Prehistoric archaeology; wetlands, environmental change and human responses, landscapes of the North Sea Plain, the European beaver, anthropomorphic wooden figurines, the heritage management of wetlands.
About this Fellow
As both a historian and an archaeologist of the early middle ages, I use written and physical evidence in equal measure: the interplay between environment, buildings, objects, and human activities has always fascinated me. My focus has been on England, but I have regularly pursued comparisons, especially with Francia, eastern Europe and Scandinavia. I have worked and published extensively on medieval social, economic and cultural history; on material culture and technology; on buildings and domestic environments; and on popular belief and religion. I have long practical experience in field archaeology, excavation, and the recording of buildings. Several years of work on the Anglo-Saxon local Church culminated in a substantial monograph published in 2005. During 2010-13, I investigated the material culture and built environment of Anglo-Saxon England with the support of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, which provided the material for my Ford Lectures in 2013. Since then, I have been pursuing (with two colleagues, and supported again by the Leverhulme Trust) one remarkable outcome: the recognition that technically sophisticated grid-planning, based on Roman surveying techniques, was widely used in Anglo-Saxon England.
Human evolution: the evolutionary ecology of extinct hominins; the evolution of human behaviour and culture; prehistory and archaeology of early human populations; evolutionary theory in archaeology and anthropology.
Medieval and social archaeology, particularly gender and religion; burial, magic and religious communities, including nunneries, monasteries, hospitals, Norwich Cathedral and Glastonbury Abbey
Prehistoric environmental archaeology with a particular emphasis on coastal wetland and intertidal environments especially in the Severn Estuary. Wider interests in archaeological science including geoarchaeology and experimental archaeology