Skip to main content
Ben Jervis

Dr Ben Jervis

Reader in Archaeology (Study Leave to 2026/7)

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am Reader in Archaeology, specialising in the archaeology of medieval Britain, urbanism and material culture. From October 2022-September 2027 I will on research leave as PI of the UKRI funded project ENDURE: Urban Life in a Time of Crisis: Enduring Urban Lifeways in Later Medieval Britain. This project explores the lived experiences of small town communities in later medieval England through the period of the 14th Century crisis. It combines the analysis of excavation data and standing buildings with the undertaking of scientific analysis to understand continuity and change in urban lifeways.

Prior to this project I was Co-I (with Dr Chris Briggs) on the Leverhulme Trust funded project Living Standards and Material Culture in English Rural Households 1300-1600, which examined the material culture of non-elite rural and small town households through a combination of archaeological and historical evidence. I have also undertaken research into medieval urban development and the impact of the Norman Conquest, the latter through the study of diet. I am currently collaborating with Dr Karen Dempsey on the development of a comparative approach to non-elite medieval lived experiences in Ireland and Britain. My work also applies archaeological theory (particularly Assemblage Theory) to archaeological questions.

I was Head of Archaeology & Conservation during 2021-22 and programme lead for Archaeology & Conservation between 2019–21. I sit on the committee of the Medieval Europe Research Community and have previously been a steering group member of University Archaeology UK (responsible for professional accreditation) and the Medieval and Later Pottery Research Group.
















  • Jervis, B. 2010. Pottery. In: Thomas, G. ed. The later Anglo-Saxon settlement at Bishopstone. A downland manor in the making. Council for British Archaeology, pp. 87-101.



Adrannau llyfrau





Research Projects & Interests

ENDURE: Urban Life in a Time of Crisis: Enduring Urban Lifeways in Later Medieval England

This project, funded by a UKRI Frontiers Research Grant explores the impact of the 14th century crises on small town communities in England. The project capitalises on a critical mass of excavation data and scientific approaches (isotopic analysis and organic residue analysis) to explore how lifeways were transformed by, or persisted through, this period of crisis. The project builds on earlier research into urban fortunes focussed on the towns of south-east England. Further details can be found on the project website.

Related publications:

Jervis, al. 2021. The archaeology of emptiness? Understanding open urban spaces in the medieval world. Journal of Urban Archaeology 4

Jervis, B. 2020. Resilience and society in medieval Southampton: An archaeological approach to anticipatory action, politics and economy. In: Jones, C., Kostick, C. and Oschema, K. eds. Making the Medieval Relevant How Medieval Studies Contribute to Improving our Understanding of the Present. De Gruyter, pp. 255-276.

Jervis, B. 2018. Assemblage urbanism: becoming urban in late Medieval Southampton. Archaeological Dialogues 25(2), pp. 135-160. (10.1017/S138020381800017X)

Jervis, B. 2016. Decline or Transformation? Archaeology and the Late Medieval ‘Urban Decline’ in Southern England. The Archaeological Journal 174.

Jervis, B. 2015. Assessing urban fortunes in six late medieval ports: an archaeological application of assemblage theory. Urban History

Living Standards and Material Culture in English Rural Households 1300-1600 (2017-2021)

The project (undertaken in collaboration with Dr Chris Briggs, University of Cambridge and funded by a grant from the Leverhule Trust), seeks to understand the consumption patterns of medieval rural communities. How did these differ from those of urban communities? How did they change through time? What was the role of everyday objects in the negotiation of social identity? The project seeks to address these questions through the integrated analysis of escheators inventories found in manorial records and material culture excavated from medieval rural sites. A pilot project was funded by the Newton Trust and the Economic History Society. The project archive is available on the Archaeology Data Sevice

Related Publications:

Jervis, B. 2021. Old things and aspirational households in 15th century England: The case of William Mavndvile of Colnbrook, Middlesex. In: Hawkins, K. and Boughton, D. eds. Back in the Bag: Papers in the Memory of David W. Williams, Spoilheap, pp. 101-110.

Briggs, C., Forward, A. and Jervis, B. 2021. Living standards and material culture in English rural households 1300-1600. Data Paper. Internet Archaeology 56

Briggs, al. 2019. People, possessions and domestic space in the late medieval escheators' records. Journal of Medieval History 45(2), pp. 145-161. (10.1080/03044181.2019.1593624)

Jervis, B., Briggs, C. and Tompkins, M. 2015. Exploring text and objects: Escheator's inventories and material culture in Medieval English rural households. Medieval Archaeology , pp. 168-92.

