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Department of Archaeology

 

Biography

Dr Susan Oosthuizen is Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education. Her teaching and research focus on rights of common, and on the development of the English landscape between about 400 and 1300 AD. Her undergraduate degree in Archaeology and History was taken at the University of Southampton, She holds an MA in Area Studies (Africa) from SOAS (University of London), and a PGCE in teaching history from the University of Cambridge. Her PhD on continuity and transformation in Anglo-Saxon agricultural landscapes was undertaken in the University of Cambridge Department of Geography when she was also a member of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Bridging archaeology, history and historical geography, that work was published as Landscapes Decoded (Hertfordshire University Press, 2006). She began part-time teaching for the University in January 1986, and joined the staff at the Institute of Continuing Education (then the Board of Extra-Mural Studies) in January 1995. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, of the Royal Historical Society, and of the Higher Education Academy. The author of several books and numerous papers (see Academia.edu page), her most recent volume on the Anglo-Saxon Fenland was published by Windgather at the beginning of July 2017, and her book on The Emergence of the English was published by Arc-Humanities Press in 2018.

Research

Professor Oosthuizen's research focuses on three main topics:

  • The evolution and transformation of early medieval and medieval fields and pastures from the landscapes of Roman Britain, many of which had much more ancient origins;
  • Detailed regional studies of English rural settlement and husbandry between c.400–c.1300;
  • Conceptual approaches to the archaeology of collective organisation in agriculture, not only in shared fields but also in natural resources exploited under rights of common.

Her most recent research on the Emergence of the English (forthcoming, see below) draws on all three threads. It argues that the origins of that process should be sought among the prehistoric communities and territories that had developed across England through the period of Roman control and into subsequent post-imperial decades and centuries. Remarkable continuity across the longue durée between the early fifth and the seventeenth centuries in the ecology and geography of many areas exploited under rights of common property –  often also the basis of equally long-enduring political or administrative units - suggests that most change was either short-lived and/or adaptive and evolutionary, rather than characterized by any sudden revolutionary transformation. That rich and complex history reveals a traditional society assimilating newcomers, and continually evolving, adapting and innovating in response to individual and collective actions, to events, small- or large-scale, sudden or expected, and to local, regional and international influences and processes, new or familiar, rapid or slow.

Publications

Key publications: 
[1] Oosthuizen, S. (2019), The Emergence of the English: Rethinking the evidence. Arc Humanities Press, Medieval Institute Publications, University of West Michigan. 
[2] Oosthuizen, S. (2017) The Anglo-Saxon Fenland. Oxbow, Oxford. ISBN 978-1911188087. 160 pp. 
[3] Oosthuizen, S. (2016) ‘Beyond Hierarchy: Archaeology, common rights and social identity’. World Archaeology 48, 3: 381-394. DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2016.1180261
[4] Oosthuizen, S.  (2016) ‘Culture and Identity in the Early Medieval Fenland Landscape’. Landscape History 37, 1: 5-24. DOI: 10.1080/01433768.2016.1176433
[5] Oosthuizen, S. (2016) ‘Review article: Recognising and Moving on from a Failed Paradigm: The case of agricultural landscapes in Anglo-Saxon England c.400-800’. Journal of Archaeological Research 24, 2: 179-227. DOI: 10.1007/s10814-015-9088-x
[6] Oosthuizen, S. (2013) ‘Beyond Hierarchy: The archaeology of collective governance’, World Archaeology 45, 5: 714-729. DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2013.847634
Other publications: 

 

Books

[1] Oosthuizen, S. (2019), The Emergence of the English: Rethinking the evidence. Arc Humanities Press, Medieval Institute Publications, University of West Michigan. 
[2] Oosthuizen, S. (2017) The Anglo-Saxon Fenland. Oxbow, Oxford. ISBN 978-1911188087. 160 pp. 
[3] Oosthuizen, S. (2013) Tradition and Transformation in Anglo-Saxon England: Archaeology, common rights and landscape. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1472507273. 251 pp.
[4] Oosthuizen S. (2006) Landscapes Decoded: The history of Cambridgeshire’s medieval fields. Hatfield, University of Leicester Department of English Local History and University of Hertfordshire Press. ISBN 978-1902806587. xiv + 176 pp.
[5] Oosthuizen, S. (2002) Probably the Shortest Guide to Tutoring Adults in the World. University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education. 12 pp.
[6] Oosthuizen, S. (2000) Probably the Shortest Guide to Assessing and Evaluating Adult Students in the World. University of Cambridge Board of Continuing Education. 12 pp.
[7] Oosthuizen, S. (1996)  Cambridgeshire from the Air. Stroud, Sutton. ISBN 978-0750910644. 118 pp.
[8] Oosthuizen, S.   Discovering the Haslingfield Landscape. Haslingfield, Haslingfield Village Society. ISBN 978-0947616038. 20 pp.
[9] Oosthuizen, S. (1992)  We’re the Characters Now: An oral history of a small fenland town. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire Libraries. ISBN 978-1870724876. 98 pp.

