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Tania Dickinson
Honorary Fellow



Tania Dickinson retired in 2011, after thirty-two years in the Department of Archaeology, as founder lecturer and then senior lecturer; she now retains her connection as a research associate. She developed her special interest in the early medieval archaeology of Britain and north-west Europe through a degree in Modern History at St Anne's College, Oxford (BA 1968; MA 1972) and postgraduate study at the Institute of Archaeology , Oxford (DPhil 1977). In 1973 she was appointed Lecturer in Archaeology at University College, Cardiff, before moving in 1979 to York.



Tania's research is focussed on the material culture of early Anglo-Saxon England. She has written widely on burial practices and their associated artefacts, leading and contributing to excavation reports of cemeteries and reinterpretations of burial sites recovered by antiquarians. The social and symbolic significance of funerary dress and equipment and the animal art that characterises them is a particular interest.


A six-year involvement with the major research project on the Staffordshire Hoard, managed by Barbican Research Associates on behalf of Historic England, has just come to fruition with publication of The Staffordshire Hoard: an Anglo-Saxon Treasure, edited by Chris Fern, Tania Dickinson and Leslie Webster (Society of Antiquaries of London 2019).

In 2019 ‘The Archaeology of Bidford-on-Avon (Warwickshire)’ project, supported by the Marc Fitch Fund, the Royal Archaeological Institute, the Society for Medieval Archaeology and Historic England, was also concluded with submission of the final report by Sue Hirst and Tania Dickinson to the Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society. It publishes rescue excavations in the village from 1971–94 of prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon remains and sets them in their local and regional context.

Tania has now started on a small project in collaboration with staff of the York Museums Trust to publish the ‘Acomb area’ assemblage, a surprising find of a fragmentary seventh-century composite disc brooch and beads reported under the Treasure Act 1996.


Tania acts as an ad hoc consultant to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.


Selected publications

Since 1990

2019: Chris Fern, Tania Dickinson and Leslie Webster (eds) The Staffordshire Hoard: an Anglo-Saxon Treasure, Society of Antiquaries of London Research Report 80 (Society of Antiquaries of London, London).

2014: ‘Jewellery’, in M. Lapidge, J. Blair, S. Keynes and D. Scragg (eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England, 2nd edit., 263–7 (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester).

2012: ‘The formation of a folk district in the kingdom of Kent: Eastry and its early Anglo-Saxon archaeology’, in R. Jones and S. Semple (eds.), Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England, 147-67 (Shaun Tyas, Donington).

2011: (with Chris Fern and Andrew Richardson) 'Early Anglo-Saxon Eastry: archaeological evidence and the development of a district centre in the kingdom of Kent', Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, 17, 1-86.

2011: ‘Overview: mortuary ritual’, in H. Hamerow, D. Hinton and S. Crawford (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology, 221-37, (Oxford University Press, Oxford).

2010: 'The changing face of saucer-brooch distribution, 1912-1977-1997-2007', in S. Worrell, G. Egan, K. Leahy, J. Naylor and M. Lewis (eds.), A Decade of Discovery: Proceedings of the Portable Antiquities Scheme's Conference 2007, 181-91, British Archaeological Reports, British Series, 520 (Archaeopress, Oxford).  

2009:  'Medium and message in Anglo-Saxon animal art: some observations on the contexts of Salin's Style I in England', in S. Crawford and H. Hamerow with L. Webster (eds.), Form and Order in the Anglo-Saxon World, AD 600-1100, 1-12 (being Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, 16).

2005: 'Symbols of protection: the significance of animal-ornamented shields in Early Anglo-Saxon England', Medieval Archaeology, 49, 109-163.

2003 : ‘Translating animal art: Style I and Anglo-Saxon cast saucer brooches’, Hikuin, 29 (for 2002), 163-86.

1999 : (edited with D. Griffiths) The Making of Kingdoms (being Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, 10).

1993: 'Early Saxon saucer brooches: a preliminary overview', in W. Filmer‑Sankey (ed.), Anglo‑Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, 6, 11-44 (Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, Oxford).

1992: (with G. Speake) 'The seventh‑century cremation burial from Asthall, Oxon.: a reassessment', in M.O.H. Carver (ed.), The Age of Sutton Hoo:  The Seventh Century in North‑western Europe, 95‑130 + pls. 2‑5 (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge).

1992 : (with H. Härke) Early Anglo-Saxon Shields (being Archaeologia, 110).

Full publications list

Since 1990

Forthcoming: 'The cast saucer brooches', in S. Harrington, G. Thomas and J. Merkel, ‘The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at South Malling, Lewes: new finds and new perspectives', Sussex Archaeological Collections.

2011: (with S. Ashley and K. Penn) 'A zoomorphic shield mount from Hindringham, Norfolk', Medieval Archaeology, 55, 277-81.

