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Miss Kate Waddington 

Kate Waddington
Position:PhD Student

Research Interests

  • British prehistory
  • The Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age transition in southern Britain
  • The archaeology of middens
  • Materials and materiality
  • Art theory and practice
  • Performance theory

Academic History

I began studying at Cardiff University in 1997, when I embarked upon a Joint BA Honours Degree in Archaeology and Ancient History, in which I achieved a First in 2000. After a year out, I came back to Cardiff and decided to focus my efforts in Archaeology, and subsequently achieved a Distinction in the MA scheme in 2002. My MA dissertation focussed on context and deposition on an Iron Age settlement site in Orkney, and won the Richard and Hestor Atkinson prize for best Masters Dissertation in archaeology and conservation at the university. I began my PhD in January 2005 under the supervision of Niall Sharples, after obtaining a Cardiff School of History and Archaeology Postgraduate Scholarship. My research is now fully funded by the AHRC, being awarded in September 2005.

PhD Research -completed and passed May 2009

Title: Reassembling the Bronze Age: Exploring the Southern British Midden Sites.

This thesis explores the Late Bronze Age and Earliest Iron Age midden sites of southern Britain and aims to enhance broader understandings of life during this period of transition (c. 1250 – 600 BC). The varied elements of life were mixed together at these sites, and this interweaving build-up of architectures and residues with seasonal traditions of occupation, created a special sense of place. Considerations of materiality are central to this thesis – such elements were critical to the way in which life in the Bronze Age was constructed and experienced. Through the fine grained analysis of large data-sets, I argue that the relationships, identities and worldviews of the inhabitants of southern Britain were redefined and reassembled at these central places.

This thesis produces for the first time a synthesis of these sites across Britain, and it has entailed the excavation of a new midden site recently discovered in the West Midlands. Variations in the extent and depths of the sites, the density and types of finds, stratigraphic make-up, chronologies and settings are explored. The broader context of the later Bronze Age in Britain is discussed, enabling rich histories to be produced and key similarities and differences between different sites to be highlighted. Detailed contextual analyses have been undertaken at the case-study sites of Potterne and Runnymede Bridge, providing an invaluable means for interpreting human action. I have attempted to identify and narrate elements of life – the habits, practices, values, beliefs and emotions – from the various sequences, and to situate these vignettes within the historical processes of the Bronze Age. Anxieties surrounding deteriorating climatic conditions, farming practices and exchange networks contributed to a dramatic shift in some people’s worldviews, and ultimately a transformation in the ways that people engaged with animals, materials and place. The increases in depositional practices, particularly of fine and decorated artefacts and metalwork and feasting remnants, do not necessarily reflect the development of new hierarchies or ‘economic’ intensification, but rather a transformation in the ways that values were created, expressed and destroyed. Environments are always being created, and similar to persons, they too are in a constant state of becoming – the micro- and macro-scale analyses presented in this thesis have enabled the exploration of such moments of uncertainty and transition.

For information about my PhD fieldwork at Whitchurch please see the Research tab.


Waddington, K.E. Forthcoming. Pattern recognition: a GIS analysis of the Riverside Zone. In S.P. Needham (ed.), Runnymede Riverside Zone: the meaning of structures and the structure of meaning at the Late Bronze Age/Earliest Iron Age transition. London: British Museum Press.

Waddington, K.E. and Sharples, N.M. Forthcoming. The Whitchurch excavations 2006-8: an interim report. Cardiff: Cardiff University Archaeological Reports.

Waddington, K.E. In press. The politics of the everyday: exploring ‘midden’ space in Late Bronze Age Wiltshire. In M. Maltby and J. Morris (eds), Social environmental archaeology: integrated studies of ritual. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.

Waddington, K.E. In press. Cosmological space in settlement place: The Howe, Orkney. In S. Werner and E. Osborne-Martin (eds), Proceedings of IARSS 2005. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.

Waddington, K.E. In press. Re-cycles of life in Bronze Age Britain. In R.L.C. Jones (ed.), Manure matters. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Waddington, K.E. 2008. Topographies of accumulation at Late Bronze Age Potterne. In O.P. Davis, N.M. Sharples and K.E. Waddington (eds), Changing perspectives on the first millennium BC. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Waddington, K.E. 2007. The poetics of scale: miniature axes from Whitchurch. In V.O. Jorge and J. Thomas (eds), Overcoming the modern invention of material culture. Journal of Iberian Archaeology 9/10, 187-206.

Waddington, K.E. and Sharples, N.M. 2007. Pins, pixies and thick dark earth. British Archaeology 94.

Sharples, N.M., Waddington, K.E. and Young, T. 2008. Geophysical fieldwork at Whitchurch, Warwickshire. PAST 58, 12-13.

Edited Volumes

Davis, O.P, Sharples N.M. and Waddington, K.E. (eds), 2008. Changing perspectives on the first millennium BC. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Conference Presentations

9 April 2008: The Whitchurch Project. Unquiet residues: the midden seminar 2008: Cardiff University.

15 December 2007: The Pour: casting and staging the Bronze Age. In ‘Staging events: atmospheres of performance in archaeology’ session, TAG 2007: York.

19 November 2006: Big middens and little axes. Bronze Age Forum 2006: UCD.

22 June 2006: Making middens, making people; intentionality, materiality and identity. In ‘Material Culture and Identity’ session, Constructing Identities Conference: Cardiff University.

18 May 2006: Maturating middens: intentionality, materiality, and accumulation. IARSS 2006: Cardiff University.

03 May 2006: Midden matters: platforms for display. School of History and Archaeology Post-graduate Research Seminar: Cardiff University.

30 March 2006: Midden matters: social display in the Late Bronze Age of southern Britain. The role of Environmental Analysis in Integrated investigations of ritual deposits session at AEA 2006: Exeter University.

8 June 2005: The cosmology of settlement space: the Howe, Orkney. IARSS 2005: Edinburgh University.


Unquiet residues: the midden seminar
9 April 2008, School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University.
Please see website for further information:

Iron Age Research Student Seminar Series 2006
For more details, please go to the web site:


I am seminar leader for the undergraduate modules Human Origins and British Prehistory. For the last two years I have also assisted as a Demonstrator for the following modules: Environment, Bioarchaeology, Archaeological Science. In March 2007 I taught a lecture on ‘Monuments and Monumentality’ to undergraduate students in the Prehistoric Britain module.

I directed an archaeological excavation at Whitchurch, Warwickshire in September 2006, supervising and training eight undergraduate students from Cardiff University.

I have also been responsible for the supervision and training of students in excavation techniques and post-excavation processes at the archaeological sites of Bornish and Llanmaes.