I am an Arts & Humanities Research Council funded PhD researcher at the University of Reading who specialises in the archaeology of early medieval Britain (c. AD 410-1066). My research focuses on the transition from Late Roman society to the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of lowland England, primarily through the analysis of settlement and artefactual evidence.
During the latter half of the first millennium AD there are a series of incredibly rich settlement sites in southern Scandinavia and northern Germany. Because of their material wealth and impressive timber halls, they are often referred to as ‘central places’ after the influential geographic theory of Walter Christaller. Such sites operated at the apex of society and were the central nodes in wider socio-political networks. Archaeologists in these lands have developed a plethora of approaches to these sites, which can broadly (if a little unsatisfactorily so) be termed ‘central place archaeology’.
My doctoral thesis consists of a systematic and national examination of the geo-political landscape of early England. Although such studies are relatively common in north-western Europe, there is currently no overall framework for thinking about political consolidation and the emergence of places of power in early Anglo-Saxon England. In an attempt to fill this gap in the scholarship, I intend to create a framework for the study of pre-Viking ‘topographies of power’ that is sensitive to regional and chronological variation but coherent enough to be broadly applicable at a national scale. This will be achieved by employing a composite suite of multiscalar spatial and social analyses to the available settlement and artefactual data. The former will rely on published reports and ‘grey literature’ whilst the latter will focus on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database.