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Dr Chris Gaffney

PositionHead of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences
LocationK35a, Richmond building
DepartmentArchaeological Sciences
Telephone+44 (0) 1274 233542

Research Interests (key words only)

archaeological geophysics, 3D and spatial analysis of data, philosophy of science, TL dating, trace element analysis

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Course Leader: MSc Archaeological Prospection - Shallow Geophysics

Module Leader: Electrical Methods of Survey & Treatment, Display and Interpretation of Field data

Teaching: The two MSc modules above and Magnetic and Electromagnetic Methods of Survey, GIS for Practitioners, Site Evaluation Strategies and UG modules including Advanced Methods and Forensic Archaeology

My PhD students include:

  • Rob Fry - Time-lapse geophysical investigations over known archaeological features using electrical resistivity imaging and earth resistance
  • James Bonsall - A reappraisal of archaeological geophysical surveys on Irish road corridors 2001-2010
  • Chrys Harris – Investigating trapezoidal arrays
  • 2nd Supervisor - Emily Fioccoprile, Hannah Brown, Pete Turner & Mary Saunders


Chris Gaffney was appointed to the staff at Bradford in October 2007.

His link with Bradford goes back to the 1980s as he undertaken both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at this university.

Having completed doctoral research (in Earth Resistance) Chris formed a commercial archaeological geophysical company with John Gater. GSB Prospection became the largest group working in Britain.

In the summer of 2007 Chris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for popularising archaeological geophysics via Time Team and other media opportunities. He teaches both undergraduate and MSc students as well as developing commercial avenues in prospecting.

Professional Activities

  • Editor (2004- present) and Associate Editor (2001-2004), Archaeological Prospection
  • Chair (2009-2013) Vice-Chair (2003-7) and Honorary Secretary (2007-2009 & 2013- present), International Society for Archaeological Prospection
  • Co-Chair of the AARG/EAC/ISAP 'Remote Sensing' Working Party for pan European Guidance on Ground Based Remote Sensing
  • Steering committee for NERC’s Geophysical Equipment Facility (2003-5)
  • Invited member of the NERC Masters Review Panel (Geology and Archaeology), 2005
  • Committee member IFA’s GeoSIG
  • Validation committee (2007) for new MSc (Shallow Geophysics for Archaeologists and Environmentalists) and the linked MA course on Archaeological Practice. UHI
  • PhD examiner Bristol 2001, Birmingham 2007, Leicester 2012, Glasgow 2012 & 2013 and Ghent 2009 & 2013
  • Keynote lecture, '21st Symposium on Theory and Practice of Computer Graphics' Birmingham, 2003 and invited lecturer at many international events including:
    • 'Geophysics for Archaeological Landscapes,' University of Siena (2006)
    • 'EAGE Near Surface' Dublin (2009)
    • 'Remote sensing for Archaeological Heritage Management' Europae Archaeologiae Consilium Reykjavik (2010)
    • 'Radio-Past: Non-destructive approaches to complex archaeological sites in Europe' Ghent ( 2013)
    • 'Preventive Archaeology: urban sites and landscape' Ravenna (2103)

Research Areas

Over the last two decades I have researched and published on many aspects of Archaeological Science. The articles reflect his interest in topics as diverse as geophysical prospecting, philosophy of science, TL dating, Trace Element Analysis and commercial aspects of prospecting.

Specifically my core research interests are based on the fundamental understanding that geophysical data can aide archaeology in the understanding of the life and culture of ancient peoples. In particular I am interested in challenging environments where technical excellence and novel methodological approaches can lead to enhanced interpretation of past environments. The following projects illustrate my interests:

  • Detection of Archaeological Residues using remote sensing Techniques (DART) (UK). Investigation of contrast factors and detection dynamics within 'difficult' areas to provide a more complete understanding of the heritage resource. Science and Heritage funded initiative between the Universities of Leeds, Bradford and Birmingham
  • Digitised Diseases. JISC funded project to bridge the gap between modern clinical medicine, the use of historic medical collections and archaeological assemblages, with a synthetic approach to the Mass digitisation of pathological type-specimens, primarily using textured 3D laser scans. This is a follow on - 'From Cemetery to Clinic'
  • Analysis of Legacy Data. National Roads Authority (Ireland) Research Fellowship Award. The project’s PhD student, James Bonsall, was awarded the silver medal Young European Arena of Research at the prestigious Transport Research Arena 2012 Conference after his first year of research. The TRA is the largest surface transport research event in Europe and the presentation was made by EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn
  • Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project (UK). Integrating prospection and phenomenological investigation. Funded in kind by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, Vienna - see Discovery’s ‘Top 10 Archaeological Finds of the 21st Century’
  • Dynamics of an Iron Age Landscape (Chesters Hillfort, UK). Novel techniques to investigate aerial evidence from problematic geologies. Historic Scotland
  • Megara Hyblaea (Sicily, Italy). Mapping and analysing roads and thoroughfares within a Greek colony
  • Dalmatia (Croatia). Data fusion studies at Diocletian’s Palace at Split and sites within the Cetina Valley
  • Wroxeter (UK). Investigating the urban process via integrated geophysical and remote sensing data
  • Novel approaches to modern pit latrines in Africa. Gates Foundation via London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. This was a B-CAP project which is a formal business association of local stakeholders that I helped create in 2010


