2024/5 – “The Threshold Book.” (Text currently with editor. Publisher to be announced.)
There are thresholds of body, mind, metaphor, society, ritual, buildings, world and time. They are not the dull grey middle ground, but the dynamic point of difference and exchange. Interaction and differentiation are both in the threshold. That which links and that which separates. Fuzzy. Threatening. Enticing. The edge. The point where we realise that the map is not the territory. Where our ideas/ideals/idols clash with the real. 

2023 – “Wandering Away from Paganism.” in ‘Changing Paths’ by Yvonne Aburrow. 1000volt Press.
This book chapter describes my thoughts on my journey away from modern Paganism towards a nuanced and simpler mindfulness practice drawing on the Tao Teh Ching. What originally inspired me and what speaks to me now. And considerations of how the second half of life needs a different approach. Includes some academic ritual theory. 

2019 – “Sutton Hoo. Suffolk. A souvenir guide.” The National Trust.
The Sutton Hoo estate is home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. This book puts it in the context of:- The natural landscape of the River Deben where the barrows were built. The world of Anglo-Saxon kings, women, warriors and crafts people. The personalities, Edith Pretty and Basil Brown, behind the perilous wartime discovery. The on-going archaeological research. 

Professor Martin Carver (Director of the Sutton Hoo Research Project) “I found it a splendid piece of work with real depth —  as exciting as it was informative.”. 

2018 – “King John’s Hunting Lodge. Somerset. A souvenir guide.” The National Trust.
A guide to the little known medieval treasure of a building which is brim full of artifacts that tell the history of the town of Axbridge founded by Saxon kings. This fine timber framed building was restored by the National Trust, after a long and varied history as a wool merchants, a saddlers, a pub, a watchmakers and a private store for dolls and antiques. You will see a ‘nail’ pillar once used for trading, the town stocks, the workhouse coffin and paintings of the wool market outside the lodge.  

2017 – “Cheddar Gorge. Somerset. A souvenir guide.” The National Trust.
A tour through Britain’s biggest gorge. The formation of the spectacular caves and cliffs is explained. As is the long history from the earliest evidence of cannibalism in the last Ice Age, via the 8000 year old Cheddar Man who still has descendants in the village, to the first tours, the show caves and the world famous Cheddar cheese. Then there are also unique plants and trees found here clinging to the cliffs, like the climbers taking on rock faces as challenging as mountains. A glossy publication with plenty of photographs. 

2017 – “Brean Down. Somerset. A souvenir guide.” The National Trust.
An introduction to this rich landscape that has visible remains for all periods from the Ice Age climate fluctuations to World War II special weapons testing, via a relic plant community unchanged since the last Ice Age, barrows, a Bronze Age village, field systems, an Iron Age hillfort, a Roman Temple, a very early Christian anchorites cell, a tsunami or two, navies accommodation, Victorian and World War II gun emplacements. A glossy publication with plenty of photographs.

2012 – Richard D G Irvine, Nick Hanks and Candace Weddle. “Sacred Architecture: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives.” in ‘Archaeology and Anthropology: Past, Present and Future.’ (Association of Social Anthropologists monograph 48) ed. David Shankland, pp 91-118. Oxford Berg. [Extracts of this chapter are on the Doorways to the Divine page.]
My contribution to this book chapter outlines the use of permeability mapping (Hillier and Hanson, 1984) as a way of exploring the interaction between the ritual behaviour, the space and the material culture. It includes a model for liturgical ritual buildings derived from the eight case studies (Anglican Christians, Ba’hais, Buddhists, Druids, Hindus, Muslims, Reform Jews, and Sikhs). This model was found to differ uniquely from non-religious buildings and mirrored the ideas of Durkheim on rites of passage

2008 – Niall Finneran, Nick Hanks, Joe Parsons, and Geoffrey Tassie. “(Middle) EAST meets (South) WEST: a cross-cultural approach to field training.” The Archaeologist. Spring 2008. Number 67. pp.20-21. 9 [The Journal for the Institute of Field Archaeologists, now the Institute for Archaeologists].
This article explores the cultural implications arising from the experience of training Bedouin students from the United Arab Emirates in field archaeology in Cornwall. This training was part of the Slaughterbridge Training Excavation Project (STEP). [It is interesting to note that despite the highly unusual nature of this event which raises eyebrows when ever it is mentioned, with one exception, the media totally ignored it.]

