Photo of Stuart J Prior

Dr Stuart J Prior

H.N.D. (Bournemouth), B.A.(Bristol), M.A.(Bristol), Ph.D.(Bristol)

  • BS8 1TH


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

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.

From 2005 to 2019, I was Co-Director of the Berkeley Castle Project, a long-term archaeological research project that conducted annual fieldwork at Berkeley Castle, Glous. The Project’s objective was 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 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.

In 2020, a new season of archaeological fieldwork will begin at a new site related to the anarchy and more details of this will be added here soon.

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).

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Research Output

  • Archaeology of Trowbridge Castle During the Anarchy: Film and 3D Fly-through for DVD Release

    Prior, S. J., 2013, Trowbridge Castle DVD.

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review (Specialist Publication)

  • Late Saxon Pottery from Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Gloucester

    Prior, S. J. & Vince, A., 2012, In : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. 130, p. 143-149 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • Activities

    • 3 Participation in conference
    • 3 Invited talk

    A Dead Good Job: gravedigging in Bristol municipal cemeteries

    Stuart J Prior (Participant), & Helen Frisby (Participant)

    23 Feb 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    MShed / UWE Regional History Centre Talks

    Stuart J Prior (Participant), & Helen Frisby (Participant)

    17 Jan 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

    International Conference on Death, Dying and Disposal

    Stuart J Prior (Participant), & Helen Frisby (Participant)

    7 Sep 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Supervised Work

    Arnos Vale South Bristol : The Life of a Cemetery

    Author: Udall, L., 25 Jun 2019

    Supervisor: Robson Brown, K. (Supervisor) & Prior, S. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

    The Archaeology of the Fortifications constructed in England during the English Civil War (1642-1651): : Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester

    Author: Israel, R., 26 Jun 2019

    Supervisor: Carrier, N. (Supervisor) & Prior, S. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy (MPhil)


    'Winning strategies' : an archaeological study of Norman castles in the landscapes of Somerset, Monmouthshire & Co. Meath, 1066-1186

    Author: Prior, S., 2004

    Supervisor: Aston, M. (Supervisor) & Horton, M. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)