  • Schmidt, S., Linford, P., Linford, N., David, A., Gaffney, C., Sarris, A., and Fassbinder, F (2015) EAC Guidelines for the Use of Geophysics in Archaeology: Questions to Ask and Points to Consider. Europae Archaeologia Consilium
  • Gaffney, C., Harris, C., Pope-Carter, F., Bonsall, J., Fry, R., and Parkyn, A (2015) Still searching for graves: an analytical strategy for interpreting geophysical data used in the search for "unmarked" graves. Near Surface Geophysics, doi:10.3997/1873-0604.2015029
  • Armit, I., Horsley, T., Gaffney, C., Marty, F., Thomas, N., Friel, R. and Hayes, A (2014) Exploring urbanisation in the southern French Iron Age through integrated geophysical and topographic prospection. In Fernández-Götz, M., Wendling, H. & Winger, K (Eds) Paths to complexity – centralisation and urbanisation in Iron Age Europe. Oxford: Oxbow. 169-180
  • De Smedt, P., Van Meirvenne, M., Saey, T., Baldwin, E., Gaffney, C. and Gaffney, V., (2014), Unveiling the prehistoric landscape at Stonehenge through multi-receiver EMI, Journal Of Archaeological Science, 50, 16-23
  • Bonsall, J., Gaffney, C., and Armit, I. (2014) A Decade of Ground Truthing: Reappraising Magnetometer Prospection Surveys on Linear Corridors in light of Excavation evidence 2001-2010 . In Kamermans, H., Gojda, M. and Posluschny, A.G. (eds) A Sense of the Past: Studies in current archaeological applications of remote sensing and non-invasive prospection methods. Oxford: Archaeopress. 3-16
  • Schmidt, A., Gaffney, C., Horsley, T., and Hodgson, S. (2013) Geophysical Investigations at Gristhorpe 2006-2008. In Melton, N., Montgomery, J., and Knusel, C. (eds) Gristhorpe Man: a life and death in the Bronze Age. Oxford: Oxbow. 68-68
  • Bonsall, J., Fry, R., Gaffney, C., Armit, I., Beck, A. and Gaffney, V. (2013), Assessment of the CMD Mini-Explorer, a New Low-frequency Multi-coil Electromagnetic Device, for Archaeological Investigations. Archaeological Prospection doi: 10.1002/arp.1458
  • Gaffney, VL., Sears, G., Gaffney, C., Schmidt, A., Goodchild, H., Lobb, M., Sparrow, T., Tomcik, D., Kirigin, B., Milosevic', A., and Barabric', V. (2013) Visualising Space and Movement: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Palace of Diocletian, Split. In Ch'ng, E., Gaffney, V., and Chapman, H. (eds.) Visual Heritage in the Digital Age. London: Springer. 93-118
  • Bonsall, J., Fry, R., Gaffney, C. and Armit, I. (2013) Back and forth: paving the way forward by assessing 10 years of geophysical surveys on Irish road schemes. In B Kelly, N Roycroft and M Stanley (eds) Futures and Pasts: archaeological science on Irish road schemes. Archaeology and the National Road Authority Monograph Series No.10. 1-14
  • V Gaffney, S Fitch, E Ramsey, R Yorston, E Ch'ng, E Baldwin, R Bates, C Gaffney, C Ruggles, T Sparrow, A McMillan, D Cowley, S Fraser, C Murray, H Murray, E Hopla and A Howard 'Time and a Place: A luni-solar 'time-reckoner' from 8th millennium BC Scotland', Internet Archaeology 34
  • R. H. White, C. Gaffney and V. L. Gaffney with A. Bakerr 2013 Wroxeter, the Cornovii and the Urban Process. Volume 2: Characterizing the City. Final Report of the Wroxeter Hinterland Project, 1994-1997. Oxford: Archaeopress
  • Armit, I. & Gaffney, C. (2012). Entremont: la prospection géophysique. Bilan Scientifique de la Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur 2011, 114
  • Ian Armit, Chris Gaffney and Ashley Hayes 2012 Space and movement in an Iron Age oppidum: integrating geophysical and topographic survey at Entremont, Provence. Antiquity Volume: 86 Number: 331 Page: 191–206
  • Gareth Sears, Vince Gaffney, Chris Gaffney, Richard Cuttler, Helen Goodchild and Susan Kane 2012, Deciphering ‘Lost’ Urban Landscapes at Cyrene. In N. Christie and A. Augent (eds) Urbes extinctae. Ashgate Publishing. 177-206
  • C. Gaffney, and V. Gaffney 2011 Through an imperfect filter: geophysical techniques and the management of archaeological heritage. D. Cowley (ed) Remote sensing for archaeological heritage management in the 21st century. Europae Archaeologiae Consilium. 117-128
