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Professor Grenville Astill

Professor Grenville Astill

Emeritus Professor

Areas of interest

Archaeology of Medieval Britain and Europe, with particular interests in:

  • medieval urbanisation
  • the medieval countryside and landscape archaeology
  • monasticism
  • technology and industry.


I have now retired from all undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Research projects

I am involved in two long-term research projects:

  • The Bordesley Abbey Project, one of the longest running research programmes on a European medieval monastery, based on a Cistercian foundation in Worcestershire. I have just completed for publication the report of an excavation in the area of the south cloister which provides important information for the later industrial reuse of Bordesley’s south range. The major effort is now devoted to an extensive archaeological and documentary survey of Bordesley's twenty granges which is one of the first attempts to use the material evidence in order to understand the character and dynamic of a monastic economy. A review of the grange work is in press.
  • The East Brittany Survey, designed to investigate the development of the landsape of an extensive area over the last two thousand years. The published results represent over twenty years of archaeological, architectural and documentary research. The later medieval material has further potential to form the basis of a reconsideration of the state of the fourteenth to sixteenth century countryside in Britain and Northern France.

Over the last five years I have become increasingly interested in the social aspects of urbanisation and have also sought to integrate the documentary, archaeological and numismatic evidence for the eighth to twelfth centuries, as reflected in the following publications:

  • 'Community, Identity and the Later Anglo-Saxon Town', in W. Davies, G. Halsall and A. Reynolds (eds), People and Space in the Middle Ages, 300-1300, Turnhout, 2006, 233-54.
  • 'Medieval Towns and Urbanization', in R. Gilchrist and A. Reynolds (eds), 1957-2007. SMA Anniversary Monograph, Leeds, 2009, 255-70.
  • 'Exchange, coinage and the economy of early medieval England'. In J. Escalona (ed), Scale and Scale Change in Western Europe in the First Millennium. Brepols.
  • 'Overview: Trade, Exchange and Urbanisation'. In S. Crawford, H. Hamerow and D. Hinton (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. OUP.

Academic qualifications

  • BA, PhD – University of Birmingham.

Professional bodies/affiliations

  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.


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