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Prof John Blair

Fellow in Modern History

Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology

Introduction

I grew up in Surrey, and local history interests were an early stimulus for my research on the English landscape. I graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1976, and after five years as a research student and Junior Research Fellow there, I was appointed to my present position at Queen’s in 1981. Alongside my academic duties I maintain a long-standing involvement in practical archaeology, and in the worlds of building and landscape conservation. I appeared several times on Channel Four’s ‘Time Team’ series, and have recently made a Channel Four documentary on medieval beliefs in vampires.

Teaching

At an undergraduate level I teach a range of medieval history, with an emphasis on early medieval Britain, including the Special Subject on the Norman Conquest and the Further Subject on Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. I have supervised about fifteen doctoral students.

Research

Although a historian, I use written and physical evidence in equal measure: the interplay between environment, buildings, objects, and human activities has always fascinated me. My focus has been on England, but I have regularly pursued comparisons, especially with France, eastern Europe and Scandinavia. I have worked and published extensively on medieval social, economic and cultural history; on material culture and technology; on buildings and domestic environments; and on popular belief and religion. I have long practical experience in field archaeology, excavation, and the recording of buildings.

Publications

Building Anglo-Saxon England (Princeton University Press: submission 2015)

(ed.) Waterways and Canal-Building in Medieval England (Oxford University Press, 2007).

The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Anglo-Saxon Oxfordshire (Sutton Publishing, 1994)

Early Medieval Surrey (Sutton Publishing, 1991)