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Dr Michael McCarthy

PositionHonorary Visiting Senior Lecturer
DepartmentSchool of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences
Telephone+44 (0) 1274 236491
EmailM.McCarthy@bradford.ac.uk

Research Interests (key words only)

Ecclesiastical archaeology

Administrative Responsibilities

He was the Placements Tutor for 5 years, and is now first Year Tutor and the Chairman of the Teaching and Learning Committee for the Division.

In addition he is a member of Senate.

Biography

Mike McCarthy has been involved in archaeology since childhood taking part in a wide range of excavations across the UK supported by time begged and borrowed from a variety of jobs including chef, nurse, clerk, gravedigger and many others.

For nearly 30 years his career covered most periods and cognate disciplines within the ‘rescue’/contracting sector of archaeology, an invaluable and insightful experience for an academic. Throughout this period he taught Extra Mural and WEA students and lectured to a wide-range of regional and local groups.

Study History

His first degree was in Archaeology (Cardiff 1972) becoming one of the diaspora memorably described by Andrew Selkirk as the Taffia!

He was awarded a PhD at Bradford in 2004.

Professional Activities

Mike’s first solo excavation was in 1972, on the 13th century kilns at Lacock in Wiltshire.

In 1975, with others, he founded an international research group, and then in 1988, with Cathy Brooks, he published Medieval Pottery in England AD 900-1600 for Leicester University Press.

Mike has served on many committees including the Society for Medieval Archaeology, the CBA’s Urban Research Committee, and the Council of the Society of Antiquaries of London of which he was elected Fellow in 1983, as well as many others at local and regional level.

He has been a Member of the Institute of Field Archaeologists from its inception.

Research Areas

Mike has long-standing research interests in ceramics, ecclesiastical archaeology, northern England and frontiers, most of which is based upon many years of direct involvement in fieldwork, much attracting grants from the British Academy, the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Leverhulme Trust and English Heritage amongst others.

The first of these to be developed was with ceramics and, in particular, issues related to the interpretation of ceramic data and the presentation of the data in an intellectually acceptable and reader-friendly format. One of the outcomes was the development of the international Medieval Pottery Research Group with like-minded colleagues, whilst another led to the analysis of urban archaeological deposits and a more rigorous approach to taphonomic problems.

Much, but not all, Mike’s career has involved work on urban sites in Britain, some of which have been multi-disciplinary in scope (historical, architectural and palaeoenvironmental sources) and large in scale. In recent years this has been focused on Carlisle and northern England, in particular the emergence of urban life under the Romans in a frontier zone, the role of the early church, the importance of location, the re-growth of urban life in the medieval period. Many of these issues have continental analogues especially in the provinces of the Roman limes as well as in central and northern Europe.

He is currently co-editing a volume on urban archaeology in early medieval Europe for the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Ecclesiastical archaeology is an important part of his research interest, aided by his position as Consultant Archaeologist to the Dean and Chapter, Carlisle Cathedral and Archaeological Advisor first to the Diocese of Cumbria and latterly to the Diocese of Bradford, and Chairmanship of the Whithorn Research Committee.

He recently co-edited a volume on the Roman and Medieval Architecture, Archaeology and Art of Carlisle for the British Archaeological Association. Current research aims to shed light on the emergence of Christianity in late Roman Britain.

Publications

  • McCarthy, M. 2009. Christianity in northern Britain in the late-Roman period: a critical assessment?. In J. Murray (ed.) St. Ninian and the earliest Christianity in Scotland: 57-70 BAR British Series 483. Oxford: Archaeopress
  • McCarthy, M. 2008. Boundaries and the Archaeology of Frontier Zones. In B. David and J. Thomas (ed.) Handbook of Landscape Archaeology: 202-209. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2008. (Review) Wroxeter, The Cornovii, and the Urban Process: Final Report on The Wroxeter Hinterland Project 1994-1997. Volume 1 Researching the Hinterland. By V.L.Gaffney and R.H.White with H.Goodchild. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series Number 68. Portsmouth: Rhode Island, 2007.Antiquaries Journal 88(440-442)
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2008. (Review) Excavations at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, 1990-1999. By Rachel C. Barrowman, Colleen E. Batey & Christopher D. Morris. Society of Antiquaries of London. Medieval Archaeology 52: 397-398
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2008. (Review) Wroxeter, The Cornovii, and the Urban Process: Final Report on The Wroxeter Hinterland Project 1994-1997. Volume 1 Researching the Hinterland. By V.L.Gaffney and R.H.White with H.Goodchild. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series Number 68. Portsmouth: Rhode Island, 2007.Antiquaries Journal 88(440-442)
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2006. Romano-British people and the language of sociology. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 25: 201-12
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2005. Rerigonium: a lost 'city' of the Novantae. Proceedings Society Antiquaries of Scotland 134: 119-29
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2005. Social Dynamics on the Northern Frontier of Roman Britain. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 24: 47-71
  • McCarthy, M. R. & D. Weston (ed.) 2004. Carlisle and Cumbria: Roman and Medieval Architecture, Art and Archaeology. The British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions XXVII. London: British Archaeological Association.
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2003. Luguvalium (Carlisle) a civitas capital on the northern frontier. In P. Wilson (ed.) The Archaeology of Roman Towns: Studies in honour of John S Wacher: 145-155. Oxford: Oxbow Books
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2003. Rheged: an Early Historic Kingdom near the Solway. Proceedings Society Antiquaries of Scotland 132: 357-81.
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2002. Roman Carlisle and the Lands of the Solway. Stroud: Tempus.
  • McCarthy, M. R., M. Bishop & T. Richardson 2001. Roman armour and metalworking at Carlisle, Cumbria, England. Antiquity 75: 507-8.
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2000. Roman and Medieval Carlisle: The Southern Lanes Excavations 1981-2. Department Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford Monograph 1. Bradford: University of Bradford.
  • McCarthy, M. R. 2000. Prehistoric settlement in northern Cumbria. In J. Harding and R. Johnston (ed.) Northern Pasts: interpretations of the later prehistory of Northern England and Southern Scotland: British Archaeological Reports British Series 302. 131-40. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports

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