Archaeologies of the Norman Conquest is a new research network examining the cultural, social, and political implications of the Norman Conquest through an explicit focus on archaeology and material culture. Its chief aims are to highlight the new insights and nuanced interpretations that archaeology can bring to this fundamental turning point in British history, and to articulate an inclusive research framework for the 11th and 12th centuries that brings together the scientific, humanistic, academic, professional, and public engagement arms of archaeology. It seeks to raise both academic and public awareness of the important role archaeology has to play in understanding this cultural touchstone.
This network is based around a series of three workshops, focusing on the themes of interpretative agendas, methodologies, and heritage and public impacts. Current research is beginning to demonstrate that not only is the Norman Conquest visible in the archaeological record at a wide range of social levels and in many aspects of life, but also that if the right questions are asked of the data, the conclusions we can draw from the archaeology often contradict or add considerable nuance to the story of the Conquest told in the documentary record. By providing a forum for the presentation of innovative scholarship and the discussion of new questions, agendas, and research directions, the network will contribute to re-evaluating the long-standing narratives of the Conquest, its process, and its aftermath.
This project is funded by an AHRC Research Networking grant, led by the universities of York and Exeter, with partnership from Norwich Castle Museum.
For more information and resources generated by the project, visit http://www.normanarchaeology.org
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For network participants, please see our website: http://www.normanarchaeology.org/participants
This workshop aims to review and assess the current state and future directions for Norman Conquest archaeology, with a programme emphasizing theoretical approaches, problematizing continuity and change, and research questions with interdisciplinary value. Key themes emerging from this workshop will help us begin designing a research agenda for the period which will be circulated among network participants and eventually disseminated.
The second workshop highlights particular methodologies and techniques which have the potential to redefine the questions we are able to ask of the Norman Conquest. Contributions will emphasize a wide range of methods, including those which have been refined in other areas of archaeology, but which are potentially highly valuable in this period, as well as the integration of scientific and humanities-focused approaches. Potential future research projects and funding bids will be a key point of discussion, as will further work on the research agenda.
The final workshop focuses on communicating the archaeology of the Norman Conquest to wider audiences, and on how collaborations between academics and heritage bodies can improve public understanding of the material dimensions of the 11th and 12th centuries through outreach and education. The workshop will facilitate the formation of cross-sector partnerships and future research on existing datasets and collections. Discussion (informed by all three workshops) will contribute to Norwich Castle Museum’s Stage 2 HLF application to restore its 12th-century keep and revitalize display of its Norman collections.