Helena Hamerow

Prof Helena Hamerow

Professor of Early Medieval Archaeology

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

Tel: +44 (0)1865 278245

Fax: +44 (0)1865 278254

E-mail: helena.hamerow@arch.ox.ac.uk

Research Interests

  • The archaeology of northwest Europe from AD 400-1000
  • Early medieval rural settlements and economy
  • The archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England
  • Links between England and mainland Europe c 400-700

Current Activities

My research and publications focus on the archaeology of rural communities in early medieval Europe, particularly in the North Sea Zone.  I am especially interested in the impact of the establishment of kingship, monasteries and towns on rural producers and on the early medieval countryside.  My publications in this area include two books, Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England (OUP 2012) and Early Medieval Settlements: The Archaeology of Rural Communities in Northwest Europe AD 400-900 (OUP 2002). More recently, I have been working on well-furnished female burials of seventh-century England (but also of the Frankish world) and what these can tell us about the role of women in the Conversion period.

I am also PI of a four-year ERC-funded project, ‘Feeding Anglo-Saxon England. The Bioarchaeology of an Agricultural Revolution’ (‘FeedSax’).  The aim of the project is to trace the emergence and spread of a package of three key innovations that enabled the farmers of early medieval England dramatically to increase cereal yields. The use of crop rotation, the widespread adoption of the mouldboard plough, and the extensification of cereal production, revolutionized medieval farming, enabling post-Roman populations to grow to unprecedented levels. Using preserved cereal remains, weed seeds, animal bones, pollen, and the excavated remains of farms, ‘FeedSax’ aims to generate the first direct evidence of medieval cultivation regimes.

I have also been involved in investigating the formation of the kingdom of Wessex, whose origins lie in the Upper Thames Valley. This has led to a project (‘The Origins of Wessex’) that is deploying a range of archaeological evidence to investigate the British contribution to West Saxon identity and explore how the leading families of the Gewisse (a group that came to be known as the West Saxons) used material culture and the landscape itself to consolidate their position (www.arch.ox.ac.uk/wessex).

I am co-Director of excavations at the Roman small town of Dorchester-on-Thames (www.arch.ox.ac.uk/DOT1) and PI of the AHRC-funded Novum Inventorium Sepulchrale, an on-line database of Anglo-Saxon graves and grave-goods from Kent (www.arch.ox.ac.uk/NIS1).   I am Editor of Anglo-Studies in Archaeology and History and General Editor (with John Blair) of the OUP series, ‘Medieval History and Archaeology’.  I also serve on the Editorial Board of the Oxford Journal of Archaeology, am a Vice-President of the Royal Archaeological Institute and a Trustee of Oxford Archaeology.  

Current & recently completed Research Students:

  • Bradley Hull (2008), Social Differentiation and Diet in Early Anglo-Saxon England: Stable Isotope Analysis of Archaeological Human and Animal Remains
  • Francis Morris (2009), North Sea and Channel Connectivity during the Late Iron Age and Roman Periods (175/150 BC-AD 409
  • Jane Kershaw (2010), Culture and Gender in the Danelaw: Scandinavian and Anglo-Scandinavian brooches, 850-1050 AD
  • Thomas Green (2011), A Re-evaluation of the Evidence of Anglian-British Interaction in the Lincoln Region
  • Christopher Ferguson (2011), Bernicia and the Sea. Coastal Communities and landscape in North-East England and south-east Scotland c.450-850 AD
  • Clifford Sofield (2012), Placed Deposits in Anglo-Saxon Settlements
  • Mark McKerracher (2014), innovations in Mid Saxon Agricultural Practices
  • Yurika Sakai, Isotopic analysis of fifth-century burials in England
  • Ioannis Choupas, The Archaeology and History of the Isle-de-France, c 400-800
  • Abigail Tompkins (2017), The Warwickshire Avon Valley in the late Roman to early Anglo-Saxon periods
  • Andreas During, Settlement Dispersal in the Early Middle Ages: An Agent-Based Demographic Model
  • Jessica Dunham, Roman objects recovered from Early Anglo-Saxon Graves
  • Eleanor Farber, 'Exploring Medieval Health, Diet and Migration at Stoke Quay, Ipswich 
  • Alexandra Johnson, Health and Nutrition in Viking Age Orkney and Yorkshire
  • Adam McBride, From Public Assemblies to Private Chambers: Changing the Nature of Power in 7th Century England

