Theodore Reeves

Theodore Reeves

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Re-classifying Iron Age marsh-forts
SupervisorsProfessor Henry Chapman and Dr David Smith
Archaeology PhD

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Ancient History and Archaeology – University of Birmingham
  • MA Archaeology (Cultural Pathway) – University of Birmingham

Biography

I graduated in 2017 with a First in BA Ancient History and Archaeology (Hons) from the University of Birmingham. My research interests focused on Iron Age settlements and society, and their relationship with the expanding Roman world in the later Iron Age. This led to my undergraduate dissertation on the subject of oppida and urbanism, supervised by Dr. D. Maschek.

I completed my MA degree in Archaeology, also at the University of Birmingham, graduating with Distinction in 2018. My research led me to a more niche category of Iron Age site in Britain: 'marsh-forts', which culminated in my Master's thesis on the subject of these (supervised by Prof. H. Chapman), investigating their morphology, location and function to assess how distinct they are as a type of site. This subject is then the focus of my continued research.

Following a recent break from academic study, working as a Field Archaeologist for Headland Archaeology, I have now returned to the University of Birmingham to complete a PhD focused on Iron Age marsh-forts (supervised by Prof. H. Chapman and Dr. David Smith; funded by M4C).

Across my academic and professional career, I have taken part in several significant projects including the Stonehenge Landscape Project and the archaeological works for HS2.

Research

The British Iron Age is known for its hillforts. Grouped within these is currently a relatively under researched sub-category known as ‘marsh-forts’, defined by their setting in wetland environments. This has derived from the descriptive way in which we distinguish other categories of hillfort, such as promontory or contour forts. My research focuses on moving away from such descriptive definitions of marsh-forts to analytical categorisations.

My previous GIS-based MA research focused on the analysis of seven marsh-fort sites, resulting in the hypothesis that there are two distinctive types of marsh-fort defined by relationships between constructed architecture and wetland context.

 This project will expand the scope of that research to all 33 sites in Britain currently defined as marsh-forts. A more nuanced approach, built upon critical assessment, will be developed using GIS-based modelling and fieldwork. This will then be used to identify and re-classify different types of ‘marsh-fort’ and assess how these relate to wider themes of Iron Age landscape architecture. This project aims to rethink the way in which marsh-forts are classified and has the potential to expose a complexity to these sites which may significantly impact the future study of hill-forts and the Iron Age.

Other activities

  • Articles Editor and Specialist Editor – Rosetta Journal (2020-present)

Membership of organisations

  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (Practitioner)
  • Royal Archaeological Institute

Past presentations

  • 'Iron Age Marsh-forts as a distinct category of archaeological site', Royal Archaeological Institute Lecture Series, Online, 11 November 2020

Awards

  • 2018 – Bladen Carter Award for Archaeology (University of Birmingham)