Accessibility statement

Prof. Dawn Hadley
Professor of Medieval Archaeology



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.

Departmental roles

  • Member of Departmental Research Committee

University roles

  • Director of the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities
  • Member of the Centre for Medieval Studies



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, 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 ( 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 available 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


Available PhD research projects

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

  • Medieval Material Culture: Explorations of Play, Performance and Biographical Trajectories
  • Burial Practices and Identity in Lombard Italy
  • Diet among Nineteenth-Century Working-Class Communities
  • Health and Disease in the Low Countries and Belgium in the Later Middle Ages
  • Punishment and Execution Practices in Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman England
  • A Geomorphological Analysis of the Viking Winter Camp of Torksey, Lincolnshire
  • Demography, Diet and Health in Roman York
  • The Cremation Cemeteries of Lincolnshire and their Urns
  • Viking-Age Lincoln and its Hinterland
  • Conversion Period Burial Practices
  • The Cruciform Brooch: Gender and Identity
  • Masculinity and Medieval Dining Practices
  • Post-depositional Treatment of Human Remains in Later Medieval England


Current Research Students

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)

Recently completed research students

Joe Empsall – Stories in the Sky (with Dr Catriona Cooper) (funded by University of York, XR Stories)

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)



  • The Viking Age: People, Places and Things (PGT)
  • Medieval Settlement and Communities (PGT)
  • Prehistory to the Present (UG)
  • Vikings in Northumbria (PGT; Centre for Medieval Studies)

External activities


  • Society for Medieval Archaeology (Council member 2003-2007; Honorary Secretary, 2007-2018)
  • Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past (committee member, 2007-ongoing; Vice President 2018-ongoing)
  • Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London (2006-)
  • Medieval Settlement Research Group (committee member 2000-2003, 2009-2012)
  • Viking Congress (English national representative)

Editorial duties

  • Member of editorial board for Northern Medieval World series at the Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University (since 2015 – ongoing)
  • Member of the Editorial Board for Medieval Archaeology (2007-2018)
  • Co-editor of Early Medieval Europe (2012-2015)


Invited talks and conferences

  • Viking Virtual Reality: Inside the Great Army’s Winter Camp’ (European Association of Archaeologists, Barcelona, September 2018; with Julian Richards, Damian Murphy, Jonathan Hook, Guy Schofield, Nicole Beale, Gareth Beale)
  • ‘The winter camp of the Viking Great Army at Torksey: an update’ (workshop on Viking Winter Camps, University of Santiago de Compostela, September 2018)
  • ‘Changing Places: tracing the Viking Great Army in Lincolnshire’ (Viking Congress, Copenhagen, August 2017)
  • ‘From Raiders to Traders, Tents to Town Houses: the Viking contribution to urban growth in Anglo-Saxon England’ (Helen Thirza Addyman lecture, Jorvik Viking Festival, York, February 2017)
  • ‘From Tents to Town Houses: the Viking Great Army and the Origins of the Borough of Torksey’ (W.G. Hoskins Lecture, University of Leicester, June 2017)
  • ‘Beyond the warrior: women, children and the men who were ‘only men’ in Viking-Age England’ (British Academy conference Aliens and Strangers in Medieval England, London, March 2015)
  • ‘The Viking winter camp at Torksey (Lincolnshire), 872-3’, Annual Lecture of the Society for Medieval Archaeology (University of Oxford, December 2014; with Julian Richards)
  • ‘The Viking winter camp at Torksey’ (Richard Rawlinson Congress lecture at the International Medieval Studies Congress, University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, May 2013)
  • ‘Torksey II: the Anglo-Scandinavian burh’ (Viking Congress, Shetland, August 2013)
  • ‘Ethnicity in Viking-Age England’ (University of Madrid, October 2013)
  • ‘Gender and punishment in later Anglo-Saxon England’ (keynote lecture to the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference, University of Manchester, January 2012)
  • ‘Medieval masculinity and the material culture of drinking – plenary address’ (Masculine Identifications, University of Huddersfield, July 2010)
  • ‘Protecting the dead in Viking-Age England’ (Viking Congress, Reykjavik, August 2009)
  • ‘Swords make the man? The material culture of masculinity in Anglo-Saxon England’ (Theorizing Anglo-Saxon Studies Symposium, University of Illinois, September 2009)
  • ‘Creating identity in Viking-Age England: archaeological perspectives’ (Eastward and westward: interethnic contacts at the time of the formation of the Rus, Novgorod, July 2009)
  • ‘Interdisciplinary approaches to settlements and estate structures: a north Lincolnshire case-study’ (Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England, AHRC Network, University of Reading, June 2008)
  • ‘Masculinity and material culture in the later Middle Ages’ (Intoxicants and Intoxication, ESRC Network, Victoria & Albert Museum, September 2008)
  • ‘Remembering and forgetting the dead in England, c.800-1100’ (Making the Church Holy, Oxford Brookes University, April 2007)
  • ‘The Vikings in England: an archaeological approach’ (International Medieval Studies Week, Estella, Navarre, July 2007)
  • ‘Identity in a Danelaw village’ (Perceptions of Medieval Landscapes, AHRC Network, University of York, September 2007)

Contact details

Professor Dawn Hadley
Professor of Medieval Archaeology
University of York
Department of Archaeology
King's Manor