Olaf Bayer

Profile details


Research Associate, Tutor and D.Phil supervisor in Landscape Archaeology


Olaf teaches, provides fieldwork training and supervises dissertations/extended essays on the MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology and Undergraduate Certificate in Archaeology; he also teaches on the Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology.



Olaf has a degree in archaeology from the University of Leicester (1996), an MA in landscape archaeology from the University of Sheffield (2000), and a PhD in archaeology from the University of Central Lancashire (2011). He has also worked extensively as a professional field archaeologist. Between 2012 and 2014 Olaf worked as a project officer on the Archaeology of East Oxford Project (www.archeox.net). In 2014-15 he was a Departmental Lecturer, directing our Certificate and MSc courses, covering for David Griffiths who was on a research fellowship. He now works for Historic England as an archaeological investigator.


Olaf is a landscape archaeologist and prehistorian. His research focuses primarily on Mesolithic, Neolithic and Early Bronze Age landscapes in southern and western Britain. He has a background in excavation, surface collection, lithic analysis, geophysical survey, geomatics, GIS and analytical earthwork survey. He is also interested in encouraging community participation in archaeological research. Research projects include:

Lower Exe Valley Project
Between 2006 and 2011 Olaf’s doctoral research focused on the contents and contexts of surface lithic scatters in the lower Exe valley, Devon. His thesis is available here, and articles based on this research are available here and here.

Stonehenge Riverside Project
In 2008 Olaf co-supervised excavations at the Stonehenge Avenue bend as part of the Stonehenge Riverside Project. Results are published in the first volume of Stonehenge for the Ancestors.

Damerham Archaeology Project
Founded in 2008 the Damerham Archaeology Project focuses on a complex prehistoric landscape on the eastern edge of Cranborne Chase, Hampshire. The project has investigated a series of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments through a combination of aerial photograph interpretation, extensive geophysical and surface collection surveys, and targeted excavation. The project has also provided training in archaeological techniques to both archaeology students and local residents. An article on surface collection assemblages from Damerham is available here.

Archaeology of East Oxford Project
Between 2012 and 2014 Olaf worked on as a project officer for the Archaeology of East Oxford Project with Prof David Griffiths and Dr Jane Harrison. As part of the project Olaf led geophysical surveys; the excavation of a late Glacial/early Holocene peat deposit and a mid-Neolithic pit circle; and research into lithic assemblages from local museum collections. The final project monograph is available here, a summary article of the project is available here and an impact case study here.

Emmets Post Barrow, Dartmoor
In 2014 Olaf led the excavation of an Early Bronze Age round barrow on the southern edge of Dartmoor for Oxford Archaeology. The excavation report is available here and a summary of the project is available here.


Salisbury Plain Landscape Transitions (SPLAT)
With Prof David Griffiths and Richard Osgood of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. In 2015 the project was awarded an ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant to develop proposals and methods for a multi-period landscape investigation on the Salisbury Plain Training Area. This resulted in a series of seminars and a successful pilot project surveying the Neolithic Causewayed enclosure at Robin Hood's Ball (with MSc Applied Landscape Archaeology students). A pdf report on the Department's pilot project at Robin Hood's Ball Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure can be found here.

Historic England

In his day job at Historic England Olaf conducts analytical earthwork surveys and desk-based assessments of sites and landscapes in the south and west of England from the Neolithic to 20th century in date. His research reports are available here. Articles on his research are available here and here.


D.Phil supervision

Olaf co-supervised David Durkin’s thesis on early Neolithic causewayed enclosures to successful completion in 2020. He is currently co-supervising Sally Taylor’s research on Neolithic stone axes.