A window at Scarborough castle

Medieval & Historical Archaeology

Overview

York is a centre of research excellence in medieval and historical archaeology, not just for the UK, but also explore these interests in a broader context that includes the medieval Islamic world. The research interests of this group are linked to many of the most significant themes of medieval and historic-period archaeology.  Our research considers the relationships between archaeology, art, and history, and material culture and text; culture contact and sociopolitical transitions; local and global trade, exchange, and interaction; settlement and inhabitation of buildings, landscapes, and social spaces; working and social relationships between people, animals, and animal products; material expressions of identity and social location; and the archaeology of death and memory.

We have a number of primary fieldwork specialties, including:  recording, analysis, and visualisation of medieval and post-medieval buildings, with particular strengths in church buildings, public architecture, vernacular housing, and virtual reality reconstruction; mapping and analysis of medieval and early modern settlements and estate landscapes in Britain and abroad; the remains of medieval and early modern mortuary and commemorative practice; and consideration of modern heritage sites and public engagement and perceptions.  

We work closely with colleagues in other disciplines through the Centre for Medieval Studies (CMS) and Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CECS), both of which are based at King's Manor, adjacent to the Archaeology Department.

Members

  • Michelle Alexander specialises in the use of stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N, δ34S, δ16O) applied to human and animal remains to understand diet and economies in historic societies. She is particularly interested in exploring the interface of socio-cultural and economic transitions in the Medieval Mediterranean, especially in relation to faith (Islam and Christianity).
  • Steve Ashby uses artefacts to address questions about Viking-Age trade, technology, culture contact and identity. He has worked on large datasets of  bone, metal, and ceramic objects, with the common thread being the articulation of traditional artefact study, archaeological science, and social theory.
  • Martin Carver is a leading early medieval archaeologist, specialising in Anglo-Saxon studies and the early-medieval world.. He is currently Director of the SicTransit project.
  • Jonathan Finch is an historical archaeologist who specialises in landscape, poverty, slavery and commemoration.
  • Kate Giles is a buildings archaeologist with a specialism in the recording, archival research and theoretical interpretation of historic buildings. She is particularly interested in the relationship between people, places and possessions and in the archaeology of 'public' buildings, such as guildhalls, town halls village halls from the middle ages to the present day.
  • Jane Grenville (Honorary Research Fellow and former member of staff) specialises in the archaeology of buildings, heritage policy and the conservation of historic structures. She is currently revising the Yorkshire: North Riding volume in the Pevsner Architectural Guides series (Yale University Press).
  • Malin Holst  specialises in bioarchaeology with particular emphasis on osteology and palaeopathology, and has worked on important assemblages from across the medieval and historical period.  
  • Aleks McClain is a medieval archaeologist specializing in church architecture, commemorative sculpture, and the Anglo-Norman period. She is particularly interested in secular/religious relationships, transition, and social identity.
  • Julian Richards is a leading early medieval archaeologist, specialising in the impact of the Vikings in England. He is currently Co-Director of the Viking Torksey project.
  • John Schofield researches in cultural heritage management, landscape, archaeology of the contemporary past, and conflict archaeology.
  • Tim Sutherland specialises in the archaeology of medieval battlefields and warfare
  • Stephanie Wynne-Jones works in the medieval and historical archaeology of Africa. She has directed projects across eastern Africa, with a particular focus on the Swahili coast. She also teaches on Islamic archaeology in Africa and elsewhere. Her research strengths are in the analysis of buildings and material culture.

Research Projects

 Medieval and Historical Archaeology

 

Landscape & Society

Archaeologies of the Norman Conquest (Twitter @archaenc (Medieval/Historical)
Funded: AHRC 

Partners: University of Exeter archaeology (https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/archaeology/); Norwich Castle Museum (https://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/norwich-castle)

Website: www.normanarchaeology.orghttps://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/research/current-projects/norman-archaeology

AHRC Research Network focusing on setting a new material-focused research agenda for the 11th and 12th centuriesArchaeologies of the Norman Conquest (Medieval/Historical)
Funded: AHRC 

Partners: University of Exeter archaeology (https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/archaeology/); Norwich Castle Museum (https://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/norwich-castle)

Website: www.normanarchaeology.orghttps://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/research/current-projects/norman-archaeology

AHRC Research Network focusing on setting a new material-focused research agenda for the 11th and 12th centuries

 

Partners

Key Contacts

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