Spotlight on Alex Woolf

Alex Woolf in Iceland in 2012

Alex Woolf in Iceland in 2012

Dr Alex Woolf arrived in St Andrews in 2001 after serving four years at the University of Edinburgh as Lecturer in Celtic and Early Scottish History and Culture. His career began inauspciously, having dropped out of a degree in Scandinavian Studies at UCL after only one year in 1983. He returned to university studies three years later, taking a Joint Honours degree in Medieval History and Medieval English at the University of Sheffield in 1989. He remained in Sheffield as a postgraduate in the Department of Archaeology and Prehistory until 1995 when he took up a lectureship in Archaeology at the University of Wales Lampeter.

Pictland to Alba

Since leaving school Alex has been lucky enough never to have to think very hard about anything that happened after the middle of the thirteenth century and is more interested in the first millennium BC than he is in the Later Middle Ages. He is perhaps best known for his work on the Picts, including his 2007 monograph From Pictland to Alba and an article published in 2006 demonstrating that the core Pictish kingdom, Fortriu, was in fact in a completely different part of Scotland than had previously been thought. He is trained principally as a multidisciplinary Anglo-Saxonist and spends a great deal of time thinking about Anglo-Saxon geography.

You can listen to Alex speaking at a workshop on The Battle of Brunanburh Revisited at the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, University of Nottingham, on 26 October 2011. Click here for the audio.………………………………………………………..


Alex with PGS

Alex teaches at all levels in the school and currently runs Honours modules on the Gildas and the Ruin of Britain, Britons and Saxons, Adomnán and his World and is introducing a new Special Subject on Norway in Saga Times. He was, until recently, director of the St Andrews Institute for Mediaeval Studies.



You can see Alex in a video as part of the University of Reading’s Researchers’ Night in September 2011. Here Alex is is speaking about the links between Reading Abbey and the Isle of May in Scotland.

Alex in the Reading Researchers' Night video about the Isle of May and Reading Abbey

Alex in the Reading Researchers’ Night video about the Isle of May and Reading Abbey

For more on Alex go to and

About standrewshistory
With over forty fulltime members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from Scotland to Byzantium and the Americas to South Asia. Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching, allowing for in-depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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