Remembering Dame Rosemary Cramp

By Lucy Baldwin

Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp, Emeritus Professor at Durham University has died aged 93. She became the University’s first female professor in 1971, in the Department of Archaeology.  

Professor Cramp was instrumental in founding Durham University’s Department of Archaeology in the 1950s. The department is now one of the University’s best regarded, ranked 10th in the world in the QS rankings in 2023.

Following her BA and later promotion to MA in English Language and Literature and a BLitt at St Anne’s College Oxford, Professor Cramp became an archaeology lecturer at Durham University in 1955.

After being promoted to professor she served as the Head of Department in Archaeology from 1971 to 1990. Throughout her academic career, Durham University described her as “collegial and public-spirited, always finding times for colleagues and students.”

Specialising in archaeology and the art of the early medieval world, Professor Cramp is best known for her work on the excavations of two twin monasteries at Monkwearmouth-Jarrow. These were once home to the Venerable Bede (namesake of St Hilde and St Bede College).  

Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp has been described by Durham University as “providing inspiration to many both within and beyond Archaeology”

Durham University

Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp also founded the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, a British Academy research project cataloguing Anglo Saxon sculpture from before the Norman Conquest in 1066. 

She further contributed to a number of public projects as a member of the British Museum, the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (previously Historic England) and the Council for British Archaeology. 

Professor Cramp was recognised for her important work in the field of archaeology, gaining a CBE in 1987 and a DBE in 2011 for services to scholarship. She was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2006 and served as President of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 2001-2004, amongst other honours. 

Recipient of four honorary degrees from the Universities of Bradford (2002), Cork (2003), Leicester (2004) and Cambridge (2019), Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp has been described by Durham University as “providing inspiration to many both within and beyond Archaeology.”

They added that, “Rosemary will be deeply missed by colleagues and friends.”

Image: Durham University

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