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ArchaeologyPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Ms. Olivia Britter BA, MA

Postgraduate Research Student

Ms. Olivia Britter's photo

I am a postgraduate researcher in the Archaeology department at the University of Southampton. My research focuses on understanding social change through material culture and architecture in household contexts during the long first millennium BC in Britain, specifically the Upper Thames Valley.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Archaeology in 2018 from Bangor University, winning the Archaeology Award in the process. I then went on to gain my masters in Celtic Archaeology from the same institution in 2019. In 2020 I began my PhD at the University of Southampton.

My research explores social change in Bronze and Iron Age Britain through the material culture and architecture of household contexts. The tendency to separate these periods in scholarship has led to a fragmented approach in the understanding of both, despite the continuation and evolution of technologies as well as social and cultural constructs.

I will instead approach the Middle Bronze Age through to the end of the Middle Iron Age as one ‘long first millennium BC’, in order to highlight the nuances of the changes throughout these periods. Through this reframing, I aim to understand how this dynamic part of British prehistory impacted and changed the lives of the people who lived through it. The household has often been a scale missed in the study of Bronze and Iron Age Britain, with research instead being focussed on the interpretation of archaeological data to aid understandings of concepts such as gender, status, hierarchy, and inter-community relations. Previous research has also been used to highlight the importance of understanding large-scale cultural shifts and the significance of seemingly ‘high-status’ individuals to wider cultural values and practices.

Through this research it is hoped that I will explore how people experienced the evolving world around them and if/how households reacted to the changing nature of the society they were a part of. Therefore, the households I intend to look at may be used to consider how broad an impact this proposed period of dynamic social change had on the everyday lives of the people that experiencing it. This research will therefore aim to provide a new perspective on how social and cultural change progressed throughout the long first millennium BC as continuous yet ever-evolving constructs.


Master of Arts in Celtic Archaeology with Distinction from Bangor University in 2019.

Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology with Honours from Bangor University in 2018.

Research interests

My primary research interests are focussed on the material culture of the Bronze and Iron Ages in Britain.

Other research interests include:

  • The Bronze to Iron Age transition period, specifically looking at material culture and architecture.
  • Household archaeology.
  • The use of material objects and architecture as a means of demonstrating social and cultural identity.
  • How social and cultural shifts impact people’s lives and how this is demonstrated in the archaeological record.
  • The Neolithic to Bronze Age transition period, in particular the relationships between monuments and landscape.

PhD research title

Understanding social change in household contexts during the Long First Millennium BC in the Upper Thames Valley.

PhD Supervisors

Prof. Jo Sofaer & Prof. Tim Champion

Research group

Social prehistory

  • Co-chair of the 2023 ‘Unravelling the Palaeolithic’ conference.
  • Co-organiser of the University of Southampton’s Archaeology Departmental Seminar Series along with Makanani Bell and Dr. Anna Collar.
  • Marker on ARCH1057 and ANTH1001.
  • Committee member of the 2021 Postgraduate Research Symposium.
Ms. Olivia Britter
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus, Highfield
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom
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