Skip to main content

Dr Mike Bintley

  • Overview



    Mike's teaching focuses on the literature, material culture, and archaeology of medieval England and Scandinavia, with research interests in landscape, environment, settlements, and plant-life. He joined Birkbeck in 2018, after teaching at UCL, Oxford, and Canterbury Christ Church University.


    Professional activities

    - Chair, Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland
    - Series editor, Nature and Environment in the Middle Ages (Boydell)
    - Council member, Viking Society for Northern Research
    - Advisory board, Studies in Old English Literature (Brepols)
    - Founder/co-chair, Northern/Early Medieval Conference Series
    - Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
    - Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE)
    - External Examiner: Royal Holloway (2017-21); University of Bedfordshire (2016-20)

    Professional memberships

    • International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England

    • Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland

    • Viking Society for Northern Research

    • The Society for Medieval Archaeology

    Honours and awards


  • Research


    Research interests

    • Texts and Material Culture
    • Landscapes
    • Old English and Old Norse
    • Environment
    • Ecotheory and ecocriticism
    • Mind and cognitive approaches to textual and material cultures
    • Settlements and the built environment

    Research overview

    The relationship between the material world, literature, and other kinds of writing is at the heart of my research. My particular interests include landscape, environment, settlements, religion, materiality, ecotheory and ecocriticism, mind, and cognitive approaches to literature and material culture.

    I wrote my PhD thesis on ‘Trees and Woodland in Anglo-Saxon Culture’ (2009), supervised in the Department of English Language and Literature and at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.

    My first monograph, Trees in the Religions of Early Medieval England (Boydell, 2015), investigated the role of trees and woodland in the belief systems of early medieval England before and after the conversion to Christianity, exploring how this aspect of the environment shaped contemporary thought.

    With Professor Richard North I produced Andreas: an Edition (Liverpool University Press, 2016) for Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies. This is the first parallel text and translation of this important Old English poem, in which I discuss the environment and landscape of the city of Mermedonia, a forbidding domain inhabited by pagan anthropophagi. 

    I went on to work on the HLF-funded project ‘Finding Eanswythe: the Life and Afterlife of an Anglo-Saxon Saint’ in Folkestone. This community heritage and archaeology project focused on Folkestone’s patron saint, a Kentish princess connected with the foundation of the seventh century minster, and led to the dating of her supposed relics to the mid-seventh century. 

    My second monograph, Settlements and Strongholds: Texts and Landscapes in Early Medieval England (Brepols, 2020), addresses connections and disjunctions between representations of the constructed landscape in early medieval English texts and evidence for their form and function in the archaeological record. 

    My most recent book, Landscapes and Environments of the Middle Ages (Routledge, 2023), co-authored with Dr Kate Franklin (Birkbeck), offers an overview of medieval landscapes and environments from a literary-historical and archaeological perspective, making a case for the close relationship between the imaginary and the 'real'.

    Throughout my career I have edited essay collections with scholars working across disciplines. These include Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World (OUP, 2013); Representing Beasts in Early Medieval England and Scandinavia (Boydell, 2016); Sensory Perception in the Medieval West (Brepols, 2016); Stasis in the Medieval West? Questioning Change and Continuity (Palgrave, 2017); Insular Iconographies: Studies in Honour of Jane Hawkes (Boydell, 2019); Transitions and Relationships over Land and Sea in the Early Middle Ages of Northern Europe (Isle Heritage, 2023); The Surrounding Forest: Tree as Symbol and Metaphor at the Time of the European Middle Ages (Boydell, forthcoming).

    My current long-term book project is Minds in the Landscape: Texts, Environment, and Material Culture in Early Medieval England. This project draws on the Old English poetic corpus, vernacular charter bounds, and the 'Anglo-Saxon' Chronicles, situating evidence for textual environments in the context of embodied encounters with the physical landscapes of early medieval England.

    In addition to article-length works on Old English, Old Norse, and Middle English, I am also working on an anthology of translations covering plant life and trees in the Old English poetic corpus: Treow Forms: An Anthology of Trees and Plant Life in the Earliest English Poetry.

    Research Centres and Institutes

    • Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

    Research clusters and groups

    • Environmental Humanities

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    Mike has supervised doctoral work on medieval kingship, landscapes, and familial relationships, and is currently supervising work on ideology, violence, performance, and landscapes. He welcomes proposals from students interested in working on any aspects of the early Middle Ages related to landscapes, environment, ecotheory/ecocriticism, and interdisciplinary approaches to textual and material cultures.

    Current doctoral researchers



    Mike has taught Old and Middle English, Old Norse, and the History of the Language at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and has supervised undergraduate work on literature from the early middle ages to the present day.

    This year he is teaching on the following modules taught on BA programmes in the Department of English, Theatre, and Creative Writing, and on the MA in Medieval Literature and Culture:

    - The Arts: Perspectives and Possibilities (Foundation Year)

    - Connecting the Arts (BA)

    - Doing English (BA)

    - Reading Literature (BA)

    - Storytelling (BA)

    - Medieval and Renaissance Body, Mind, and Soul (BA)

    - Medievalisms: Re-presenting the Middle Ages (MA)

    - Working in the Middle Ages (MA)


  • Publications




    Book Section

  • Business and community

    Business and community


    I am happy to receive enquiries from the media on the following topics:

    • Early medieval landscapes
    • Early medieval environment
    • Old English literature