Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur Cathedral in Narbonne
Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur Cathedral in Narbonne
Dr Pamela Marshall FSA

Pamela is an expert in the archaeology of standing buildings. Her interests range from the Classical to the Renaissance, but she specialises particularly in the medieval period.

Dr. Pamela Marshall, FSA, is an expert in the archaeology of standing buildings. Although she has led excavations, Pamela has always been attracted by the fascination of the archaeology that lies imbedded in what stands above ground as well as that which lies buried. Whether investigated from scaffolding, clinging to the face of a cathedral or a castle, or painstakingly unpicking the sequences of change in a great mansion or farmhouse, the unravelling of a building reveals its place in the relationship between humankind and the setting of their lives. A retired lecturer, her work on the medieval castle is internationally recognised and she represents Britain on the international committee of Europe’s leading colloquium on that area of study. She continues to act in an advisory capacity on historic buildings, to pursue research, and to write. She spends part of the year in France.

Her most recent publications include:
• Forthcoming 2018: ‘The Romanesque Donjon at Montbazon: a Reassessment’ in forthcoming festschrift Papers in Honour of Derek Renn ed. Neil Guy.
• 2016: ‘Some thoughts on the use of the Anglo-Norman donjon’ in Castles and the Anglo-Norman World, (ed.) John A. Davies, Angela Riley, Jean-Marie Levesque and Charlotte Lapiche, Oxbow Books, Oxford.
• 2015: ‘The Angevin donjon and its legacy in post-Conquest Britain’ in A House that Thieves Might Knock At, Tower Studies 1&2, ed. R. Oram, Shaun Tyas, Donington.

What first sparked your passion for archaeology?

I had been considering being a nurse or a film star until, at the age of 11, I remembered that it was perfectly obvious I had always wanted to be an archaeologist. My mother put this down to my having ‘cut my teeth’ on Hadrian’s Wall on regular family outings from babyhood, but I don’t know whether that’s true.

What does archaeology mean to you?

Archaeology has been my passion for as long as I can remember. It’s not just the thrill of working out the puzzle - finding the piece that helps the bigger picture fall into place, although that is certainly part of it - it’s the way in which all those pictures come together to throw light on our ancestors’ experience. For me Archaeology is about people - it’s a means of investigating the changes, developments and vicissitudes that occurred in their lives that gives us an ongoing insight into human condition.

What is the most interesting experience you have had leading an Andante tour?

I was genuinely delighted when people began to say that they were looking at ruins in a completely different way. Once people know how to look they see more for themselves remarkably quickly. I love it when they start pointing things out themselves and discussions spring up spontaneously.

What is your favourite archaeological site?

That’s like saying “What’s your favourite wine, or cheese, or child”! Each site has its own strengths, its own fascination - it depends on what you are focussing on at that point. So many sites, too little time!

How many tours have you led for Andante?

I led my first tour for Andante last year, although I have led many academic tours over nigh-on thirty years. I thoroughly enjoyed the Andante one!

Have you written any books or featured in any TV programmes?

Mostly I have contributed to multi-authored books and academic journals, mostly on castles, although and I have also written guidebooks. I wrote two books on a Renaissance great house in Nottingham, one specifically on the building itself and another that arose out of what I found out about the family and their lives while I was doing the background historical research. Really, it was better than soap opera - you couldn’t have made it up! I have appeared on several TV series, including BBC 2’s Coast, David Dimbleby's The Building of Britain, Simon Thurley’s Lost Buildings of Britain, and an American series whose name I cannot remember. But the most entertaining filming experience I had was over a weekend in France with the Python Terry Jones for his BBC 2 series Medieval Lives - unforgettable!”