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Prof. Dawn Hadley is a medieval archaeologist and historian who has published widely on the society and cultures of early medieval England and the Viking Age. She has focussed, in particular, on issues of ethnicity, migration, gender, and childhood, and on funerary practices and settlements. Her expertise lies in interdisciplinary research, and she has a long track-record of integrating historical and archaeological evidence, and humanities-based approaches to the past with those drawn from archaeological science. More recently, she has developed collaborations with computer scientists to explore digital methods of analysing and disseminating information about medieval buildings and funerary practices. When taking the occasional break from being a medievalist, she also has research interests in nineteenth-century childhood and working-class society. Dawn has extensive experience of public engagement activities, working with theatre companies and digital design organisations to present her research to audiences beyond academia.
Dawn trained as a historian, completing her PhD and post-doctoral research fellowship in the School of History at the University of Birmingham. She has also taught medieval history at the University of Leeds. Most recently, she was Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, where she was also Deputy Faculty Director of Research & Innovation (PG matters) (2009-2013), Head of Department (2014-18), and Acting Vice President for Arts & Humanities (2017-18). She joined the Department of Archaeology and Centre for Medieval Studies at York in September 2018.
Dawn is currently working with her colleague Prof. Julian Richards on the site of the Viking Great Army’s winter camp at Torksey (Lincolnshire). Their project, Tents to Towns, explores the broader impact of the Viking Great Army on England. This research has recently been published in The Viking Great Army and the Making of a Nation (Thames & Hudson; 2021), and work is underway on a new book, Tents to Towns: the Viking Great army and its legacy (to be published with OUP). Fieldwork has been funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, and also the Society of Antiquaries of London, and post-excavation analysis is being undertaken in collaboration with York's Dr Gareth Perry and Dr Elizabeth Craig-Atkins (University of Sheffield).
Dawn recently published a book on the medieval castle of Sheffield (South Yorkshire) in collaboration with Prof. John Moreland (University of Sheffield), entitled Sheffield Castle: Archaeology, Archives, Regeneration, 1927-2018 (https://doi.org/10.22599/SheffieldCastle). Demolished during the English Civil War in the mid-seventeenth century, the former castle has continued to have a profound impact on the development of the city, which is better known for its industrial history than its medieval heritage. This book sets out to present a very different version of Sheffield’s past, revealing just how important the medieval history of the city continues to be, and arguing for the value of heritage in regeneration initiatives: 'This book illustrates the impact archaeological research in archives and trenches can have on a great city, helping create a purpose for a viable post-industrial future' (Current Archaeology). She has led an AHRC-funded project to develop a VR model of the castle and has worked to make avalable the archaeological archives via the Archaeology Data Service: Sheffield Castle, 1927-2018.
Dawn has received funding from AHRC, UKRI and XR Stories to undertake work on Park Hill Flats in Sheffield, using digital technologies to engage with the public and to support the work of the Residents' Association of the flats. This project is called Stories in the Sky and is seeking to bring to life the stories of those who have lived in this iconic Yorkshire building, one of the largest Listed Buildings in Europe.
In 2018 Dawn was co-editor (with Sally Crawford (University of Oxford) and Gillian Shepherd (La Trobe University, Melbourne)) of the Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Childhood: 'a must-have ... a brilliant showcase for the diversity and richness of the field of the archaeology of childhood' (Antiquity); 'This book represents the coming-of-age of a discipline which recognizes that there were few arenas of past discourse in which non-adults would not have been present' (Assemblage); 'a central book in the archaeology of childhood' (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ur- und Frühgeschichte); 'forward-thinking approaches to the archaeology of childhood' (The Classical Journal Online); 'a long-awaited compendium that lives up to expectations. The scholarship is first rate' (Archaeological Review from Cambridge); 'an excellent addition to the Oxford Handbook series, and highly recommended' (Current Archaeology)
2020 Stories in the Sky, UKRI (with Dr Catriona Cooper)
2019 Tents to Towns, British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, and Society of Antiquaries
2019 Heritage-led Urban Regeneration, Arts & Humanities Research Council (with Dr Catriona Cooper)
2017-18 Digital Engagement for Heritage-Led Urban Regeneration, Arts & Humanities Research Council/Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
2016-18 Humanizing Antiquity: Biocultural Approaches to Identity Formation in Ancient Boeotia, central Greece, European Union Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
2011-17 Research on the Viking winter camp at Torksey (Lincolnshire), British Academy, Society of Antiquaries, and Robert Kiln Trust (with Prof. Julian Richards)
2014 Harvey Teasdale: The Sheffield ‘Man Monkey’, Arts Council for England and University of Sheffield, Festival of the Mind (with Dr Vicky Crewe (Sheffield))
2013 Sweet Comradeship,Arts and Humanities Research Council Cultural Engagement Award
2012-2015 Rehousing the Archaeological Collections of Experience Barnsley,Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund (with Natalie Murray of Barnsley Museums Service)
2013 All Sorts of Wickedness,Arts and Humanities Research Council Connected CommunitiesScheme, and University of Sheffield, Festival of the Mind (with Dr Vicky Crewe)
2012-2013 Performing the Past,White Rose University Consortium research networking grant (with Dr Vicky Crewe, Dr Kate Giles and Prof. Jonathan Pitches (Leeds))
2009-2011 Power of Place: Sheffield Manor Lodge, Higher Education Innovation Fund
I have extensive experience of PhD supervision, having supervised over 30 PhD students to successful completion; they now hold research and lecturing posts in Universities, run their own businesses as archaeological specialists, work in cultural heritage management, or manage business development and teaching quality enhancement departments in leading universities. I can supervise research on any aspect ofearly medieval England, and particularly welcome applications with an interdisciplinary focus. The impact of the Vikings on the British Isles is another area I am happy to supervise. I have supervised many PhDs on aspects of funerary archaeology in Britain and continental Europe from the Roman period to the nineteenth century, and I particularly welcome applications from students whose Masters training is in human osteology. Many of my former PhD students had previously trained in a range of archaeological science techniques, including ceramic petrography, archaeometallurgy and geomorphology and I am keen to recruit students from such backgrounds. Finally, I am happy to supervise students conducting research on later medieval material culture.
Selection of previous PhD topics supervised
Lucy Moore – Stycas, kings and Vikings: the copper-alloy revolution in 9th-century England (with Dr Andrew Woods, Yorkshire Museum) (funded by WRoCAH)
John Margham – The Isle of Wight c. 650 to c. 1150: a study of localisation in a landscape (Centre for Medieval Studies)
Sarah Everett – The zooarchaeology of economic change and urban decline in the late antique Balkans (c.AD 300-700) (with Dr David Orton) (funded by WRoCAH)
Aster Wood – Health and childhood in Roman and early medieval northern Britain (with Dr Paola Ponce)
Hanna Jansson – Viking-Age chamber graves (with Dr Steve Ashby) (funded by the Wolfson Foundation)
Mark Randerson – A Comparative Analysis of the Artefact Assemblages from the winter camps of the Viking Great Army at Torksey and Aldwark (with Julian Richards)
Recently completed research students
Joe Empsall – Stories in the Sky (with Dr Catriona Cooper) (funded by University of York, XR Stories)