Dietary Change and The Norman Conquest (2018-2020)

I have a long running interest in the impact of the Norman Conquest on everyday life. This began during my PhD where I analysed cooking practices in early medieval Southampton by examining use wear on pottery. I have recently collaborated with Dr Alex Livarda (Nottingham) and Dr Fiona Whelan (Oxford) to review the archaeological and historical evidence relating to the impact of conquest on diet. I recently completed a project with Dr Richard Madgwick (Cardiff) and Dr Elizabeth Craig-Atkins (Sheffield) on a project exploring the impact of diet using a variety of scientific techniques. Funded by the Society of Antiquaries, The Royal Archaeological Institute, The Society for Medieval Archaeology and Cardiff University.

Related publications:

Dunne, al. 2021. Finding Oxford's medieval Jewry using organic residue analysis, faunal records and historical documents. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 13, article number: 48.

Craig-Atkins, al. 2020. The dietary impact of the Norman Conquest: a multiproxy archaeological investigation of Oxford, UK. PLoS ONE 15(7), article number: e0235005. (10.1371/journal.pone.0235005)

Jervis, B., Livarda, A. and Whelan, F. 2017, 'Conquest and cuisine: Interdisciplinary perspectives on food, continuity and change in 11th century England and beyond', in C. Dyer and D. Hadley (eds), The Archaeology of the 11th Century, Routledge.

Jervis, B. 2014. Pottery and social life in medieval England: Towards a relational approach. Oxbow Books.

Jervis, B. 2013. Conquest, ceramics, continuity and change. Beyond representational approaches to continuity and change in early medieval England: a case study from Anglo-Norman Southampton. Early Medieval Europe 21(4), pp. 455-487.

Jervis, B. 2013. Objects and social change: a case study from Saxo-Norman Southampton. In: Jones, A. M., Alberti, B. and Pollard, J. eds. Archaeology After Interpretation: Returning Materials to Archaeological Theory.   Left Coast Press, pp. 219-234.

Anglo-Saxon Pottery in Southern England

This has been a key research area since my undergraduate research into the Anglo-Saxon pottery from Bishopstone in Sussex. My MA dissertation examined pottery production in the late Saxon town of Chichester and during my PhD I worked on material from Southampton and its region. Through my involvement in the Lyminge Archaeology Project, directed by Dr Gabor Thomas (Reading) my interests have examined into Kent. Recently I have collaborated with colelagues working in commercial archaeological units in the region to assess the current state of knowledge and highlight areas for future research and have also considered the relationship between imported pottery and identity in early Anglo-Saxon Kent.

Related Publications:

Jervis, al. 2016. Early Anglo-Saxon pottery in South East England: recent work and a research framework for the future. Medieval Ceramics 36

Jervis B. 2016, 'Changing Places? Place-making in Anglo-Saxon Hamwic, Southampton and Winchester', in Jervis, B., Broderick, L. and Grau Sologestoa, I. eds. Objects, Environment and Everyday Life in Medieval Europe, Brepols, 235-60.

Jervis, B. 2016, 'Trade, Cultural Exchange and Coastal Identities in Early Anglo-Saxon Kent: A Ceramic Perspective'. In: Willemsen, A. and Kik, H. eds. Golden Middle Ages in Europe. New Research into Early-Medieval Communities and Identities, Brepols. pp. 57-63.

Jervis, B. 2015. The context of pottery production in Late Saxon Chichester, England. In: Thuillier, F. and Louis, E. eds. Tourner autour du pot... Les ateliers de potiers médiévaux du Ve au XIIe siècle dans l’espace européen, Actes du colloque international de Douai (8-10 octobre 2010).  Caen:  Presses universitaires de Caen.

Jervis, B. 2015. Provisioning and Diet in Hamwic (mid-Saxon Southampton): New data and new perspectives. In: Jervis, B., Howard, W. and Bedigan, K. eds. Food & Drink in Archaeology, Vol. 4.  Prospect Books, pp. 110-127.

Jervis, B. 2014. Middens, memory and the effect of waste. Beyond symbolic meaning in archaeological deposits. An early medieval case study. Archaeological Dialogues 21(02), pp. 175-196.

Jervis, B. 2012. Medieval pottery from Romsey: an overview. Hampshire Studies 67(Pt II), pp. 32-46.

Jervis, B. 2012. Making-do or making the world? Tempering choices in Anglo-Saxon pottery manufacture. In: Jervis, B. and Kyle, A. eds. Make-do and mend: Archaeologies of compromise, repair and reuse.   Archaeopress, pp. 67-80.

