Annual Conference

Society for Medieval Archaeology

60th Anniversary Annual Conference

Women, Status and Power in Medieval Society

In 2017 the Annual Conference of the Society for Medieval Archaeology will bring together specialists from a range of disciplines to explore the status of women in medieval society, the extent to which they could wield power – personal, administrative, political or ideological – over their own lives, over others and in times of conflict, and how evidence for this might be lost or found in the archaeological record.

The 2017 conference takes place in Lincoln, commemorating the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln in which the first ever female county sheriff, Nicolaa de la Haye, successfully defended Lincoln Castle to turn the tide of French involvement in the barons’ war.  Few people have heard of Nicolaa today, or indeed of the many other women who played an important role in the medieval period, so this anniversary seems a timely moment for the society to take a look at the latest research into the role of women in medieval society. Papers from Archaeology, History, Art History and Literature will throw new light on this subject from the 7th century to the 15th.

For those arriving on Friday evening, the Society’s Annual Lecture will be followed by a wine reception and private view of the Battles and Dynasties exhibition, curated by Patrick, Lord Cormack and sponsored by the Society for Medieval Archaeology to mark the 1217 anniversary. 2017 is also the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Society for Medieval Archaeology, and to celebrate this the conference is free to Society members.

Full details of the conference are found below, or may be downloaded in PDF format.


Friday 30th June 2017
18:00 Michael Wood (University of Manchester & Mayavision) – SMA Annual Lecture: Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians: women, war and power in Viking Age England
19:00 Wine reception & private view: ‘Battles and Dynasties’ exhibition at The Collection, Lincoln

Saturday 1st July 2017

09:45 Registration and coffee
10:20 Carenza Lewis (University of Lincoln) – Welcome and introduction
10:30 Helena Hamerow (University of Oxford) – Women and authority in Conversion-period England: a high-status female burial on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border.
11.10 Barbara Yorke (University of Winchester) – Abbess Aelfflaed of Whitby and the role of women in the governance of early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
11:50 Gale Owen Crocker (University of Manchester) Anglo-Saxon Women, Woman, and Womanhood.
12:30 Victoria Whitworth (University of Newcastle) –  Images of women on 10th- and 11th-century stone monuments from Viking-Age England.
13:10 Discussion
13:20 Lunch
14:00 Sally Badham (Church Monuments Society) – Women’s status and identity as shown on medieval tomb monuments.
14:40 Jeremy Goldberg (University of York) – The Bourgeois Wife in Later Medieval England.
15:20 Tea
15.50 Louise Wilkinson (University of Canterbury) – Women in Government: Female Sheriffs, Castellans and Foresters in Thirteenth-Century England.
16:30 Matthew Johnson (Northwestern University, Chicago) – Women, gender and power at Bodiam and beyond.
17:10 Discussion
17:30 Conference ends


Fees and Registration

Full conference fee (includes annual lecture, wine reception and private view of Battles and Dynasties on 30th June, all papers and tea/coffee morning and afternoon on 1st July) £50
Conference fee for members of the Society for Medieval Archaeology (includes annual lecture, wine reception, private view of Battles and Dynasties on 30th June and all papers and tea/coffee morning and afternoon on 1st July) Free
Buffet lunch on Saturday 1st July £10

Registration & venue: Registration is available online and members of the Society for Medieval Archaeology are eligible for the complimentary rate, which applies to all members joining before 19th June 2017. You can join the Society via our website (£35 standard members, £28 retired members) to receive all benefits including the journal Medieval Archaeology.  The 2017 conference takes place in The Museum, Danes Terrace, Lincoln LN2 1LP, allowing delegates to visit the museum galleries while also close to Lincoln’s historic centre including the spectacular medieval cathedral, Norman castle, cobbled Steep Hill with its 12th century houses, the Stonebow city gate and 16th century High Bridge topped with its original timber buildings. The conference venue is an easy 15-minute city-centre walk from the train station with some parking near the venue and other car parks not far away. Complimentary parking can be arranged at the University of Lincoln Brayford campus, a 20-minute walk from the conference venue. The conference is organised by Professor Carenza Lewis at the University of Lincoln; queries should be emailed to

Refreshments – Tea and coffee is included within the conference fee.  A buffet lunch is available for £10. Alternatively, the museum café serves light lunches and there are many cafes/tea-shops nearby.

Accommodation is NOT included in the conference fee, but a wide range of accommodation is available in the city ( The Lincoln Holiday Inn Express (0871 902 1617) has offered 40 rooms at a discounted rate of £65 per room for Friday 30th June including breakfast and Wi-Fi.  The Lincoln Hotel (01522 520348) has offered a discounted rate for delegates of £90.  All special rates are available on a first come, first served basis, with non-refundable payment due at the time of booking. Please ensure you state you are booking for the SMA Conference.


Past conferences

You can find out information about our recent conferences on our past conferences web page.