Carving of a bull and calf

Material Cultures

Overview

The department has a wealth of expertise in the field of material culture research. As an internationally renowned centre for Medieval and Post Medieval studies, it has been in the vanguard of work on the archaeology of commemoration (Finch, McClain), the inhabitation of religious and secular architectures (Finch, Giles & Grenville), and the role of artefacts in the construction of social identities (Dickinson, Richards, McClain)). The recent expansion of the department has stimulated new research in this area, with work on Viking Combs (Ashby) the Early Modern Ivory trade (Lane) and on the social dimensions of prehistoric technologies (Edmonds). A project on the Swahili coast of East Africa (Wynne-Jones) explores the ways that objects were part of economic, social and ritual practices, bound up in the ways that Swahili urbanism was constructed These themes are also carried through to the study of the more recent past, with major projects the more dramatic ‘Big Science’ projects of the 20th century, the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank (Edmonds).