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Dr Stuart Prior

Medieval Archaeology, Castle Studies & Archaeological Practice

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.

Since 2005, I have been Co-Director of the Berkeley Castle Project, a long-term archaeological research project that conducts annual fieldwork at Berkeley Castle, Glous. The Project’s objective is 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 has 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.

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).

Research keywords

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