Ms Deirdre O’Sullivan

Deirdre O'SullivanLecturer in Medieval Archaeology

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2607



Personal details

BA (National University of Ireland), MPhil (Durham)

I am a Lecturer in Archaeology in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History. A graduate in History and Archaeology from University College Dublin, my MPhil research dealt with the Early Christian Archaeology of Cumbria. I have previously worked as a field archaeologist and as a post-excavation researcher at Durham and St Andrews.

I am committed to the view that there should be much closer links between developer-led and academic archaeology and have extensive experience of working with contract archaeologists,  acting as a formal advisor to ULAS (University of Leicester Archaeology Services) on major medieval projects, including  Hemington Bridges (pub. 2009) Thorney Abbey (pub. 2006) Leicester Abbey (pub.2007)  Anglo Saxon Eye Kettleby (in prep) and several large medieval projects within the city, including  Bonners Lane (pub. 2007), St Nicholas Place (pub. 2010) and St Peters Church (in prep). I was also an academic advisor on the Richard III project, and on the Westgate : Greyfriars project in Oxford.

I have recently (2017 )helped to lead a training programme in Heritage Practice, supported by Historic England and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA), aimed at offering Continual Professional Development (CPD) for practising professional archaeologists.


At Leicester, I was responsible for introducing and running a Masters programme in Post Excavation Skills. I am currently involved in both campus-based and distance learning teaching and course design at undergraduate and post-graduate level, and lead or significantly assist with courses on World Archaeology AD, Medieval Archaeology, Living in Towns, The Archaeology of Urbanism, The Archaeology of Standing Buildings, and Critical Approaches to the Archaeological Heritage.



2013: In the Company of the Preachers: an archaeological Inventory  of Medieval Friaries in England and Wales. Leicester Archaeology Monograph 23.

(with R Young) 1995 Lindisfarne: Holy Island London: Batsford/English Heritage (second edition due 2010)

Papers and articles

2019 (forthcoming) “Friars, friaries and the Reformation. The dissolution of the Midlands friaries in 1538-39”, Midland History (special volume).

2018: “Medieval Friaries” in P.S. Barnwell (ed.) Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland 1150-1350, Rewley House Studies in the Historic Environment, 7, Donington: Shaun Tyas, 149-167

2017: “The Importance of Being Viking” in E. Cambridge and J. Hawkes (eds) Crossing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Art, Material Culture Languages and Literature of the  Early Medieval World Oxford: Oxbow 141-148

2016:  ‘MOOCs and the Middle Ages: England in the Time of King Richard III’ The Historian, 129: 10-17.

2014:  ‘Cumbrian Parish Origins’ , in  K. Stringer (ed.) North-West England from the Romans to the Tudors. Kendal: Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 61-86.

2014: (with Alex Moseley) ‘MOOCs: challenging the sacred cows of education; ‘England in the time of King Richard III’ British Archaeology 138, 25-27.

2013: ( with R. Buckley, M. Morris, J. Appleby, T. King,  and L. Foxhall)  “The king in the car park’: New light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485” Antiquity 87: 336 -43.

2013:  “Burial of the Christian Dead in the Later Middle Ages” in Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and Burial, Editors: S Tarlow , L Nilsson Stutz L. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 259-280

2012: (with R.Young) “A world apart? Translating the archaeology of the sacred in the modern world”, World Archaeology 44:3,  342-358

2012 ’Becoming Ancient Ruins: Monastic Remains as 'Facts on the Ground’' in Material Worlds: Narrating Objects, Collecting Stories. Editors: S. Dudley, A.J. Barnes, J. Binnie, J. Petrov and J Walklate Routledge, 103 -118

2011: Normanising the North: the evidence of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Scandinavian Sculpture’ Medieval Archaeology 55:163-191

2006: “The ‘Little Dissolution’ of the 1520s”, Post Medieval Archaeology 40 (ii): 1-32

2001: 'Space silence and shortage on Lindisfarne: the archaeology of asceticism' in H Hamerow and A McGregor (eds.) Image and Power in the Archaeology of Early Medieval Britain. Essays in Honour of Rosemary Cramp Oxford: Oxbow33-52


My main area of research has been the archaeology of medieval monasticism in the British Isles, spanning the period c. AD 500-1600. In recent years the focus of this has been medieval friaries and I am currently working on further analytical studies of these as urban places. I also engage with the contemporary practice of religion. You can find out more about my recent AHRC funded project (with R. Young) on contemporary religion in the city of Leicester, titled Mapping Faith and Place, online.

I have a wider interest in urban archaeology  and have also worked in the field of gender and representation, and with the role of archaeology within cultural heritage.


I have supervised  twelve doctoral students to completion in the fields of medieval archaeology, Sikh Heritage, cultural heritage evaluation and interpretation and  archaeological ethics, and am currently supervising  or co-supervising  theses dealing with the archaeology of Christian religious conversion in France,  medieval urban heritage in England,  and developer-led archaeology in Ireland.

Share this page: