I’m very pleased to announce that issue 64/1 of Medieval Archaeology has now been published online, and the print copy should be arriving with members now. Although publication was slightly delayed due to COVID-19-related disruptions, everything is now back up and running, and we anticipate that production of the December issue will be on schedule. The content in this issue continues our recent progress in offering new research from across Europe, expanding on our traditional British and Irish focus. The five articles present new material from Norway, Ireland, England, and Denmark, and range in time period from c 600 AD to the 16th century.
The first article, by Ingunn Marit Røstad, offers a new examination of the famed Åker assemblage, a collection of fragments of weapons and weapon-related objects from Merovingian Norway. The paper reviews the assemblage itself and interprets it within the context of new understandings of the material and the site, based on up-to-date archaeological evidence and comparanda, and makes the argument that the assemblage represents the burial of a warrior king of an eastern Norwegian territory.
Following that is an exciting article by Chris Caple, presenting a suite of new scientific and comparative analyses conducted on the Yarm Helmet, a suspected Anglo-Scandinavian helmet from North Yorkshire. The helmet was found in the 1950s, but its cultural and chronological attribution had remained uncertain—until now. The metallurgical analysis, as well as comparison with helmets from across northern Europe which have been found since the Yarm Helmet’s discovery, not only offer conclusive evidence that this a standard-issue helmet of the 9th-11th centuries AD, but also provide new insight into the military culture and practise of Anglo-Scandinavian England.
Next up is Patrick Gleeson’s article, which critically assesses the tangled relationship between archaeology and myth in the Middle Ages, drawing on case studies of cultic sites in early Medieval Ireland. The article was chosen as the winner of the Martyn Jope Award for 2020, and was praised for its intellectual ambition, confident execution, interdisciplinary significance, and for its wider relevance, as it addresses issues about how archaeologists use mythology to interpret their findings and explain medieval mentalities which have resonance far beyond Ireland.
The final two articles offer us a look at medieval trade, production, and consumption in Norway and Denmark. Kjetil Loftsgarden takes us to Viking and High Medieval southern Norway, examining the iron production industry from c. 900-1300 AD and its links with a system of inland seasonal marketplaces, regular fairs, and major coastal trading centres. The article offers insight into the complex network that linked inland resources and the people generating them with the wider medieval Scandinavian economy. Finally, we have Kirstine Haase and Stuart Whatley’s article on conspicuous consumption in 13th–16th-century Denmark. They offer a profoundly innovative methodology for contextually classifying ways of consuming and the objects which fit those classifications, providing a way of interrogating possible conspicuous consumption against a baseline of practice, and underpinning it with case studies from Denmark and Odense. The result is a model for understanding consumption behaviours that can be applied throughout medieval Europe and beyond.
The five main articles are accompanied by reviews of over 50 recent publications on medieval topics from across Europe, which should help readers keep up to date with the newest research in the field. I hope everyone enjoys the first issue of 2020.
Aleksandra McClain, Honorary Editor of Medieval Archaeology
Information about the Journal
The Honorary Editor welcomes original submissions of international significance, or national significance and international interest, which match the objectives of the Society. Information on submitting research articles and shorter contributions can be found on the How to Contribute page. For details of how to submit fieldwork summaries and highlights for publication, see the Medieval Britain and Ireland page. Please send books for review directly to the Reviews and Medieval Britain and Ireland Editor.
The Society annually awards the Martyn Jope Award of £200 for the best novel interpretation, application of analytical method or presentation of new findings published in its journal.
The Index to Volumes 51-55 of Medieval Archaeology is now available as a downloadable PDF.
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