Selected Publications

  • 2017 ‘The circulation of garnets in the North Sea Zone, AD400-700’, in A. Hilgner, S. Greiff and D. Quast (eds), Gemstones in the First Millennium AD (Mainz, RGZM), 71-86.
  • 2016 ‘Furnished female burial in seventh-century England: gender and sacral authority in the Conversion Period’, Early Medieval Europe 24:4 (2016), 423-47.
  • 2015 with N. Brennan. ‘An Anglo-Saxon great hall complex at Sutton Courtenay/Drayton, Oxfordshire: A royal centre of early Wessex?’, The Archaeological Journal 172.2, 325-50.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00665983.2015.1010369
  • 2015 H. Hamerow, with A. Byard, E. Cameron, and A. Shortland, ‘A well furnished seventh-century female burial at West Hanney, Oxon.’, Antiquaries Journal 95, 91-118.
  • 2013 H. Hamerow, C. Ferguson and J. Naylor. The Origins of Wessex Pilot Project, Oxoniensia 78: 49-70.
  • Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England. (OUP, 2012)


  • 'The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology' ;edited with D. Hinton and S. Crawford. (OUP, 2011)
  • ‘Anglo-Saxon and earlier settlement near Drayton Road, Sutton Courtenay, Berkshire’ (with C. Hayden and G. Hey), The Archaeological Jl 164 (2008), 109-96
  • 'Intensification of agrarian production in Mid Saxon England', in J. Henning (ed), Post-Roman Towns, Trade and Settlement in Europe, Byzantium and Byzantium vol. 1 (De Gruyter – Berlin – New York, 2007), 219-32.
  • ‘Special Deposits in Anglo-Saxon settlements', Medieval Archaeology 50 (2006), 1-30.
  • 'The earliest Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms', in P. Fouracre (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History vol. 1, 263-88 (CUP, 2005)
  • Early Medieval Settlements: The Archaeology of Rural Communities in Northwest Europe, AD 400-900 (OUP 2002)
  • Migrations and Invasions in Archaeological Explanation (with J. Chapman, 1997)
  • Europe Between Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (with J. Bintliff, 1996)
  • Mucking: The Anglo-Saxon Settlement (English Heritage, 1993)

files/hamerow/Hamerow book jacket[1].JPG


Published Books

Hamerow, H., (2012), Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford University Press
Crawford, S. & Hamerow, H., (2009), Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, Volume 16 , Oxford: OUSA
Crawford, S. & Hamerow, H., (2008), Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, Volume 15, Oxford: OUSA
Gosden, C., Hamerow, H., De Jersey, P. and Lock, G., (2007), Communities and Connections : Essays in Honour of Barry Cunliffe., Oxford : Oxford University Press
Hamerow, H., (2002), Early Medieval Settlements: The Archaeology of Rural Communities in Northwest Europe, AD 400-900,, OUP: Oxford.
Hamerow, H. & MacGregor, A. (eds.), (2001), Image and Power and the Archaeology of Early Medieval Britain: Essays in Honour of Rosemary Cramp, Oxford: Oxbow Books

Journal Articles & Conference Proceedings


N. Christie, O. Creighton M. Edgeworth, H. Hamerow, Transforming Townscapes. From burh to borough: the archaeology of Wallingford, AD 800-1400.  Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 35.

