Prof. Dawn Hadley
Professor of Medieval Archaeology



Appointment of the new Director of the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH)

Following an interview process, we are now delighted to announce that Professor Dawn Hadley (Professor of Medieval Archaeology and member of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York) has been appointed as the next Director of WRoCAH. WRoCAH is one of 10 Doctoral Training Partnerships in the UK supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, and the partnership is comprised of the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York.

Dawn will take up her position in August 2019, taking over from Professor Julian Richards who has been Director of WRoCAH since 2013. We offer Dawn our warm congratulations on her appointment and sincere thanks to Julian for his leadership, exceptional collegiality and for all that he has contributed as Director.

Ambrose Field, Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, York 

Prof. Dawn Hadley is a medieval archaeologist and historian who has published widely on the society and cultures of Anglo-Saxon England and the Viking Age. She has focussed, in particular, on issues of ethnicity, migration, gender, childhood, and funerary practices. 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

  • PG admissions
  • Member of Departmental Research Committee

University roles

  • Member of the Centre for Medieval Studies



Dawn is currently completing a book on the medieval castle of Sheffield (South Yorkshire) in collaboration with Prof. John Moreland (University of Sheffield), entitled Sheffield Castle and its Legacy. 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. She has also been collaborating with Sheffield colleagues in Architecture and Computer Science on the ways in which heritage can inform urban regeneration, and she is PI on an AHRC/EPSRC funded project to build a digital model of the castle, with input from design specialists Human Studio, and to develop an Augmented Reality app.


She is also working with Prof. Julian Richards on the site of the Viking Great Army’s winter camp at Torksey (Lincolnshire). Their new project, Tents to Towns, explores the broader impact of the Viking Great Army on England. This research is destined to appear in two forthcoming books that she will be writing with Julian entitled The Viking Great Army and the Making of a Nation (Thames & Hudson; due for completion in 2019), and Tents to Towns: the Viking Great army and its legacy (OUP; 2021).




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 of Anglo-Saxon 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 PhD Students

Marion Shiner – Transient relations: non-adult funerary practices in 1st- to 10th-century Wales and Ireland (with Dr Katie Hemer, Sheffield)

Valasia Strati – Health and Disease among a Northern Working-Class Community: St Hilda’s, South Shields (with Dr Katie Hemer, Sheffield)

Vicky Knowles – The Archaeobotanical Evidence for the Markestisation of the Economy from the Roman to Medieval Periods (with Prof. Glynis Jones, Sheffield)

Mauro Rizzetto – An Analysis of Faunal Remains from the Late-Roman / Early Medieval Period. A Comparison between Husbandry Practices in Britain and the Rhineland (with Dr Umberto Albarella, Sheffield)





  • Using Archaeology (Centre for Medieval Studies)

External activities


  • Society for Medieval Archaeology (Council member 2003-2007; Honorary Secretary, 2007- )
  • Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past (committee member, 2007- )
  • Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London
  • Medieval Settlement Research Group (committee member 2000-2003, 2009-2012)

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 - )
  • 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

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