Accessibility statement

Subterranean in the Medieval World

Subterranean poster

Saturday 17 May 2014, 9.45AM to 18 May 5.30pm

This conference seeks to explore, through the consideration of visual, textual and material evidence, the idea of the ‘subterranean’ within the medieval world, both in terms of the objects and spaces located there, beneath the surface, but also in terms of that which is hidden or secret, reconsidering the ‘subterranean’ as concept, object and location for discussion. 

Registration is £15 (£10 Student Concession).  Please register by May 10th. 

Subterranean Registration Form (MS Word , 17kb)

Full programme and further details are available at

Conference Programme


Registration and Coffee: from 9.45 am

Session One: Death and Dragons

  • Performance of Death: The public and spectacular nature of burial in early Anglo-Saxon England
    Melissa Herman, University of York
  • An interpretation of Butler's Inhumation '91
    Eric Lacey on behalf of Lacey and Ruth Nugent
  • The Burial of the Dragons: Cambro-Norman engagements in Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys
    Victoria Flood

12.00-1.30 Lunch (not provided)

Session Two: From Beneath

  • Streanaeshalch (Whitby), Osingadun and the Royal Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Street House, Loftus, North Yorkshire
    Tom Pickles, University of Chester
  • Water Systems and Local English Cartography: three plans of subterranean waterlines from late medieval England
    Beth Kaneko, University of York
  • Fanciful suggestions more suited to the poem of a Celtic bard than the prose of an English Law Report
    Aideen Ireland, National Archives of Ireland

3.00-3.30 Coffee

Session Three: Going Up

  • Climbing a Stairway to Heaven: early insular images and the contemplative's journey to the divine
    Nick Baker, Independent Scholar
  • Terrestrial Representations on Medieval Maps
    Dale Kedwards, University of York
  • His Feet on My Head: spatial relationships between the living and the dead
    Lucy Donkin, University of Bristol



Session Four: For Whom the Bell Tolls

  • The Archaeology of an Underground Territory- Power Place and Otherworld: ideology in early medieval Ireland
    Paddy Gleeson, University College Cork
  • Of Barrows, Graves and Earthcaves: subterranean environments in Old English Literature
    Margaret Tedford, Queen's University Belfast
  • Proudly from the Earth the Mighty Arose: the significance of the 'subterranean' in early medieval kingship
    Heidi Stoner, University of York

11.30-12.00 Coffee

Session Five: Surfacing

  • Gone but not Forgotten: housing the Anglo-Saxon dead above and below ground
    Austin Mason, University of Minnesota
  • Down in the Catacombs: questioning the early medieval pilgrim experience
    Neil Christie, University of Leicester
  • Local Aristocrats, Time and Landscape: association or overwriting?
    Guy Halsall, University of York

1.30-2.30 Lunch (not provided)

Session Six: Descent

  • Planting the Cross: the subterranean roots of the Anglo-Saxon stone cross
    Jane Hawkes, University of York
  • Evil in Old English Poetry- 'What is its root, and what its seed?'
    Mike Bintley, Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Constructing the Pit: hell in the Anglo-Saxon world
    Meg Boulton, University of York

4.15 Key Note Address: Professor Howard Williams, University of Chester.  Title to be confirmed.

Download the Subterranean poster: Subterranean (PDF , 443kb)

Location: The Philip Rahtz Memorial Lecture Theatre, K/111, King's Manor