Meet our newly appointed president: Professor Oliver Creighton

Posted On: January 31st, 2023

I’m thriled to have been elected President of the Society for Medieval Archaeology — it really is a privilege, and I’m looking forward to helping take the Society from strength to strength during my term in office. The Society’s portfolio of activities — from the flagship journal Medieval Archaeology, through to the newsletter, website, social media channels, grants, meetings and other events — has become broader and more inclusive over recent years and promotes our subject to audiences in Britain and the wider world.

I’ve been a member of the Society since the mid-1990s. On gaining my first academic position in 1998, an immediate priority was to hurriedly purchase a second-hand back-run of the journal, as no self-respecting medieval lecturer’s shelves could be complete without a full collection of those familiar blue volumes! I had the honour of being more deeply involved in the Society’s workings from 2007, when I served as a Member of Council, becoming Deputy Editor of our journal in 2009 and serving a three-year stint as Editor between 2012–15. It was fabulous to work on a journal with such a pedigree, but also one that was constantly evolving — moving to two issues per year and increasingly showcasing some of the finest medieval archaeological research from across Europe.

As a researcher, my interests were first rooted in the study of castles, especially understood broadly within their social contexts and landscape settings  — a subject which continues to surprise and confound as well as fascinate me — but I’ve since branched out to encompass work on towns, standing buildings, designed landscapes and medieval warfare. As my research interests have evolved I have strived for greater and greater emphasis on collaboration and methodological integration — gathering and interrogating evidence of very diverse types and working at varied different scales of analysis. This was an approach that characterised my ‘Anarchy’ project on the landscape of twelfth-century England and one that continues with my most recent project — on medieval horses and warhorses in medieval England, a collaborative venture which embraces a multiplicity of approaches from cutting edge science through to landscape, artefact and documentary work (see )

I’ve been based at the University of Exeter, where I have been a Professor of Archaeology, since 2014. Just a few weeks ago it was an honour for my University to host the Society for Medieval Archaeology’s Student Colloquium, in which PhD students from Britain and Europe presented their work and provided some glimpses of the exciting future for our subject. Helping to nurture the next generation of scholars and the next generation of medieval archaeologists is one of the many priorities for our Society, and I look forward to working on all of them during my term as President.

Oliver’s profile at the University of Exeter: