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Dr Stuart Prior

Dr Stuart Prior

Dr Stuart Prior
H.N.D. (Bournemouth), B.A.(Bristol), M.A.(Bristol), Ph.D.(Bristol)

Reader in Archaeological Practice

Area of research

Medieval Archaeology, Castle Studies & Archaeological Practice

3rd Floor,
Senate House, Tyndall Avenue BS8 1TH
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 6062


My research focuses primarily on Medieval Archaeology and Castle Studies, and more recently upon Death, Burial and the Funerary Industry, whilst my teaching focuses on Archaeological Practice and Landscape Archaeology. I also have research interests in Ancient Technology, Warfare and Experimental Archaeology, and a professional interest in Archaeological Health and Safety and Professional Practice.

I am currently conducting research on the Archaeology of the Anarchy Period for a publication examining the castles and structures surviving from one of the darkest chapters in English history, the first English Civil War, c.1139-53 AD.  Whilst, as a former gravedigger, I am acutely aware of the current burial space crisis in the funerary industry in the UK, and am leading a research project examining the oral history of gravediggers and cemetery operatives.

From 2005 to 2019, I was Co-Director of the Berkeley Castle Project, a long-term archaeological research project that conducted annual fieldwork at Berkeley Castle, Glous. The Project’s objective was to build a detailed picture of the history and archaeology of the castle and the associated settlement of Berkeley, and the focus for the project can be described as ‘Minster, Manor & Town’. The project uncovered a multi-period site with archaeological features from every period from the Romans to the (second) English Civil War, with significant evidence of a high-status Anglo-Saxon Minster. I am particularly interested in the transition from the Anglo-Saxon minster landscape to the Norman feudal castle-centered landscape.

In 2020, a new season of archaeological fieldwork will begin at a new site related to the anarchy and more details of this will be added here soon.

Having worked in Contract Archaeology for 10 years before joining the University, I have a professional interest in Archaeological Health and Safety and Professional Practice.  From 2011 to 2014, I worked with a group of specialists from industry and commerce helping to develop national H&S policy, acting as advisors for the Health and Safety Executive regarding the CDM Regulations and Archaeology. In 2014, I was elected to the Advisory Council for the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA).


Specialist in Early Medieval & Medieval Archaeology, Castle Studies and Archaeological Practice.


Qualifications & Relevant Experience:

2016 to date: Reader in Archaeological Practice - Uni. of Bristol

2010 to 2016: Senior Teaching Fellow in Archaeological Practice - Uni. of Bristol

2006 to 2010: Teaching Fellow in Archaeological Practice - Uni. of Bristol

1996 to 2005: Professional Field Archaeologist, Researcher & Archivist (Contract Archaeology)

2000 to 2004: Ph.D. Archaeology - Uni. of Bristol (Title: ‘Winning Strategies: An archaeological study of Norman castles in the landscapes of Somerset, Monmouthshire and Co. Meath, 1066-1186’)

1999 to 2000: M.A. (Commendation) Landscape Archaeology - Uni. of Bristol

1997 to 1999: B.A. (First Class Honours) Archaeology - Uni. of Bristol

1995 to 1997: H.N.D. (Distinction) Practical Field Archaeology - Bournemouth University


Professional Associations:

  • Associate of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (ACIfA).
  • Member of the Council for British Archaeology

Aerial Photo of BCP Excavations 2013


I have a wide range of teaching experience at all levels of Higher Education, from CE, through BA and MA, to MPhil and PhD supervision. I teach a variety of topics, but am primarily responsible for the development, management and provision of teaching and learning in professional and vocational archaeology. I deliver much of the Department’s specialised practical training (including Directing the Department's annual training excavation), ensuring that any training or instruction provided conforms to current industry standards, codes of approved practice and health and safety legislation.

At undergraduate level, I designed, developed and now deliver the 'Archaeological Practice' (ARCH10016) and 'Post-Excavation Analysis' (ARCH20059) units, and more recently also introduced the 'Work placement in Archaeology/Cultural Heritage' (ARCH30046) unit to get students ready for the workplace. I also teach a specialist unit on Castles (ARCH30045) which is informed by my research interests. I can deliver specialised MA level units and programmes providing essential professional/vocational field skills training, and am currently supervising three Ph.D. students and one MPhil student, researching a wide range of topics: The Processing and use of Hides, Skins and Furs in Late Prehistoric Europe; Liminal Political Boundaries and the Danelaw; and Aspects of Early Medieval Burial in Western and Northern Britain, AD 400-1100. I am always happy to discuss potential topics for development to MPhil/PhD study.

Archaeology in Practice BCP13




  • Early Medieval Archaeology
  • Medieval Archaeology
  • Castle Studies
  • Archaeological Practice
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Ancient Technology
  • Experimental Archaeology
  • Health and Safety



Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Academics by department

Selected publications

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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