Mike Bintley studied a BA in English literature and an MA in medieval literature at
UCL, before pursuing an interdisciplinary PhD in Old English literature, Anglo-Saxon history, and early medieval archaeology. He has since taught Old English and Old Norse at UCL and Birkbeck College. His research interests include representations of early medieval landscapes, heathenism and processes of conversion, and interactions between Old English and Old Norse literature.
Mike's PhD thesis, 'Trees and Woodland in Anglo-Saxon Culture' spent some time discussing the development of Anglo-Saxon settlements with specific reference to wood and stone as cultural signifiers. The following postdoctoral project, which is currently in preparation, evolved out of this investigation:
'Building Cities in the Anglo-Saxon Mind'
The Germanic peoples who began large-scale migration to the British Isles in the fifth century were culturally unaccustomed to the idea of living in towns or cities as they were understood in the Classical world. Patterns of settlement are described as appearing disorganised and incoherent by Classical commentators, a feature of early Germanic building traditions which is largely confirmed by the archaeological record. Additionally, architectural practices were stubbornly dominated by the use of timber to suit almost all purposes. The settlements which Germanic migrants established in the British Isles were, in many respects, defined in much the same fashion. By the time of the Norman Conquest, over a thousand years later, Anglo-Saxon settlements had undergone significant changes, and focused, intra-mural centres of power such as London, York, and Canterbury had come to dominate the political infrastructure and landscape of early England. I intend to investigate how and why ideas of settlement came to change in the Anglo-Saxon world-view, and the manner in which this is reflected in Old English literature, Anglo-Saxon historical documents, and the archaeological record.
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