Caitlin Kitchener

Research project

Thesis title: "Unite and Be Free": The Historical Archaeology of British Political Radicalism, c. 1815-1822.

Supervisor:  Dr Jonathan Finch

My PhD thesis focuses on British political radicalism of the early nineteenth century. Historical archaeology has yet to fully explore its political potential, both in regards to study and activism. In order to promote this engagement, I am exploring the radical landscapes and spaces that were being created across Britain between c. 1815-1822, including the Peterloo Massacre and female reform societies. The study is interdisciplinary, taking influences from sociology, art history, and history, and borrows from documentary archaeology. It seeks to promote archaeological study in areas traditionally dominated by history and reverse the dogma that sees separation of text and material. Rather, textual sources are seen as archaeological artefacts that also act as a way to gain access to ‘traditional’ artefacts which no longer survive. 


I completed my BA Archaeology and MA Historical Archaeology at the University of York, before immediately beginning my PhD here. My MA dissertation focused on Peterloo and utilised thematic analysis as a viable option of using text as archaeological artefact, making it a pilot study for my PhD. As well as political radicalism, my research interests include gender, emotion, colonialism, capitalism, and landscapes, within historical periods. I have undertaken two work experience placements at the Borthwick Institute for Archives and helped excavate with the Teffont Archaeology Project and Hidden Guildhall, amongst others. 


  • Kitchener, C. (2018). Back to the future: Autoethnography as a reflexive model for enhancing practice. Forum. Autumn 2018, 20-21.
  • Kitchener, C. (2019). The Trial of Henry Hunt. London: Mango Books.

Conference Papers

  • Where Worlds Meet: Polity, Ethics, and Archaeology. 17th January 2017, Yorkshire Student Research Archaeological Forum, York. Chair and organiser.
  • “They’ll Not Peterloo Us Again this Time”: The Historical Archaeology of Peterloo. 1st April 2017, Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, Hull.
  • “With Henry Hunt we’ll go my boys”: The Creation of Henry Hunt, the Radical Celebrity, 23rd July 2017, Second International John Thelwall Conference, University of Derby.
  • “See the Conquering hero Comes”: The Radical Landscapes of Henry Hunt and Improvement, 28th July 2017, British Association for Romantic Studies, University of York.
  • Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey… Stuff. 19th December 2017, Theoretical Archaeology Group, Cardiff. Chair and session organiser.
  • “Of course we’re safe, there’s a little shop”: Collecting and Curating Pop Culture. 19th December 2017, Theoretical Archaeology Group, Cardiff.
  • Material Voices: The Historical Archaeology of Peterloo. 6th June 2018. The Will of the People, Bath Spa University.
  • “I intend to quit this pestilential atmosphere of this Bastille”: The Historical Archaeology of Post-Peterloo Prisoners. 19th June 2018. CECS Postgraduate Research Forum, University of York.
  • Turn to the self: How autoethnography could help teaching practice and student participation. 22nd June 2018. University of York Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, University of York. Workshop organiser and leader.
  • “Rise, Britons, and assert your rights”: Radical Landscapes of the Late Regency Period. 10th November 2018.The Politics of Sedition in Long Nineteenth Century Britain: A Social and Cultural Discourse, University of Warwick.
  • Queer Frontiers: LGBTQ Research and Experiences in Archaeology. 18th December 2018. TAG Deva/Theoretical Archaeological Group. Chair and session organiser.
  • “Will you, kind Sir, accept this token of our respect?”: The archaeology of female reformers and radical gender’. 16th March 2019. Protest, Politics, and Poetry: Peterloo at 200, University of York.
  • Sisters of the Earth: The Identities and Performances of Female Reformers in 1819. 19th July 2019. International Society for Eighteenth Century Studies/ISECS, University of Edinburgh.
  • The Mayday Dance: Imagining and Watching the Execution of the Cato Street Conspirators’. 2nd August 2019. International Conference on Romanticism, University of Manchester. Session organiser.
  • Curriculum Wars: Edutainment, Employability, Critical Thinking? New Archaeological Pedagogies of Power, Knowledge and Accessibility. TAG/Theoretical Archaeology Group, UCL. Forthcoming. Session organiser and speaker.

Public Engagement

  • York and Peterloo: Radical Landscapes, Radical Heritage. 18th January 2017, Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeology Society, York.
  • Yorkshire’s Radical Past. 21st March 2017. North Duffield Archaeological Society, North Duffield. 
  • “We Mourn for our Murdered Countrymen”: Historical Archaeology of Peterloo. 11th May 2017. Newcastle University Archaeology Society, Newcastle.
  • Equal Representation of Death: Creating Political Material Culture. 13 th June 2017. Research Bites, University of York.
  • Seditious Gender: Queering Nineteenth Century Female Reformers. 4th February 2019. LGBT History Month, York.
  • ‘The Mania of Amending the Constitution’: Female Reformers in 1819. 30th March. Women’s Studies Groups 1558-1837, Foundling Museum.
  • Research Spotlight: Caitlin Kitchener. 1st July 2019. CECS Coffee House, University of York. Available at:


  • Winner of the Society for Post Medieval Archaeology Postgraduate Dissertation - National Prize
  • Winner of the Herman Ramm Prize, Yorkshire Philosophical Society - Regional Prize
  • Postgraduate bursary for British Association of Romantic Studies (BARS) 2017 conference.
  • York Graduate Research Fund awarded to attend Will of the People 2018 conference.
  • Postgraduate bursary for Politics of Sedition 2018 conference.

Contact details

Caitlin Kitchener
University of York
Department of Archaeology
King's Manor
Exhibition Square