Darrell is an archaeologist and ancient historian, with teaching and research emphases in the classical and Late Antique periods, particularly focused on the former Roman provinces of Arabia (i.e. the modern Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) and Britannia, as well as technical/methodological approaches to archaeological fieldwork and interpretation including remote sensing (e.g. LiDAR, aerial/satellite imagery, geophysics), GIS analysis, and 3D photogrammetry. Darrell also maintains a keen interest in the history of British chorography-antiquarianism that gave rise to the modern discipline of archaeology, and the role of theory in Archaeology. From 2010-2016, Darrell served as the Chairperson of the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (TRAC) Standing Committee, and is now a member of TRAC's international Advisory Panel.
Prior to his appointment at Canterbury Christ Church University, Darrell worked as a British School at Rome-funded postdoctoral researcher at Durham University, where he also completed his MA and PhD degrees in Archaeology. Previously, Darrell completed a BSc in Behavioural Science with an emphasis in Anthropological Archaeology at Andrews University (USA).
Darrell currently leads on the joint Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU)/Historic Environment Scotland (HES) "Hidden Landscape of a Roman Frontier Project," co-supervising (with Dr Lyn Wilson (HES) and Prof. Tim Champion (CCCU)) Nick Hannon's integrated remote sensing/landscape archaeology PhD on the Antonine Wall, Scotland's component of the expanding multi-national "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darrell is also involved in the archaeological and community development work at Hisban in central Jordan and will soon begin renewed fieldwork of the Hisban North Church, a 5th century Byzantine basilica that saw continued use into the Islamic period.
Research and knowledge exchange
The Hidden Landscape of a Roman Frontier: Aerial Laser Scanning, Spatial Analysis, and the Antonine Wall
As part of a collaborative partnership with Historic Scotland, Darrell will be the lead supervisor for a fully funded PhD student on a 3-year research project that will begin in October 2015. This project seeks to develop a comprehensive archaeological map of the former Roman frontier in Scotland, and will use cutting-edge aerial laser scanning (LiDAR) technology, colour infrared data, geophysics, spatial analysis, and the Scottish National Monuments Record (CANMORE) to inform our understanding of the Antonine Wall and its wider multi-period heritage landscape.
Late Roman to Early Islamic Tall Hisban (Jordan)
Tall Hisban is a multi-millennial ancient "tell" site in central Jordan, with occupation from the Iron Age through the Ottoman period. Excavations at the site began in 1968 and when the project team expanded to other sites within the region the Madaba Plains Project (MPP) was created--the longest-running archaeological project in the near east. Darrell is working with the MPP team to complete the final analysis and publication of the Late Roman to Early Islamic periods at Tall Hisban, which will be published by Andrews University Press.
Theory and Practice in Roman Archaeology
Darrell is preparing a monograph on current theory and practice within Roman archaeology, focusing on substantial changes that have occurred within the discipline since around 1990, when both the Journal of Roman Archaeology and the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (TRAC) first appeared. This traces the rise, fall, and transformation of major themes within approaches to Roman archaeological fieldwork and interpretation, particularly within English language scholarship. The influence of TRAC is critically evaluated, and the diversity of current approaches are explored through an examination of regional and national traditions within the discipline.
Teaching and subject expertise
Darrell currently leads curriculum development and teaching for two cross-listed modules available to students of both Archaeology and History:
- Introduction to the Ancient World - a first year survey of the archaeology and history of the ancient world, focusing on a critical introduction to the "great traditions" of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
- Roman Frontiers: Life and Interaction at the Edges of the Roman Empire - a third year interdisciplinary research-focused course that critically examines historical and archaeological materials and perspectives related to the frontiers of the Roman Empire and cultural interactions within and beyond the edges of the Roman world, including cross-regional and diachronic comparisons with other frontiers and borderlands (e.g. the US-Mexico Border).
Additionally, he convenes the Archaeological Fieldwork 1 & 2 fieldwork modules offered in years 2-3 and contributes to teaching on Introduction to Archaeology, Archaeological Skills, Approaches to Archaeological Interpretation, and Data Analysis in Archaeology modules for year 1 and 2 students. He is also busy preparing a new second-year module, Archaeological Computing, to be launched in 2018-19.
In 2014/15 Darrell led on the Archaeology Programme's validation of postgraduate research (MPhil, PhD) degrees, and is currently supervising the Archaeology programme's first research postgraduate student as part of the "Hidden Landscape of a Roman Frontier Project" in collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland. He is the lead for Archaeology postgraduate programmes (MPhil, PhD) at CCCU, and is currently the Archaeology Programme Director.
Darrell has particular subject expertise in the areas of: Roman archaeology, archaeological theory, Roman frontiers, the archaeology of place, the history of archaeology, Roman Scotland, Hadrian's Wall, the Antonine Wall, Roman and Byzantine Jordan, LiDAR and archaeological remote sensing, and the reception of classical culture in medieval and early modern Britain. Darrell is happy to discuss research supervision in any of these areas.
Publications and research outputs
Hannon, N., Rohl, D.J., and Wilson, L. (2017) The Antonine Wall's Distance-Slabs: LiDAR as Metric Survey. Journal of Roman Archaeology, 30: 447-468.
Rohl, D.J. (2015) Place Theory, Genealogy, and the Cultural Biography of Roman Monuments, pp. 1-16 in TRAC 2014: Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Oxford: Oxbow.
Historic Scotland (2014) The Antonine Wall: Frontiers of the Roman Empire website (http://www.antoninewall.org). [Following completion of his PhD thesis on the Antonine Wall, Darrell was contracted by Historic Scotland to write most of the content ("Visiting the Wall," "About the Wall," and "Research Resources" sections) for the World Heritage Site's new website.]
Rohl, D.J. (2012) Chorography: History, Theory and Potential for Archaeological Research, pp. 19-32 in TRAC 2011: Proceedings of the Twenty First Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Oxford: Oxbow.
Rohl, D.J. (2012) Arthur's O'on: A Lost "Wonder" of Britain, Part 1, Archaeolog.
Rohl, D.J. (2011) The Chorographic Tradition and Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century Scottish Antiquaries, Journal of Art Historiography, 5: 1-18.