 

Edited books

[1] S.M. Oosthuizen and F. Willmoth (eds.), (2015). The Ely Coucher Book, 1249-50. The Bishop of Ely's manors in the Cambridgeshire fenland., (Cambridgeshire Records Society.) Cambridge: Cambridgeshire Records Society.
[2] S.M. Oosthuizen and W. Jones (eds.), (2012). Part-time: The New Paradigm for Higher Education,. (UALL Conference Proceedings.) Leicester: Universities' Association for Lifelong Learning.
[3] S.M. Oosthuizen and F. Willmoth (eds.), (2009). Drowned and Drained: Exploring Fenland Records and Landscape.. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.
[4] P. Cunningham, R. Taylor and S. Oosthuizen (eds.), (2009). Beyond the Lecture Hall: Universities and community engagement from the middle ages to the present day. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Faculty of Education.
[5] P. Cunningham, R. Taylor and S. Oosthuizen (eds.), (2009). Beyond the Lecture Hall: Universities and community engagement from the middle ages to the present day. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Faculty of Education.
[6] T. Kirby and S. Oosthuizen (eds.), (2000). An Atlas of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire History. Cambridge: Centre for Regional Studies Anglia Polytechnic University.
[7] S.M. Oosthuizen (ed.), (1992). We're the Characters Now: The oral history of a small fenland town. Cambridge: Cambridgeshire Libraries.

 

