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Walking in History

Posted on 28 October 2020

University of York archaeologist Dr Jim Leary talks to the BBC History Magazine about his research in how people moved around in the past, from wayfarers to pilgrims, from drovers to long-distance travellers.


Jim Leary explains in a History Extra podcast what we know about the ways people from prehistory to the medieval period moved around the world they lived in. He discusses why understanding mobility is important, and how mobility is freedom, constraint, rebellion and performance; how it is known, changed, blamed, feared, and controlled. He also discusses paths, routeways and roads and how they have been foci for social activity. Discussions of the past have traditionally focused on static sites, but Jim argues that we can enliven the past by incorporating movement. This work is the subject of a recently co-authored paper in the journal Antiquity and a forthcoming book provisionally entitled ‘Roam’.