Rosemary Cramp

Dame Rosemary Jean Cramp, DBE, FSA, FBA (born 6 May 1929) is a British archaeologist and academic specialising in the Anglo-Saxons. She was the first female professor appointed at Durham University and was Professor of Archaeology from 1971 to 1990. She served as President of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 2001 to 2004.

Rosemary Cramp

Rosemary Jean Cramp

(1929-05-06) 6 May 1929 (age 91)
TitleProfessor of Archaeology
Academic background
EducationMarket Harborough Grammar School
Alma materSt Anne's College, Oxford
Academic work
DisciplineArchaeology and medieval studies
Archaeology of northern England
Early medieval sculpture and glass
Early monasticism
InstitutionsSt Anne's College, Oxford
Durham University

Early life and educationEdit

Cramp was born on 6 May 1929 in Cranoe, Leicestershire, England.[1][2] She grew up on her father's farm in Leicestershire.[3][4] She was educated at Market Harborough Grammar, a grammar school in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.[5] At age 12, she found evidence of a Roman villa on her family land at Glooston.[6][7]

Cramp went on to study English language and literature at St Anne's College, University of Oxford.[3] She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree; as per tradition, her BA was later promoted to Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree.[1] She remained at St Anne's to complete a postgraduate Bachelor of Letters (BLitt) degree in 1950; her thesis concerned the relevance of archaeological evidence in relation to Old English poetry.[3]

Academic careerEdit

Cramp began her academic career at her alma mater, the University of Oxford.[5] She was a fellow and tutor of English at St Anne's College, Oxford, from 1950 to 1955.[1][3]

In 1955, she moved to Durham University as a lecturer in archaeology.[5] The Department of Archaeology was officially created the following year, in 1956, and specialised in Roman and Anglo-Saxon archaeology.[8] She was promoted to senior lecturer in 1966.[1] She became the first female professor at Durham University when she was appointed Professor of Archaeology in 1971.[4][9] She retired in 1990 and was appointed Professor Emerita.[5] On her retirement, The Rosemary Cramp Fund was established by the Department of Archaeology at the University of Durham to recognise individuals and groups who make a significant contribution to the archaeology and heritage of Britain and Ireland.[10]

In 1992, she was a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.[2]

Outside of her university work, she has held a number of voluntary positions. From 1975 to 1999, she served as a member of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.[2] She was a trustee of the British Museum between 1978 and 1998.[2] From 1984 to 1989, she was a member of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (now known as Historic England).[2] She served as Chairwoman of the Archaeology Data Service from 1996 to 2001.[2]

Cramp has held a number of senior appointments within academic organisations. She was President of the Council for British Archaeology from 1989 to 1992, and has been an Honorary Vice-President since 1992.[2][11] She was President of the Society for Church Archaeology from 1996 to 2000.[1] From 1992 to 1997, she was Vice-President of the Royal Archaeological Institute.[2] She was President of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 2001 to 2004.[1]

Excavations at Monkwearmouth-JarrowEdit

From 1963 to 1978, Cramp excavated at Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey, leading the team which discovered remains of the seventh and eighth-century buildings.[12] A final excavation occurred in 1984.[7] At the same time, Cramp was helping to develop and launch the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture.[13]

Prior to the excavations, little was known of the physical buildings beyond Bede's written references.[14] During excavations, some of the earliest stained glass in Britain were discovered; the glass also compromises the largest collection of seventh and eighth-century stained glass in Western Europe.[15] On reflecting on the excavation, Cramp described the moment, saying that the shards of glass "looked like jewels lying on the ground."[6] Cramp's excavations also revealed the later communities on the site, dating from the 11th to the 16th-century.[14]

The excavation reports were published in 2005 and 2006 through English Heritage.[16][17] In 2012, a bid to secure the site World Heritage status was launched, but the application was later suspended.[18][19] The bid described the importance of the site noting "its direct association with Bede, Biscop and Bede's teacher Ceolfrith makes it one of the most influential monastic sites in Europe."[20]


On 8 January 1959, Cramp was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA).[21] In 2006, she was elected Fellow of the British Academy (FBA).[9] In 2008, she was awarded the Gold Medal of the Society of Antiquaries of London; it is awarded "for distinguished services to archaeology".[22]

In 1987, Cramp was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).[2] In the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours, she was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) 'for services to scholarship'.[23]

She has been awarded a number of honorary degrees. She was awarded Honorary Doctor of Science degrees by Durham University in 1995,[1] by the University of Bradford in July 2002,[5] and the University of Cambridge in 2019.[24] She was awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters degrees by University College Cork in June 2003 and the University of Leicester in 2004.[1][3]

