Dr Eleanor Standley

Associate Professor and Assistant Keeper in Medieval Archaeology (AD 500-1800)

Institute of Archaeology
36 Beaumont St, Oxford, OX1 2PG

Tel: +44 (0)1865 288013

Fax: +44 (0)1865 278254

E-mail: eleanor.standley@arch.ox.ac.uk


I studied for a BSc in Archaeology and then an MA in Historical Archaeology at Durham University. Staying at Durham I went on to complete my PhD on later medieval and early modern dress accessories in 2010. Later that year I joined the School of Archaeology and the Ashmolean Museum as University Lecturer and Assistant Keeper of the medieval archaeological collections.

My research focuses on the later medieval period in Britain and Europe, with a particular interest in themes of daily life. I am especially interested in the use and socio-cultural significance of everyday objects, and the people that used them. These interests transcend the traditional disciplinary boundary to incorporate literature, documentary and art historical evidence to understand more about daily life in the past. The Portable Antiquities Scheme data is also widely used in my studies. Identity, religion, memory, reuse, and the meaning of things and places are themes which feature greatly in my research. 

As the curator of the medieval collections in the Ashmolean, which date from c.AD 500 to 1800 and come from Britain, mainland Europe and Scandinavia, I have a broad ranging interest in historical archaeology. I would welcome applications from potential students, to supervise projects on later medieval archaeological topics, particularly those with a strong focus on artefacts.

Research Interests

  • Medieval artefacts
  • Historic dress
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to later medieval research
  • The archaeology of pilgrimage
  • Material culture and memory
  • Medieval graffiti
  • The transition period from later medieval to post-medieval
  • The history of medieval collections

Current Activities

My interests in the archaeology of pilgrimage and medieval graffiti are ongoing and I am currently working on a project to investigate these themes in the south of Britain.

I am currently researching understudied parts of the medieval collections in the Ashmolean, and working on a collaborative project with the Bodleian Library and Pitt Rivers Museum to commemorate the life and work of Percy Manning. I am also investigating the history of the Ashmolean Museum during the First World War.

I have recently assisted with fieldwork in the north-east of Spain, with Professor Christopher Gerrard (Durham University) as part of the Moncayo Archaeological Surveyproject.



FHS Paper 4 Urbanisation and Change in Complex Societies


MSt Archaeology option The Body and Adornment 

Museum practical classes for Archaeology, History of Art, Dept. of Continuing Education, and others.



Standley, E.R. 2013, Trinkets and Charms: The use, meaning and significance of dress accessories 1300-1700, Oxford University School of Archaeology Monograph: 78

Contributions to edited books:

Standley, E.R. forthcoming, ‘Dress, accessories and chattels: an investigation into personal items and memory’ in T. Martin and R. Weetch (eds.), Dress and Society: Contributions from Archaeology, Oxbow: Oxford

Standley, E., Hicks, D. and Forward A. 2013, ‘Post-Roman Europe’ in D. Hicks and A. Stevenson (eds.), World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: A characterization, Archaeopress: Oxford, 262–278

Standley, E. 2009, ‘Artefacts, archaeology and daily life’ in G. Beresford, Caldecote: The Development and Desertion of a Hertfordshire Village, Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 28: 232–4

Standley, E. 2007, ‘Glass bead’ in A. Barber, S. Cox and A. Hancocks, ‘Late Iron Age and Roman farmstead at RAF St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan.: Evaluation and excavation 2002–03’ Archaeologia Cambrensis 155, 49–115

Journal articles:

Standley, E. 2008, ‘Ladies Hunting: A late Medieval Decorated Mirror Case from Shapwick, Somerset’ The Antiquaries Journal 88: 198–206

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