CFP NOW OPEN: Student Colloquium 2018

Student Colloquium 2018

The Society for Medieval Archaeology Student Colloquium 2018 will be held at the University of Reading, 9-11th November.

The call for papers is now open! 

Please send abstracts of no more than 150 words to before 30th September 2018. Please include ‘Student Colloquium abstract’ in the subject line.

The theme of the colloquium is interdisciplinary research; therefore, we welcome papers discussing medieval archaeology from any discipline. Papers with a traditional approach will also be considered.

Abstracts from across the medieval period and all geographical areas are encouraged.

Follow the colloquium’s Facebook page for updates.



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Medieval Archaeology

**Volume 62/1 now out and available at Taylor and Francis Online**

The first issue of the journal for 2018 is pleasing for two reasons. First of all, we have managed to squeeze in a little more copy and include seven research articles in this issue along with the usual array of book reviews. Secondly, we have been able to include a number of shorter contributions, something that helps us ensure a broader scope of papers.

We open issue 62/1 with an in-depth exploration of a migration-period grave from Sande in Norway. This discovery, explored here by Marianne Vedeler, Siv Kristoffersen and Ingunn Røstad, is remarkable both for its richness in terms of the assemblage and for its surviving mineralised textile remains. Using this evidence the authors explore the funerary dress code of the woman buried at Sande, the manufacture and antiquity of some of the fittings, and how such a costume display may have operated in life and death in terms of local to supra-regional audiences. We stay with early medieval burial for the second article: an open access publication by Rob Collins and Sam Turner, that deals with some important metal-detected finds in Northumberland. The Eslington sword was discovered along with other metal artefacts in Whittingham, close to what was eventually, through excavation, revealed to be a natural mound or knoll used for burial in the Bronze Age. The pattern-welded sword was accompanied by a scatter of material including a glass inlaid shield mount and brooch fragments. These seem likely to derive from a late 6th-/7th-century cemetery and high-status male grave, and in this respect mark one of the most northerly indications of this kind of elite male burial. The context is suggested to be the territorialising processes that led to the creation of the large Northumbrian kingdom.

Our Martyn Jope Award-winning paper this year also has an early medieval focus, but this article tracks an object and its biography, starting with its manufacture in the insular world and its eventual discovery in Scandinavia. In line with the remit of the award, this paper by Aina Heen-Pettersen and Griffin Murray, involves a close analytical reassessment of the well-known reliquary, the Melhus Shrine, and provides a new and novel interpretation of its life-course, from creation to modification and eventual deposition in a 9th-century woman’s grave in Norway. The shrine, a Christian object, is argued to have been reconceptualised, perhaps as a result of the meaning, it accrued as spoil from some of the earliest voyages across the North Sea.

The front of the Melhus Reliquary. Length 118 m x height 83 mm. Photograph by Per Fredriksen. © NTNU University Museum

The front of the Melhus Reliquary. Length 118 m x height 83 mm. Photograph by Per Fredriksen. © NTNU
University Museum

Staying with the Christian west, we move next to spatial considerations and landscapes ina theoretically-rich contribution from Ryan Lash on the taskscape of medieval devotion on Inishark Island. Pilgrimage practices are investigated here in relation to early medieval and medieval ritual foci across the island. Depositional rituals involving water-worn quartz pebbles, attested over the longue durée, are investigated and argued to reflect ideas connected to peregrinatio. The next contribution by Aleks Pluskowski is a review paper that captures and interrogates the current state of research on the archaeology of the military orders. The sheer impact of the military orders in terms of urbanisation, rural development and trade is expertly charted, as well as the materiality of the orders in terms of signalling ideology and authority. Ultimately the author sets out a new vision for a holistic and interregional study that will significantly move the subject forward.

The great relief brooch from Sande. Scale in cm. Photograph by Ellen C Holte. © Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo.

The great relief brooch from Sande. Scale in cm. Photograph by Ellen C Holte. © Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo.

A substantial reviews section follows co-ordinated and prepared by Professor Neil Christie from the University of Leicester. Beginning with a comparative review of two recent major ‘sea/ocean’ related publications the section moves on to offer detailed commentaries on recent seminal monographs, edited volumes and major site publications. From fortified settlements and maritime settlements to insular sculpture and Scottish silver; reviews chart a diverse and wide-ranging collection of recent publications. Two medieval and late-medieval papers follow that are both shorter contributions. William Wyeth explores the limited traces for medieval timber motte towers: the timber structures that often pre-dated the well-researched, stone-built military/elite structures of the medieval era. Using illustrative and textual sources, the author demonstrates that these were by no means temporary, but were substantial and multi-functional, invested with meaning and status equivalent to their stone counterparts. A summary of recent excavation results from Kincardine Park, Aberdeenshire, follows. While medieval hunting parks have been the focus of study for some time, a fieldwork/research focus has only occasionally been extended to the medieval castles of Scotland. This is redressed here by Kevin Malloy and Derek Hall who put forward evidence and arguments for Kincardine, for the establishment and development of the hunting park over time, and the cultural significance of this monumentalised space in the medieval era.