H. Hamerow, C. Ferguson, J. Naylor,  'The "Origins of Wessex Pilot Project", Oxoniensia 78, pp. 49-69.

Hamerow, H., Hinton, D. and Crawford, S. (eds), (OUP), (2011),
Hamerow, H., (2010), The Development of Anglo-Saxon settlement layout, Landscape History , 31,5-22
Hamerow, H., (2010), Herrenhöfe in Anglo-Saxon England, Siedlungs- und Küstenforschung im Südlichen Nordseegebiet, 33,59-67
Hamerow, H., Booth, P. and Gosden, C. , (2010), Dark earths in the Dorchester allotments, Medieval Archaeology, 54, 414-6
Creighton, O., Christie, N., Edgeworth, N. & Hamerow, H., (2009), Wallingford, British Archaeology, May/June 2007,36-41
Hamerow, H., (2008), Commentary, Archaeological Review from Cambridge , 23 (2), 181-183
Hamerow, H., Hayden, C., and Hey, G., (2008), Anglo-Saxon and earlier settlement near Drayton Road, Sutton Courtney, Berkshire, The Archaeological Journal, 164,109-196
Hamerow, H., (2006), ‘Special Deposits’ in Anglo-Saxon settlements, Medieval Archaeology, 50,1-30

Contributions to Edited Books

Hamerow, H., (2011), Overview: in “Hamerow, H., Hinton, D. and Crawford, S.(eds), The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology”, pp 121-29, Oxford University PRess.
Hamerow, H., (2011), Timber buildings and their social context: in “Hamerow, H., Hinton, D. and Crawford, S.(eds), The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology”, pp 130-57, Oxford University Press.
Hamerow, H., (2010), Communities of the Living and the Dead. The Relationship Between Anglo-Saxon Settlements and Cemeteries, c AD 450-850: in “Henig, M. and Ramsey, N. (eds.), Intersections: The Archaeology and History of Christianity in England, 400-1200”, pp 71-6, Oxford: BAR.
Hamerow, H., (2009), The early Anglo-Saxon cemetery at St John’s Road, Wallingford’: in “Keats-Rohan, K., & Rolfe, D (eds.), The Origins of Wallingford. Archaeological and historical perspectives”, pp 13-16, BAR Brit. Series 494.
Hamerow, H., (2009), Early Medieval Settlements in Northwest Europe, AD 400-900: The social aspects of settlement layout: in “J.-A. Quirós Castillo (ed), The Archaeology of Early Medieval Village sin Europe. Las actas del Coloquio Internacional Arqueología de las aldeas en la Alta Edad Media”, pp 67-76, Universidad de País Vasco.
Brugmann, B., Hamerow, H. & Harlan, D., (2007), The Novum Inventorium Sepulchrale: Anglo-Saxon Graves and Grave Goods from Kent in the Sonia Hawkes Archive: in “Henig, M., and Smith, T-J. (eds.), Collectanea Antiqua: Essays in Memory of Sonia Chadwick Hawkes ”, pp 45-47, Oxford: BAR.
Hamerow, H., (2007), Intensification of agrarian production in Mid Saxon England: in “Henning, J. (ed.), Post-Roman Towns and Trade in Europe, Byzantium and the Near-East ”, pp 219-232, Berlin – New York: De Gruyter .
Hamerow, H., (2005), The Earliest Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: in “Fouracre, P. (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History vol. I., ”, pp 263-290, Cambridge University Press.
Hamerow, H., (2005), The Archaeology of Early Anglo-Saxon settlements: Past, Present and Future: in “Christie, N. (ed.), Landscapes of Change: Rural Evolution in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, ”, pp 301-316, Ashgate/Scolar Press,.
Hamerow, H., (2005), : in “Anglo-Saxon settlements in a post-Roman landscape, Dopo la fine delle ville: evoluzione nelle compagne dal VI al IX secolo”, pp 327-334, Seminario sul Tardo Antico E L’Alto Medioevo, University of Padua.
Hamerow, H.and Blair, J., (2003), Anglo-Saxon plaster-infilled timber wall: in “Hardy, A. et al. (eds.), Aelfric’s Abbey: Excavations at Eynsham Abbey, Oxfordshire 1989-92: ”, pp 207-209., Oxford: OUSA.
Hamerow, H., (2002), Mucking: in “Beck, H., Geuenich, D. and Steuer, H. (eds.), Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde Bd 20”, pp 279-282, Berlin: Walter de Gruyer.
Hamerow, H., (2002), Catholme: The development and context of the settlement: in “Kinsley, G. and Losco-Bradley, S. (eds.), Catholme: an Anglo-Saxon settlement on the Trent Gravels in Staffordshire.”, pp 123-129, English Heritage.
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