Articles & Chapters

 [1] Forthcoming, 2018/19. Oosthuizen, S. ‘Property and Governance: Making the Anglo-Saxon agricultural landscape’, in Power and Place in Early Medieval Europe, eds. A Reynolds, B. Yorke and J. Carroll. London, British Academy.
[2] Oosthuizen, S. (2016) ‘Beyond Hierarchy: Archaeology, common rights and social identity’. World Archaeology 48, 3: 381-394. DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2016.1180261
[3] Oosthuizen, S. (2016) ‘Culture and Identity in the Early Medieval Fenland Landscape’. Landscape History 37, 1: 5-24. DOI: 10.1080/01433768.2016.1176433
[4] Oosthuizen S.M.(2016). Recognising and moving on from a failed paradigm: the case of agricultural landscapes in Anglo-Saxon England c.400-800. Journal of Archaeological Research, 24(2), 179-227.
[5] Oosthuizen, S. (2015) ‘Introduction’. In Oosthuizen, S. and Willmoth, F., eds. The Ely Coucher Book, 1249-50. The Bishop of Ely’s manors in the Cambridgeshire fenland. Cambridgeshire Records Society, Cambridge: 6-17. ISBN 978-0904323245.  
[6] Oosthuizen S.M.(2015). Re-evaluating maps of Domesday population densities: a case study from the Cambridgeshire fenland. Medieval Settlement Research, 29, 1-10.
[7] Oosthuizen S.(2013). A truth universally acknowledged?: Morphology as an indicator of medieval planned market towns. Landscape History, 34(1), 51-80. DOI: 10.1080/01433768.2013.797197.
[8] Oosthuizen S.M.(2013). The Emperor’s Old Clothes: The origins of medieval nucleated settlements and their open fields’. Medieval Settlement Research, 28, 96-98.
[9] Oosthuizen S.M.(2013). The Emperor's Old Clothes: The origins of medieval nucleated settlements and their open fields. Medieval Settlement Research, 28, 96-98.
[10] Oosthuizen S.M.(2013). Beyond hierarchy: The archaeology of collective governance. World Archaeology DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2013.847634.
[11] Gibbs P., Jones W.R. and Oosthuizen S. (2013). Guest editorial: UALL Conference 2012. Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, 3(2), 88-93. DOI: 10.1108/20423891311313126.
[12] Oosthuizen S.(2011). Archaeology, common rights and the origins of Anglo-Saxon identity. Early Medieval Europe, 19(2), 153-181.
[13] Oosthuizen S.M.(2010). A note concerning the distribution of two- and three-field systems in south Cambridgeshire beofre about 1350. Medieval Settlement Research Group Annual Report, 25, 21-31.
[14] Oosthuizen S.M.(2010). The Old Rectory, Kingston: A short note on its origins. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 99, 139-144.
[15] Oosthuizen S.M.(2009). The Deserted Medieval Settlements of Cambridgeshire: A gazetteer. Medieval Settlement Research, 24, 14-19.
[16] Oosthuizen S.M.(2008). ‘Field-names in Reconstructing Late Anglo-Saxon Land-use in the Bourn Valley, West Cambridgeshire’., A. Chadwick (ed.), Recent Approaches to the Archaeology of Land Allotment, Vol.S1875 (BAR British Series.) Oxford. 323-340.
[17] Oosthuizen S.(2007). The Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia and the origins and distribution of common fields. Agricultural History Review, 55(2), 153-180.
[18] Oosthuizen S.M.(2006). ‘Sokemen and Freemen: Tenure, status and landscape conservatism in eleventh-century Cambridgeshire’. S. Keynes and A. Smith (eds.), Anglo-Saxons: Studies presented to Cyril Roy Hart. Dublin: Four Courts Press. 184-207.
[19] Oosthuizen S.(2005). New light on the origins of open-field farming?. Medieval Archaeology, 49, 165-194. DOI: 10.1179/007660905x54071.
[20] Oosthuizen S.M.(2003). The Roots of the Common Fields: Linking prehistoric and medieval field systems in west Cambridgeshire. Landscapes, 4(1), 40-64.
[21] Oosthuizen S.(2002). Medieval greens and moats in the central province: Evidence from the bourn valley, Cambridgeshire. Landscape History
[22] Oosthuizen S.M.(2002). Unravelling the Morphology of Litlington, Cambridgeshire. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 91, 55-62.
[23] Oosthuizen S.M.(2002). The Fenland Oral History Project. F. Gray (ed.), Landscapes of Learning: Lifelong learning in rural communities. Leicester: NIACE & UALL. 143-157.
[24] Oosthuizen S.M.(2002). The South-West Cambridgeshire Project 2000 -2002. Medieval Settlement Research Group Annual Report
[25] Oosthuizen S.M.(2002). Ancient Greens in ‘Midland’ Landscapes: Barrington, Cambridgeshire. Medieval Archaeology, 46, 110-115.
[26] Oosthuizen S.M.(2001). Anglo-Saxon Minsters in South Cambridgeshire. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 90, 49-68.
[27] Oosthuizen S.M. and Taylor C.C. (2000). John o’ Gaunt’s House, Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire: A fifteenth century landscape. Landscape History, 22, 61-76.
[28] Oosthuizen S.M. and Taylor C.C. (2000). Rediscovery of a Vanished Garden in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, and the Impact of the Lynne Family on the Medieval Landscape. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 89, 59-68.
[29] Oosthuizen S.M.(1998). Prehistoric Fields into Medieval Furlongs?: Evidence from Caxton, South Cambridgeshire. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 86, 145-152.
[30] Oosthuizen S.M.(1998). The Origins of Cambridgeshire. Antiquaries Journal, 78, 85-109.
[31] Oosthuizen S.(1997). Medieval settlement relocation in west Cambridgeshire: three case-studies. Landscape History, 19, 43-55.
[32] Oosthuizen S.M.(1995). Isleham: A Medieval Inland Port. Landscape History, 15, 29-35.
[33] Oosthuizen S.M.(1994). Saxon Commons in South Cambridgeshire. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 83, 93-100.

Job Titles

Senior Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Emeritus Professor in Medieval Archaeology

General Info

Not available for consultancy

Contact Details

Institute of Continuing Education
Madingley Hall
Cambridge
CB23 8AQ
01223 (7)46279

Affiliations

Person keywords: 
Prehistory
Archaeology
Landscape
Subjects: 
Archaeology
Themes: 
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Geographical areas: 
Britain
Periods of interest: 
Medieval