Jervis, B. 2011. A patchwork of people, pots and places: Material engagements and the construction of 'the social' in Hamwic (Anglo-Saxon Southampton), UK. Journal of Social Archaeology 11(3), pp. 239-265.

Morris, J. and Jervis, B. 2011. What's so special? A reinterpretation of Anglo-Saxon 'special deposits'. Medieval Archaeology 55(1), pp. 66-81.

Jervis, B. 2011. Medieval pottery in East Hampshire: a preliminary survey. Medieval Ceramics 32, pp. 34-54

Jervis, B. 2010. Pottery. In: Thomas, G. ed. The later Anglo-Saxon settlement at Bishopstone. A downland manor in the making.  Council for British Archaeology, pp. 87-101.

Jervis, B. 2009. Pottery from late Saxon Chichester: A reassessment of the evidence. Sussex Archaeological Collections 147, pp. 61-76.

Jervis, B. 2008. Pottery and identity in Saxon Sussex. Medieval Ceramics 29, pp. 1-8.

Archaeology and Text

An emerging area in my research is the understanding of the relationship between archaeological material culture and text. My work on medieval inventories and medieval guild rules seeks to view documents as a form of active material culture and to examine the social implications of the action of writing things down.

Related Publications:

Jervis, B. and Semple, S. 2020. Object worlds. textual materialities in a time of transition. In: Semple, S. and Lund, J. eds. A Cultural History of Objects in the Medieval Age. Volume 2: A Cultural History of Objects in the Medieval Age., Vol. 2. Bloomsbury, pp. 189-213.

Jervis, B. 2019. Assemblage thought and archaeology. Themes in Archaeology. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Briggs, al. 2019. People, possessions and domestic space in the late medieval escheators' records. Journal of Medieval History 45(2), pp. 145-161. (10.1080/03044181.2019.1593624)

Jervis, al. 2018. Archaeologies of rules and regulation: between text and practice. Berghahn.

Jervis, B. 2018. Rules, identity and a sense of place in a medieval town: the case of Southampton's Oak Book. In: Jervis, B. et al. eds. Archaeologies of Rules and Regulation: Between Text and Practice. Berghahn, pp. 25-42

Jervis, B., Briggs, C. and Tompkins, M. 2015. Exploring text and objects: Escheator's inventories and material culture in Medieval English rural households. Medieval Archaeology , pp. 168-92.

Jervis, B. 2014. Pots as things: value, meaning and medieval pottery in relational perspective. In: Blinkhorn, P. and Cumberpatch, C. eds. The Chiming of Crack'd Bells: Recent Approaches to the Study of Artefacts in Archaeology. British Archaeological Reports International Series, Vol. 2677. Oxford:  Archaeopress, pp. 3-16.

Conferences and Sessions Organised

I have organised sessions at international conferences including the International Medieval Congress, Theoretical Archaeology Groups and European Association of Archaeologists conference on a range of themes relating to my research interests.

Sessions (Since 2016):

Cappacious Archaeologies (with Andy M. Jones, University of Southampton and Ing-Marie Back Danielsson, Uppsala University). Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference 2019 (London).

Crafting Relevant Stories: Steps Towards a Socially Engaged Urban Archaeology (with Monika Baumanova, University of West Bohemia). European Association of Archaeologists Annual Meeting 2019 (Bern).

Medieval Non-Places: Sites of Transience in the Medieval World (with Dries Tys, VUB), European Assoiation of Archaeologists Annual Meeting 2018 (Barcelona).

The Value of Objects in Medieval Rural Settlements (with Alice Forward, Cardiff University and Georg Haggren, University of Helskinki), European Association of Archaeologists Annual Meeting 2018 (Barcelona).

Stuff and Nonsense? Theory and Medieval Material Culture (with Alice Forward, Cardiff University), Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference 2017 (Cardiff)

Futures of the Past: Everyday Landscapes and the Archaeology of Anticipation (with Andy Gardner, UCL and Lacey Wallace, Lincoln), Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference 2017 (Cardiff)

Additionally I have organised or co-organised the following conferences:

The Material Experiences of 'Peasant LIfe' in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England (c1200–1600): Cardiff Unviersity, June 2022 (with Dr Karen Dempsey)

The Middle Ages Re-Visited: A Conference in Honour of Professor David A. Hinton: University of Southampton, November 2018 (with Dr Alison Gascoigne)

TAG 2017: Cardiff University  18th-20th December 2017.

Medieval Pottery Research Group Annual Conference: Early Medieval Pottery. Doncaster Museum, June 2015 (With Duncan Brown, Historic England and Lyn Blackmore, MoLA),

Insights Through Innovation. The Southampton Ceramics Research Group Conference. University of Southampton, October 2012. (With Emilie Sibbesson and Sarah Coxon).