A Festschrift was published in Cramp's honour in 2001. It was titled Image and Power in the Archaeology of Early Medieval Britain: Essays in Honour of Rosemary Cramp, and was edited by Helena Hamerow and Arthur MacGregor. Contributors included Nancy Edwards and Martin Carver.[25] As second honorary volume was published in 2008; edited by Catherine Karkov and Helen Damico, Æedificia nova: Studies in Honour of Rosemary Cramp focused on the art, archaeology and literature of Anglo-Saxon England, and included an article by Cramp herself.[26]

Selected worksEdit

  • Cramp, Rosemary J. (1957). "Beowulf and Archaeology" (PDF). Medieval Archaeology. Society for Medieval Archaeology. 1: 57–77. doi:10.1080/00766097.1957.11735382.  
  • Cramp, R. J.; Lang, J. T. (1977). A Century of Anglo-Saxon Sculpture. Newcastle upon Tyne: Frank Graham. ISBN 978-0859830997.
  • Cramp, Rosemary (1984). Corpus of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture in England: Volume I, County Durham and Northumberland. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-726012-8.
  • Cramp, Rosemary (1984). Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture: General Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-85672-478-5.
  • Cramp, Rosemary (1986). "Anglo-Saxon and Italian Sculpture". Angli e Sassoni al di qua e al di là del mare: 26 aprile-lo maggio 1984. Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo. XXXII. Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo. pp. 125–140.
  • Bailey, Richard N.; Cramp, Rosemary (1988). Corpus of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture in England: Volume II, Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North-of-the-Sands. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-726036-5.
  • Cramp, Rosemary (1991). Grammar of Anglo-Saxon Ornament: A General Introduction to the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-726098-5.
  • Cramp, Rosemary (1992). Studies in Anglo-Saxon sculpture. London: Pindar Press. ISBN 978-0907132615.
  • Cramp, Rosemary (23 March 1994). "Obituary: Rupert Bruce-Mitford". The Independent. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  • Cramp, R. (2005). Wearmouth and Jarrow Monastic Sites, Volume 1. English Heritage. ISBN 978-1848022188.
  • Cramp, R. (2006). Wearmouth and Jarrow Monastic Sites, Volume 2. English Heritage. ISBN 978-1848022195.
  • Cramp, Rosemary (2005). Corpus of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture in England: Volume VII, South-West England. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-726334-1.
  • Cramp, Rosemary (2014). The Hirsel Excavations. Society for Medieval Archaeology. ISBN 978-1909662353.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Rosemary Jean CRAMP". People of Today. Debrett's. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "CRAMP, Dame Rosemary Jean". Who's Who 2016. Oxford University Press. November 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "TEXT OF THE INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS DELIVERED BY PROFESSOR EAMONN Ó CARRAGÁIN" (PDF). University of Cork. 6 June 2003. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b Addicott, Ruth (11 July 2011). "Digging detective". The Northern Echo. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e "PROFESSOR ROSEMARY CRAMP HONOURED BY UNIVERSITY OF BRADFORD". University of Bradford. 25 July 2002. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Digging detective". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  7. ^ a b Cramp, Rosemary (Spring 2019). "Rosemary Cramp: On celebrating the stone sculpture of the Anglo-Saxons" (PDF). British Academy Review: 26–33.
  8. ^ Charlie Taverner; Rowena Caine (23 June 2011). "Archaeology Professor made a Dame". Palatinate. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp". The British Academy. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Department of Archaeology : The Rosemary Cramp Fund - Durham University". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  11. ^ "President and Trustees". Council for British Archaeology. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Archaeological digs". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  13. ^ "The Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  14. ^ a b "Prof RJ Cramp - Durham University". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  15. ^ "Create your Exhibition of the North | 100 Objects of the North". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  16. ^ Cramp, Rosemary (2005). Wearmouth and Jarrow Monastic Sites, Volume 1. Swindon: English Heritage. ISBN 978-1848022188.
  17. ^ Cramp, Rosemary (2006). Weamouth and Jarrow Monastic Sites, Volume 2. Swindon: English Heritage. ISBN 978-1848022195.
  18. ^ "World heritage Status Bid Information". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  19. ^ "North-East heritage bid withdrawn". 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  20. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "The Twin Monastery of Wearmouth Jarrow". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  21. ^ "List of Fellows - C". Society of Antiquaries of London. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Society Gold Medallists". Society of Antiquaries of London. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  23. ^ "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. p. 7.
  24. ^ "Cambridge confers 2019 honorary degrees". University of Cambridge. 2019-06-19. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  25. ^ Hamerow, Helena; MacGregor, Arthur, eds. (2001). Image and Power in the Archaeology of Early Medieval Britain: Essays in Honour of Rosemary Cramp. Oxford: Oxbow. ISBN 978-1842170519.
  26. ^ Karkov, Catherine E; Damico, Helen (2008). Aedificia nova: studies in honor of Rosemary Cramp. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications. ISBN 9781580441100. OCLC 191758381.