society for Medieval Archaeology, and a past Chairman of the Severn Estuary Levels Research Committee and the Council for British Archaeology South West Region.
At undergraduate and masters level I teach on the principles and methods of archaeology, and the landscapes of Roman and medieval Britain. I supervise research students (PhD, MPhil and MA by Research) across a wide range of topics in the fields of medieval and landscape archaeology.