2007 – “Lost at the edges of North Somerset: three possible long barrows.” Bristol and Avon Archaeology. Volume 21. pp.77-80
This article aims to test these sites for plausibility by not only using the author’s own observations and research, but as the main criteria the data amassed by Lewis (2005) on all of the known long barrows of North Somerset. Of the three in this study, Brean Down has been considered previously, but the Hengaston at Failand and the boundary stones at Bathwick Hill have not.

2007 – “Bewys Cross, the Bevis Stone and Sir Bevis of Hampton: An exploration of possible connections.” Bristol and Avon Archaeology. Volume 21. pp. 87-90
This article discusses the relationship between the medieval Bewys Cross in the grounds of King’s Weston House, and the (now lost) Bevis Stone at the mouth of the River Avon. It considers in particular the origin of the name, and the popular folk hero Sir Bevis of Hampton.

2000 – (by Oliver Garnett) “Dyrham Park. Guidebook.” The National Trust.
Made extensive use of the year long research project carried out by Nick Hanks in the previous year, for which there is a specific credit in the acknowledgements. Available at Dyrham Park.

2000 – “Dyrham Park – Discover more.” The National Trust.
Research and document transcriptions carried out by Nick Hanks published on CD-ROM. Available at Dyrham Park. 

Conference Papers

2014 – Bodies in Space: using the power of space in ritual. Paper at BASR (British Association for the Study of Religion) conference, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. [A version of this paper is on the Bodies and Minds in Space page.]
Even a seemingly blank space has points and lines of emphasis that create a physiological and psychological response that we are rarely consciously aware of, either while standing in a space ourselves or felt while observing others in a space. This emphasis shifts as other bodies and objects are added to the space, forming spatial relations between them. Also more significantly thresholds can be easily created with just the addition of two objects to the space. All of this does not require complex architecture. This spatial awareness was explored in workshops by Clive Barker (Theatre Games 1977) as it is regularly exploited in performance. I experienced Barker’s workshops and have found an awareness of the spatial effects useful in approaching both the study of ritual and in the performance of rituals. Thomas A Markus (Buildings and Power 1993) observed that for buildings their raison d’être is to interface Visitors and Inhabitants and to exclude Strangers. The relations between these three groups are expressed through the use of the thresholds and spatial emphasis. Also different modes of ritual, as described by Ronald L Grimes (Beginnings in Ritual Studies 1982), make different use of this due to their differing relations to power. This paper will (space allowing) involve as much practical demonstration as the room allows (with the option of moving outside later to demonstrate larger effects). I will commence with some of Barker’s exercises before moving in to exploring some ritual examples I have encountered.

2013 – Thresholds of spaces: the relations of Inhabitant-Visitor-Stranger. Paper at EASR (European Association for the Study of Religion) conference, Liverpool Hope University, UK. [A version of this paper is on the Thresholds of spaces page.]
Between social groups there are boundaries, and these social structures are made tangible in the space and buildings that groups use. As Markus (Buildings and Power 1993:13) observed the raison d’être of a building is to interface visitors and inhabitants and to exclude strangers. Thus making two different thresholds for the group who use the space; the boundary of separation from the strangers and the boundary of transaction with the inhabitants (who maybe non-physical). This is a projection of the fundamental body ‘container’ metaphor identified by Lakoff and Johnson (1980:29-30 and 1999:32-36). How these thresholds are manifest in the architecture and used by the groups can be informative; what or who is or is not allowed across these thresholds reveals the groups confidence or fears of group contamination, the willingness to embrace the change that crossing these thresholds manifests, and how the powerful threshold is controlled.