I hope that readers enjoy this June issue, now available online and shortly to reach members in hard copy format. Issue 62/1 is my penultimate for the journal. The transition from Maney Publishing to Taylor & Francis has had its moments, but we all hope that production and delivery are now on a more even course. We do, however, rely on our members to let us know if things are not working as well as they might in terms of subscription, membership and receipt of the journal and newsletter. If you have encountered any problems in 2018, then do contact me and I will do my best to resolve them.

Sarah Semple Honorary Editor Medieval Archaeology

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Behind-the-scenes event at The Atkinson, Stockport

Viking: Rediscover the Legend, The Atkinson, Stockport, 27th June 2018

The SMA is delighted to invite our Members to a special behind-the-scenes event at The Atkinson, Stockport, at 11 am on 27th June 2018.

The event includes a guided tour of ‘Viking: Rediscover the Legend’ by Joanne Chamberlain, The Atkinson’s documentation officer, and talk by Dr David Griffiths, University of Oxford, titled ‘North-West England and the Irish Sea in the Viking Age’.

Star objects from the British Museum will feature alongside the Yorkshire Museum’s world-class collections and will be interpreted in new ways to give a fresh perspective on how Vikings shaped every aspect of their lives in Britain. Also included will be one of the most famous Viking collections in the UK, including the Vale of York Viking Hoard, Cuerdale Hoard and the Bedale Hoard.

This is the first time the most significant Viking treasure hoards ever discovered in Britain will be on display together in the North West – don’t miss this opportunity for a behind-the-scenes tour!

Contact us via email to register your intention to attend:

This event is free but registration is necessary.

If you are not a member but would like to attend the event please join the SMA from only £20!

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SMA Student Colloquium 2017 in Newcastle

The 2017 Student Colloquium was organised by Emma Hook, PhD student from the University of Sheffield, and hosted by Newcastle University.

Students at the 2017 SMA Colloquium held at Newcastle University

Talks underway on day one of the Colloquium.

Scandinavian styles in England as discussed by a participant.

Papers were presented by students from across the British and Irish Isles and Europe, including this paper by a student from Durham University.

Papers covered all aspects of medieval archaeology, including artefact study and the built environment.

Papers underway on day two of the Colloquium.

SMA Student Representative for 2017, Emma Hook, presents her own research in Newcastle.

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MERC Sessions at EAA 2018

The Society for Medieval Archaeology is delighted to see over 30 MERC -affiliated sessions submitted for the 24th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, which will be held in Barcelona, 5-8th September 2018. 

The complete list of sessions affiliated to MERC, therefore focusing on medieval archaeology, are listed below.

The call for paper and poster submissions is now open. The abstracts can be viewed on the EAA website – simply search for the session using the session number preceding the title listed below.

The deadline is 15th February 2018.
82 Islamicate Archeology in Europe: past, present and future

92 Interpreting and Understanding the Past through Medieval Small Finds

96 Forum Medieval Archaeology (MERC): The mediterranean as connection and gateway in the Middle Ages.

130 Elite Settlement in the Countryside of Early Medieval Europe (5th-10th centuries AD): Challenging Assumptions and New Directions

150 Museum Presentation in a challenged world

168 Advances in Environmental Archaeology in the Post-Classical Mediterranean World

184 Perspectives on things, people and places AD 1500-2018

208 To your health! Tracing health in urban environments in medieval Northern Europe.

245 Issues on the archaeology of Jewish cemeteries: urban development, heritage preservation and risk management

279 Pirenne vs. Glass: The contribution of archaeological and archaeometric glass analysis to the study of early medieval long-distance trade networks

305 Deploying the Dead II: Dead Bodies and Social Transformations

358 Glaze production technology in the medieval and post-medieval Mediterranean

413 Re-thinking medieval and early modern pestilences from a biosocial perspective: advanced methods and renewed concepts in archaeological sciences

431 Elite culture in medieval and post-medieval archaeology

483 Roads of the North. Medieval and early modern infrastructure of travel and exchange in the far north

521 The Mediterranean in the North: the material evidence of distant contacts, AD 1000-1800

536 Urban Geoarchaeology

540 Approaches to Medieval Buildings: the past, present, and future of interpretation and management

561 Archaeological indicators for the identification of medieval Jewish populations

565 Ecclesiastical landscapes in Medieval Europe. A comparative approach

568 Food and Drink in Archaeology: multi-disciplinary approaches to past food practices

599 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Early Medieval Transitions

612 Transdisciplinary and participative approaches to Cultural Landscapes

639 The value of objects in medieval rural settlement

679 Medieval Non-Places: Sites of Transience in the Medieval World

686 Silver, status and society – transition from late Roman to Early Medieval Europe

721 Connections and concurrencies: The global turn in historical archaeology and future challenges in European historical archaeology.