2011: 'Applied saucer brooches. Cast saucer brooches. Button brooch. Small-long brooches', in A. Boyle, D. Jenning, D. Miles and S. Palmer, The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Butler ’s Field, Lechlade, Gloucestershire vol. 2: The Anglo-Saxon Grave Goods, Specialist Reports, Phasing and Discussion, 16-22, Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph, 33 (OxfordArchaeology, Oxford).

2011: ‘Iconography, social context and ideology: the meaning of animal-ornamented shields in Early Anglo-Saxon England’, in W. Heizmann and M. Axboe (eds.), Die Goldbrakteaten der Völkerwanderungszeit - Auswertung und Neufunde, 635-86, Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde Ergänzungsband 40 (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York).

2010: 'The cast and applied saucer brooches', in F. K. Annable and B. N. Eagles, The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Blacknall Field, Pewsey, Wiltshire, 29-34 (Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, Devizes).

2009: 'Cast saucer brooches: discussion', in S. Hirst and D. Clark, Excavations at Mucking, vol. 3, The Anglo-Saxon cemeteries: excavations by Tom and Margaret Jones, 482-3 (Museum of London Archaeology, London).

2007: (with Keith Parfitt) ‘The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Old Park, near Dover, revisited’, in M. Henig and T. J. Smith (eds.), Collectanea Antiqua: Essays in Memory of Sonia Chadwick Hawkes, 111-126, British Archaeological Reports, Internat. Ser. 1673 (Archaeopress, Oxford).

2007: ‘An Early Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Quarrington, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire: report on excavations, 2000 – 2001', Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, 39 (for 2004), 24-45.

2007: (with R.Collins) 'Borrowby', in H. Geake (ed.), Portable Antiquities Report, Medieval Archaeology, 51, 231-2.

2006: (with Chris Fern and Mark Hall) ‘An early Anglo-Saxon bridle-fitting from South Leckaway, Forfar, Angus, Scotland’, Medieval Archaeology, 50, 249-60.

2005: (with A. Richardson) 'Ickham and Well', in T. Beaumont-James (ed.), 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 2004: Portable Antiquities Scheme', Medieval Archaeology, 49, 333–4.

2002 : ‘Review article: What's new in early medieval burial archaeology?', Early Medieval Europe, 11.1, 71-87.

2000 : (with E. Morris) 'Early Saxon graves and grave goods', in C. J. Young, Excavations at Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight, 1921-1996,  86-96 (Wessex Archaeology, Salisbury).

1999: 'Jewellery', in M. Lapidge, J. Blair, S. Keynes and D. Scragg (eds.), The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England, 258-62 (Oxford, Blackwell Publishers).

1995: 'Bronze ring/pendant/buckle', in L. Alcock, Cadbury Castle, Somerset: The Early Medieval Archaeology, 66-70 (University of Wales Press, Cardiff).

1994: 'The cast saucer brooches', in A. Hunn, J. Lawson and M. Farley, 'The Anglo‑Saxon cemetery at Dinton, Buckinghamshire', 128-9, in W. Filmer-Sankey and D. Griffiths (eds.), Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 7,  (Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, Oxford). 

1993: 'Angelsächsische Fibeln', contribution under Stichwort 'Fibeln und Fibeltracht' in J. Hoops (established), Reallexikon der Germanischen   Altertumskunde, 2nd fully revised edition, Band 8, Lieferung 3/4, 582-5 (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York).

1992: 'An Anglo‑Saxon "cunning woman" from Bidford‑on‑Avon', in M.O.H. Carver (ed.), In Search of Cult. Archaeological Investigations in honour of Philip Rahtz, 45-54 (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge); reprinted 1999 with a revised introduction in C.E. Karkov, The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England: Basic Readings, 359-73 (Garland Publishing Inc., New York).

1992: 'Triangular‑backed composite comb ‑ a "second opinion"', in G. Milne and J.D. Richards, Wharram: A Study of Settlement on the Yorkshire Wolds  7. Two Anglo‑Saxon Buildings and Associated Finds, 55‑6 (York Univ. Archaeol. Publications 9, York).

1991: 'Material culture as social expression: the case of Saxon saucer brooches with running spiral decoration', in H‑J. Hässler (ed), Studien zur  Sachsenforschung, 7, 39‑70 (August Lax, Hildesheim).

1990: 'Annular brooch', in S. Wrathmell and A. Nicholson (eds.), Dalton  Parlours Iron Age Settlement and Roman Villa, 286‑7 (West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, Wakefield).

1990: 'Early medieval objects: the metal objects 4. silver pin', in M.R. McCarthy, A Roman, Anglian and Medieval Site at Blackfriars, Carlisle:  Excavations 1977‑9, 181 (Cumberland & Westmoreland Antiq. Archaeol. Soc., Kendal).

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Tania Dickinson

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