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Mr Alex Davies 

  • Overview
Position:PhD Archaeology

Academic History

MA Archaeology. Distinction. 2012. Cardiff University
BA(Hons) Archaeology. First. 2011. Cardiff University.

PhD Research

Working Title: Social Organisation in the Upper and Middle Thames Valley from the Middle Bronze Age to the Middle Iron Age.

I am researching the Thames Valley from the end of the Middle Bronze Age to the beginning of the Middle Iron Age, looking at the extent and tempo of social and material change. This period saw the disappearance of both long distance bronze exchange networks and a landscape organised around field systems, and witnessed the appearance of special places - middens and hillforts - that provided a new means of structuring social reproduction.

The large commercial excavations in the area undertaken in the past few decades has led to a wealth of new material available for study. These large sites have mostly escaped synthesis into wider models of the workings of their prehistoric inhabitants and wider society. The primary aim of this study will be to assess this new dataset and provide a model for how we can understand the social and material change that we can see in the archaeological record from c.1200-150 BC, as well as evaluating the social roles of material items at given moments. This will be undertaken with a holistic approach to the evidence, looking at all aspects of the archaeological record – pottery, metalwork, settlement, landscape etc. With this approach the degree and tempo of change in the record can be evaluated and synchronised with other aspects of it.

I will draw on recent discussions in the anthropological and ethnographic literature regarding how and why change happens in societies, how time and the past is perceived and understood ethnographically as well as the degree in which material change can be related to social and cognitive change.

Start Date: October 2012

First Supervisor: Professor Niall Sharples
Second Supervisor: Professor Alasdair Whittle


Davies, A. 2014. ‘Cultural and Chronological Boundaries: Views from Anthropology and Later Prehistoric Britain.’ SHARE: Studies in History, Archaeology, Religion and Conservation.
Available online:
Conference papers:
Personal Ornaments in the Late Bronze Age-Earliest Iron Age in Britain. Later Prehistoric Finds Group. Hull 24th October 2014.

Does the traditional divide between the Bronze Age an Iron Age represent a real cultural boundary? A case study from the Thames Valley. Borders and Boundaries: A One-Day, Multidisciplinary, Research Symposium for Postgraduates in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University. Cardiff, 27th September 2013.

Additional information

Areas of interest

British Bronze and Iron Ages. Bronze Age metalwork. Cultural change. Identity. Ethnography.

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