The Tenth Postgraduate Archaeology Students Symposium (PGRAS10). University of Southampton, June 2011 (on organising committee).

Mad About Pots seminar series. University of Southampton, October 2010-January 2011.

Early Medieval Pottery in Southern England. Medieval Pottery Research Group (MPRG) regional meeting (south), Winchester, March 2010.

The End of Medieval Pottery in Southern England. MPRG regional meeting (south), Southampton, October 2008.



I am on research leave until September 2027.

Previously I have taught undergraduate modules on The Archaeology of Britain, Medieval Archaeology and the History of Archaeological Thought, as well as convening the core module Skills and Methods for Postgraduate Study and the PGT module Understanding Archaeological Artefacts.


Education and Qualifications

2011: PhD (Archaeology), University of Southampton.

2007: MA Ceramic and Lithic Analysis for Archaeologists, University of Southampton.

2006: BA Hons Archaeology, University of Exeter.

Career overview

2021-: Reader in Archaeology - Cardiff University

2019-2021: Senior Lecturer in Archaeology - Cardiff University

2014-2019: Lecturer in Archaeology – Cardiff University

2013-2014: Assistant Inspector of Ancient Monuments – English Heritage

2012: Research Associate – Department of History, University of Cambridge

2012-2013: Associate Lecturer in Medieval History and Archaeology – Birkbeck College, University of London

2012-2013: Archaeology Officer – Berkshire Archaeology

2010: Research Assistant – Institute of Archaeology, University College London

2007-2008: IfA Workplace Bursary in Medieval Pottery Research – Southampton City Council

2006: Graduate Attachment – British Institute in Eastern Africa

Honours and awards

  • Principal Investigator, UKRI funded project ENDURE Urban Life in a Time of Crisis: Enduring Urban Lifeways in Later Medieval England
  • Co-Investigator, Leverhulme Trust funded project Living Standards and Material Culture in English Rural Households 1300-1600
  • Recipient of grant from Medieval Settlement Research Group, to fund workshop on The material experiences of 'peasant' life in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England (c. 1200-1600) (2022)
  • Recipient of grant from Cardiff University International Collaboration Seedcorn Fund, to visit Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2017)
  • Recipient of grant from the Royal Archaeological Insitute Tony Clark Fund (2016)
  • Recipient of research grant from Society of Antiquaries  (2016)
  • Recipient of research grant from Society for Medieval Archaeology (2016)
  • Recipient of grant from Society for Medieval Archaeology Eric Fletcher Fund (2009)
  • AHRC Doctoral Award (2008)
  • AHRC MA studentship (2006)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Academic positions

2019–2021: External Examiner, University of Leicester

Committees and reviewing

  • 2022-2023: Scientific Committee member - EAA Belfast
  • 2019-present: Medieval Europe Research Committee committee member
  • 2019-2021: University Archaeology UK steering group (responsible for degree accreditation)
  • 2018-2020: Member of the Scientific committee of the Europa Postmedievalis conference
  • 2016-2021: Editor and council member, Medieval Pottery Research Group
  • 2015-2016: Assistant editor and council member, Medieval Pottery Research Group
  • 2012-2015: Chartered Institute for Archaeologists New Generation Group
  • 2009-2014: Assistant secretary and council member, Medieval Pottery Research Group


I am happy to supervise research projects relating to medieval and post-medieval archaeology and material culture (particularly pottery). I have recently supervised students researching prehistoric pottery, medieval pottery, medieval towns and medieval material culture.

I would also be interested to hear from potential postgraduate students looking to develop research projects in the following areas:

  • Medieval material culture (particularly pottery)
  • The archaeology of the Norman Conquest
  • Medieval urbanism
  • The archaeology of medieval southern England
  • Archaeological theory

I am currently supervising the following postgraduate research students:

  • Thanasis Garonis (second supervisor): Iron Age pottery from Greece
  • Stuary Whatley (SWW DTP student, co-supervised by Tamar Hodos, Bristol): The port and city of late medieval and early modern Copenhagen
  • Laura Burnett (SWW DTP student, co-supervised by Henry French, Exeter): Trading tokens
  • Shu Yang (co-supervised with Jacqui Mulville): Zooarchaeology of medieval Southampton
  • Heather Holt (co-supervised with John Hines): Early medieval burial in western Britain
  • Anton Axellson (co-supervised with Richard Madgwick): Stature among early medieval populations in England
  • Arthur Redmonds (SWW DTP students co-supervised by Oliver Creight, Exeter): Castles and communities