Who else do you know that can claim the discovery of the remains of a Roman villa at the age of 12? And who published that discovery (in the Journal of Roman Studies) at just age 16?

Rosemary Cramp was hooked on archaeology at an early age and- after a 5 year lectureship at Oxford- became the first female professor (in any subject!) at Durham University in 1971.

She is best known for her groundbreaking work investigating the Anglo-Saxons in England, including the monastic sites of Jarrow and Monkwearmouth.

Though she retired in 1990, even at the age of 84 she is still a common sight among the corridors, chatting to students and lecturers alike.

And her zeal for archaeology has led to the creation of “The Rosemary Cramp Fund”, which has been set up to provide financial support for projects involved in the Anglo-Saxon archaeology of the northeast.

Want to know more? Check out these links:

Rosemary Cramp, “Digging Detective”


Photos from the dig at Wearmouth-Jarrow


Written by Ross Barnett (@DeepFriedDNA)

Edited by Suzie

Share on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

7 thoughts on “Rosemary Cramp

  1. Pam Irving says:

    As well as a brilliant archaeologist and academic Rosemary was also a complete people person who knew and could identify by sight all her diggers and students in later random encounters. in the appropriate weather conditions a rum ration or strawberry’s and ice-cream appeared at tea-break at Monkwearmouth and Jarrow: She also recruited as her nightwatcman the toughest of the gang of horrible little boys who were vandalising the site after the diggers left.

    1. Brenna says:

      Ah!!! What fantastic stories. Thank you so much for sharing, we love hearing about the human side of such impressive women. Also, anything about rum rations 😉

  2. Joe says:

    I was a student in Durham in the 1970s (not Archaeology). My college was on the same street as the Dept. of Archaeology. To provide the students with practical experience the Department conducted a dig literally in their own back yard!

  3. Fettler Bob says:

    The ‘new archaeology department of 1975 on South Bailey unfortunately had its lower floors laid over an old earth privy, which gradually filled with downwash, causing the small lecture room to pong and fill with flies. So the floors had to come up. I liked Rosie very much as my prof but noticed how few women students were feted under her jurisdiction. I also noticed never getting a certain essay back, but having its content quoted in subsequent lectures.The Szilágysomlyó treasure was little known or appreciated back then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *