Dr Rachel AskewRachel Askew

Contact details


Northgate House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 4ET

Tel: 0114 22 22950


BA (Hons.) Archaeology and Anthropology (1st Class), University of Cambridge

MA Material Culture Studies (Distinction), University of Sheffield

PhD (Submitted), University of Sheffield


I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge and was subsequently employed by Cambridge Archaeological Unit in a variety of roles including Finds Supervisor. My Masters degree, awarded by the University of Sheffield, was immediately succeeded by my PhD entitled ‘The House of Every One’: the Consumption of Material Culture in Castles during the English Civil War. The thesis utilised non-military material culture deposited at castle sites to reconstruct the social discourse within three garrisons based at Sandal and Pontefract in Yorkshire and Eccleshall in Staffordshire. In particular, my studies highlighted the important role played by drinking rituals and tradition in the maintenance of group cohesion and identity during the period 1642-1649.

Current Projects

Sheffield Castlegate

I am currently employed as a Research Associate for the Sheffield Castlegate Project, which aims to collate and evaluate all historical and archaeological material relating to the city of Sheffield between 600-1700AD. This is a joint venture between the Departments of History and Archaeology and the project’s findings will be used as a platform for future research into the city’s past.

Newark Civil Project

Working with Dr Hugh Willmott, I am establishing a community outreach project to be jointly run by the University of Sheffield and Newark & Sherwood District council's recently established National Civil War Centre, focusing on the Civil War era siegeworks surrounding Newark-on-Trent. These represent the most complete example of their kind in the UK, and the project will utilise the latest geophysical and topographical survey techniques to revaluate upstanding earthworks and features previously thought to have been destroyed in order to produce an accurate reconstruction of a mid-17th century town at war.

Research Interests

• English Civil War archaeology
• Castle studies
• The consumption of material culture
• Early post-medieval ceramics

Selected Conference Papers

October 2010. The consumption of material culture in castles during the English Civil War. Postgraduate Conference in Historical Archaeology, University of Leicester.

October 2011. ‘Not with down-right bloews to rout’: the social side of siege warfare during the English Civil Wars. Postgraduate Conference in Conflict Archaeology, University of Glasgow.

November 2011. 'Beyond the Castle Gate: a biographical approach to castle studies'. Medieval and Ancient Seminar Series, University of Sheffield.

April 2014. ‘Thing-breaking or king-breaking? The destruction of religious material culture during the English Civil Wars (1642-1651)’. Forum Archaeologiae Post-Mediaevalis, Prague, Czech Republic.

September 2014. ‘Bringing up the Bodies: The Missing Casualties of the English Civil War’. European Association of Archaeogists 20th Annual Meeting, Istanbul, Turkey.

September 2014. ‘Strongholds of tradition: castles, material culture and Royalist identity during the English Civil Wars.’ Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology Annual Conference, Liverpool