2012 – Doorways to the Divine : permeability analysis as an approach to the study of ritual. Paper at EASR (European Association for the Study of Religion) conference, Södertörn University, Sweden. [A version of this paper is on the Doorways to the Divine page.]
Permeability analysis was developed by Hillier and Hanson (The Social Logic of Space 1984) as a method for understanding how the space with in buildings is used. It reveals the social organization and ideology projected on to the arrangement and connectivity of rooms. I developed this method with ideas from archaeology and performance to apply it to religious buildings and to more transient spaces created during rituals within larger rooms or outside. My case studies were eight different faiths including Druids and Baha’is in Bristol, England. My study found a pattern to the use of space across these faiths that differed uniquely from non-religious buildings and which mirrored the ideas of Durkheim on rites of passage (in Irvine, Hanks and Weddle ‘Sacred Architecture: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives’ in Archaeology and Anthropology: Past, Present and Future ASA monograph 2012). I am now interested in furthering this work by applying this method to the diverse forms of ritual space used in contemporary Paganisms and popular/alternative spiritualities to see what this reveals about them, their use of space and about the usefulness of permeability analysis as a methodology.

2009 – Doorways to the Divine : the use of space in contemporary religious buildings. Paper at ASA (Association of Social Anthropologists) conference, Bristol University, UK.
This is a study of the use of space in eight buildings around Bristol, England, used by Anglican Christians, Baha’is, Buddhists, Druids, Hindus, Muslims, Reform Jews, and Sikhs. Each was visited and a user of the space interviewed. The spaces were sketch-planned and recorded as permeability maps after Hillier and Hanson (1984) as a way of exploring the interaction between the ritual behaviour, the space and the material culture. Various aspects of these buildings are examined: the adaptation of the pre-existing buildings; the role of the reception spaces in preparation and the separation of strangers; how the community spaces make connections and containment of the culture; the arrangement of the main ritual space and the activities carried out there; the physical actions of participants; the use of space and objects; and how the ritual focus is the centre of the attentional focus behaviour necessary for ritual. However, the study also examines why the visual access to it is restricted, and how the ritual focus is implied as a liminal gateway to hidden layers of permeability beyond, hence making religious buildings incomplete structures. The study concludes with a model of the structure of religious buildings based on those examined in this study, which parallels that of Turner’s (1982) model for ritual practice. [This paper and two others in the same session formed the book chapter published by the ASA in 2012, see above.]

2007 – with Yvonne Aburrow. Archaeology and Paganisms: a clash of cultures? Paper for CHAT (Conference for Historical Archaeology in Theory) Sheffield University, UK.
Both Archaeology and contemporary Paganisms have their origins in the modern and post-modern discourses of the last three hundred years. Both are misrepresented in the media. Despite this both are proving to be highly popular. Both Archaeology and Paganisms have an institutional, organised aspect (IFA and Pagan Federation). Both have an experimental aspect which is often misunderstood (the recent excavation of the Ford Transit, and Chaos Magicians who perform Tellytubbies rituals). Both have maverick anti-establishment fringe from which they seek to disassociate themselves (metal detectorists and Stonehenge protesters), but which those outside the discourse regard as the same group.

Research Reports

These will have been deposited at the relevant county records offices as well as with the commissioning organisation. They all relate to sites in England, UK.

2024 – The National Trust Archaeological Survey, The Polden Hills, Somerset. (in preparation)
2016 – Erosion monitoring report 1997-2016, Brean Down, Somerset.
2012 – Erosion monitoring report 1997-2012, Brean Down, Somerset.
2006 – An Historic and Archaeological Assessment of the Manor of Worthyvale – Cornwall.
2005 – An Historic Assessment of Holt Forest and Holt Wood (Dorset) for English Nature.
2004 – The National Trust Archaeological Survey, Failand, North Somerset.
2003 – The National Trust Archaeological Survey, Tyntesfield Park, North Somerset.
2003 – The National Trust Archaeological Survey, Crook Peak and Wavering Down, Somerset.
2001 – National Trust Archive – Dunster Castle. Transcriptions and database on CD-ROM.
2000 – National Trust Archive – Dyrham Park. Transcriptions and database on CD-ROM.
2000 – The National Trust Archaeological Survey, Brean Down, Somerset.
1997 – with Martin Papworth. Dyrham Park Geophysical Survey, The West Garden.