Derek studied at the Dorset Institute of Higher Education, Weymouth where he gained a Certificate in Practical Archaeology (graduating in 1978). From 1976 to 1980 he worked on archaeological sites throughout Scotland and England, including one of the first urban rescue excavations in Scotland in advance of the Elgin Relief road.
In 1980 he joined the Urban Archaeology Unit, the predecessor of the Scottish Urban Archaeological Unit (SUAT). From 1982-1985 he was a Senior Supervisor for SUAT on several major excavations before being appointed Field Officer. In 1996 he was seconded to Historic Scotland as an Inspector of Ancient Monuments, before returning to SUAT as Depute Director until its demise in 2009. He has extensive research interests in Scottish Medieval Pottery and medieval hospitals and monastic granges. He is currently Editor of the Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal and editor of Medieval Ceramics (annual journal of the Medieval Pottery Research Group).
(2014) ‘The pottery and ceramics’ in Perry, D ‘The Dundee Sugar House, Seagate, Dundee’ Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal Volume 19/20, 111–116 (Joint authorship with Richard Jones).
(2014) ‘Preliminary Fieldwork and Analysis of Three Scottish Medieval ‘Deer Parks’ in Baker, K, Carden, R and Madgwick, R (eds) Deer and People, Windgather Press, 240–247 (Joint authorship with Kevin Malloy and Richard Oram).
(2014) ‘Here be monstrous fabrics’ … Constructing a research agenda for the hand-made wares of the Scottish West Coast, Highlands and Islands’ in Mytum, H and Davey, P Medieval Ceramics 34, 19–26.
(2014) ‘Early Christian Long cists at Pitkerro, Drumsturdy Road, Dundee and Market Knowe, Longforgan’ Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal Volume 19/20, 49–60 (Joint authorship with Ray Cachart).
(2013) ‘The Pottery’ in ‘Excavation of an unnamed castle at Cullykhan, Castle Point, Troup’ by Moira Greig Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 142 (2012), 315–317.
(2013) ‘Prestigious Landscapes: An Archaeological and Historical Examination of the Role of Deer at Three Scottish Medieval Parks’ Eolas: Journal of the American Society of Irish Medieval Studies 6, 68–87 (Joint authorship with Kevin Malloy and Richard Oram).
(2013) ‘Medieval Pottery’ in ‘Pictish byre houses at Pitcarmick and their landscape: investigations 1993–95’ by M Carver, J Barrett, J Downes and J Hooper Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 142 (2012), 179–180.
(2013) ‘Gone Fishing! New evidence for the fish trade in the North Sea’ in Bintliff, J and Caroscio, M (eds) Pottery and Social Dynamics in the Mediterranean and Beyond in Medieval and Post Medieval TimesBritish Archaeological Reports International Series 2557, 73–78.
(2013) ‘Ceramics’ in ‘Eldbotle: the archaeology and environmental history of a medieval rural settlement in East Lothian’ by E Hindmarch and R Oram Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 142 (2012), 254 (Joint authorship with George Haggarty).
(2012) ‘The Ceramics’ in Perth High Street Archaeological Excavation 1975–1977 Fascicule 2 The ceramics, metal work and wood, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Committee Perth 2012, 1–74 (Joint authorship with George Haggarty and the late Alan Vince).
(2012) ‘Interpreting the ceramics and glass’ in Barrett, J (ed) Being an islander:production and identity at Quoygrew, Orkney AD900–1600.
(2011) Sourcing Scottish Redwares Medieval Pottery Research Group Occasional Paper Number 5 (Joint authorship with George Haggarty and Simon Chenery).
(2011) ‘A hunting we will go?’– University of Stirling's Medieval Deer Parks Project’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal Vol 17 (Joint authorship with Kevin Malloy and Richard Oram).
(2010) ‘New dating evidence for North Sea trade between England, Scotland and Norway in the 11th century AD’, Radiocarbon 52 (Joint authorship with G.Cook and W.D.Hamilton).
(2009) ‘Excavations at New Carron Road, Stenhousemuir’ Medieval Ceramics 30.
(2007) ‘Excavations at the pottery production centre of Colstoun, East Lothian 1939, 1969, 1971, 1977 and 1999/2000’ Medieval Ceramics 28.
(2006) ‘‘Unto yone hospital at tounis end’: the Scottish medieval hospital’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal 12, 89–106. Perth.
(2006) Scottish Monastic Landscapes. (Tempus Publishing Ltd, Stroud).
(2005) ‘What’s cooking? New radiocarbon dates from the earliest phases of the Perth High Street excavations and the question of Perth’s early medieval origin’ (Joint author with M Hall and G Cook), Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Volume 135, 273–285.
(2005) ‘The Perth Charterhouse’ (Joint author with Dr Richard Fawcett) Tayside and Fife Archaeology Journal, 46–53.
(2005) ‘Watching brief on environmental improvements around St John’s Kirk, Perth’ (Joint author with C Fyles and J Roberts), Tayside and Fife Archaeology Journal 11, 18–45.
(2003) ’25 years of Scottish Pottery Studies’ (Joint author with G Haggarty and C Murray) Medieval Ceramics Volume 24.
(2003) ‘The Medieval hospitals of Perth and Kinross’, Journal of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science 17, 73–95.
(2002) Burgess, Merchant and Priest: Burgh life in the Scottish medieval town (part of Historic Scotland / Birlinn series ‘Discovering Scotland’).
(2001) ‘The rescue excavation of some medieval redware pottery kilns at Stenhousemuir, Falkirk between 1954 and 1978’, Medieval Archaeology Vol XLV.
(2000) ‘25 years of urban archaeology in Scotlands’ medieval burghs’ in Conservation and Change in Historic Towns, Council for British Archaeology research report 122.
(1998) ‘The Scottish medieval pottery industry: a pilot study’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal 4.
(1997) ‘Excavations at Market Street, St Andrews’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Monograph 1.
(1995) ‘Survey and excavation at the Bishop’s Palace, Dunblane’, The Scottish Archaeological Journal 1.
(1995) ‘Excavations at St Nicholas Farm, St Andrews, 1986–87’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal 1.
(1995) ‘Pre-Burghal St Andrews: Towards a Research Design’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal 1.
(1995) ‘Blind Date – Scottish medieval pottery industries’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal 2.
(1995) ‘Pottery from excavations in Perth’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
(1995) ‘Pottery from excavations in St Andrews’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Monograph 1.
(1995) ‘Excavations at St Leonards School, St Andrews’, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Monograph 1.
(1995) ‘The archaeology of Elgin’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 128.
(1995) ‘The Middle Ages’ in The Perthshire Book, (ed) D Omand.
(1995) ‘The Scottish Medieval Pottery Industry’, in Townships to Farmsteads; Rural settlement studies in Scotland, England and Wales, BAR 293.
(1989) ‘Excavations at Whitefriars Street, Perth’, Three Scottish Carmelite Friaries, Society of Antiquaries Monograph 6.
(1982) ‘Report on pottery from Lesmahagow Priory’, Glasgow Archaeological Journal.
(1982) ‘Excavations at Scalloway Castle, Shetland’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.