  • E. Ch'ng, Chapman H., Gaffney C., Gaffney V., Murgatroyd P. and Neubauer W. 2011 From Sites to Landscapes: How Computing Technology Is Shaping Archaeological Practice. IEEE Special Issue on Computational Archaeology. Computer Volume: 44 , Issue: 7 Page 40-46
  • Armit, I. and Gaffney, C. (2010). Entremont : la campagne de prospection géophysique. Bilan Scientifique de la Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur 2010, 113
  • McCarthy, M., Armit, I., Gaffney, C. & Friel, B. (2010). The Isle of Whithorn: towards a reassessment. Transactions of the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society 84, 43-55
  • Cuttler, R., Gaffney, C., Gaffney, V., Goodchild, H., Howard, A. and Sears, G. 2009. Changing perspectives on the city of Cyrene, Libya: Remote sensing and the management of the buried archaeological resource, ArchéoSciences 33.1: 65-7
  • Gaffney, C. 2009. The use of geophysical techniques in landscape studies: experience from the commercial sector. In S. Campana and S. Piro (ed.) Seeing the unseen: geophysics and landscape archaeology: 201-204. London: Taylor and Francis Group
  • Aspinall, A., C. F. Gaffney & A. Schmidt 2008. Magnetometry for Archaeologists. Lanham: AltaMira Press.
  • Gaffney, C., V. Gaffney, R. Cuttler & R. Yorston 2008. Initial Results using GPS Navigation with the Foerster Magnetometer System at the World Heritage Site of Cyrene, Libya. Archaeological Prospection 15: 151-156.
  • Gaffney, C. F. 2008. Detecting trends in prospecting for the past: fifty years of geophysical survey. Archaeometry 50: 313-336.
  • Card, N., J. Gater, C. F. Gaffney & E. Wood 2007. Geophysical Survey and the Emergence of Underground Archaeological Landscapes: The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. In A. Fleming and R. Hingley (ed.) Landscape History after Hoskins. Volume 1: Prehistoric and Roman Landscapes: 43-56. Macclesfield: Windgather Press
  • Gaffney, C. F., J. A. Gater & D. Shiel 2007. Geophysical Survey Part 2. In C. G. a. M. Aston (ed.) The Shapwick Project, Somerset. a rural landscape explored: Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 25. 213-228. Leeds: Maney
  • Gaffney, C. F. & D. Shiel 2007. Magnetic and resistance survey in the upper Allen valley. In C. A. I. French, H. Lewis, M. J. Allen and M. Green (ed.) Prehistoric landscape development and human impact in the upper Allen valley, Cranborne Chase, Dorset: 251-262. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
  • Urmston, B., C. F. Gaffney, J. Gater & C. Stephens 2007. Geophysical Investigation of a WWII Aircraft Crash Site at Warton Marsh, Lancashire: the use of Magnetic and Electromagnetic Techniques. ISAP Newsletter 12: 4-7
  • Gaffney, C. F., G. Hughes & G. J.A. 2005. Magnetic Susceptibility Survey at King Lobengula's Palace KoBulawayo, Zimbabwe. Archaeological Prospection 12: 31-49
  • Walker, R., C. F. Gaffney, J. A. Gater & E. Wood 2005. Fluxgate Gradiometry and Square Array Resistance Survey at Drumlanrig, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Archaeological Prospection 12
  • Gaffney, C. F. & J. A. Gater 2004. Geophysical Survey at Turkdean. Britannia XXXV: 67-72
  • Gaffney, C. F., J. A. Gater, T. Saunders & J. Adcock 2004. D-Day: geophysical investigation of a World War II German site in Normandy, France. Archaeological Prospection 11: 121-128
  • Gaffney, C. F. & J. A. Gater 2003. Revealing the Buried Past: geophysics for archaeologists. Stroud: Tempus
  • Aspinall, A. & C. F. Gaffney 2001. The Schlumberger array - potential and pitfalls in archaeological prospection. Archaeological Prospection 8: 199-209
  • Gaffney, C. F. & V. L. Gaffney 2000. Non-invasive investigations at Wroxeter at the end of the twentieth century. Archaeological Prospection 7: 65-67
  • Gaffney, C. F., J. A. Gater, P. Linford, V. L. Gaffney & R. White 2000. Large-scale systematic fluxgate gradiometry at the roman city of Wroxeter. Archaeological Prospection 7: 81-99

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