726 Farming under the Crescent moon: archaeological insights into the medieval ‘Islamic Green Revolution’

733 Archaeology of Byzantine and Romanesque Churches in Central and South-East Europe (8th to 13th century)

747 Archaeology of Visigothic and Carolingian Europe (5th-9th Centuries)

760 ‘…In with the New!’: The future of archaeological research in Medieval Europe

766 The synergic approach to preserving and restoring chalk monuments, artefacts, romane mosaics and fresco surfaces with archeomaterials [CIfA]

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SMA Annual Conference 2018

Society for Medieval Archaeology 2018 Annual Conference

Grave Concerns: Death, Landscape and Locality in Medieval Society

***Registration closes 11th June***

Dates: Friday 13th – Sunday 15th July 2018

Venue: Department of Archaeology and the Calman Centre, Durham University

Registration: £30 special rate for members!


Since 1990, a series of major conferences and publications have investigated aspects of death and burial in medieval societies in Europe and beyond. Some have delivered state-of-the-art research on early medieval and medieval funerary rites; others have profiled new advances in scientific research. Throughout all, spatial consideration has emerged as a connecting research strand.

From understanding the distribution patterns of grave types and the use of antecedent landscape features for burial, to charting the rise of commemorative markers in stone, and the arrival of monastic and churchyard burial traditions; from exploring political signalling and polity formation through burial display, to identifying patterns of diseases and health in medieval populations and their mobility, the location of the grave has become a rich stepping off point, stimulating and facilitating new research directions.

This conference, sponsored by the Society for Medieval Archaeology and the Leverhulme-funded Durham Project People and Place: Creating the Kingdom of Northumbria, brings together established and early career researchers working on aspects of death, dying and burial from AD 300-1500 in Britain, Ireland and further afield.

The conference will take place at Durham University and opens on the evening of Friday the 13th of July at Durham Cathedral, with a keynote lecture by Professor Bonnie Effros (University of Liverpool). A free private view of the new Open Treasure exhibition at the Cathedral will be available to full ticket attendees and a drinks reception the evening of the lecture. On the 14th and 15th of July, speakers from Britain and Europe will present new work and findings on death and burial in medieval society at the Calman Centre on the Science Site at Durham University, and a second keynote will be given on Saturday evening by Professor Roberta Gilchrist (University of Reading), followed by an evening reception and poster exhibition. The conference will close on Sunday the 15th of July with a final keynote by Dr Duncan Sayer (University of Central Lancashire).

View the programme here.

Speakers include: Mary Lewis (University of Reading), John Hines (Cardiff University), Jean Soulat (LandArc Laboratory and CNRS Research Unit UMR 6273 from CRAHAM), Adrian Maldonado (University of Glasgow), Ann Sølvia Jacobsen (Durham University), James Graham Campbell (UCL), Dries Tys (Free University of Brussels), Jure Šućur (University of Zadar), Anouk Busset (University of Glasgow) and Catriona McKenzie (University of Exeter).

Registration and fees

***Registration closes 11th June***

To register for the conference please complete the registration form here as a Word document or here as a .pdf and email it to

Payment can be made by cheque to ‘Durham University’ and the cheque should be sent to Prof Sarah Semple, Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE.

We can also take online payments and payments by international bank transfer, please indicate when registering if you need to pay by either of these methods and we will provide you with the account details by email. For all queries please contact us at (phone on 0191 334 1115).

Full attendance                      £95

This includes access to the full programme and all keynote lectures, a free private view of Open Treasure, attendance at both evening receptions, lunch on the Saturday and all refreshments at the conference on Saturday and Sunday.

Basic attendance                   £80

This includes access to the full programme and all keynote lectures. The following are NOT included: private view of Open Treasure, the evening receptions, lunch on Saturday and refreshments at the conference on Saturday and Sunday.

Society for Medieval Archaeology Members Rate             £30

We are delighted to offer full attendance at the entire conference to all members of the Society for Medieval Archaeology for a basic rate of £30. This includes access to the full programme and all keynote lectures, a free private view of Open Treasure, attendance at both evening receptions, lunch on the Saturday and all refreshments at the conference on Saturday and Sunday.


A full or family membership is £35, membership for retirees is £28 and student membership is £20.


Organisers: Sarah Semple, Celia Orsini and Kate Mees (Durham University)

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