I’m very pleased to announce that issue 65.1 of Medieval Archaeology has now been published online, and the print copy should be arriving with members soon. I apologize for the quite significant delay in the release of this volume, which was slowed primarily due to the extreme COVID-19 disruptions this spring and summer in India, where the typesetting of the journal takes place, and the exceptionally challenging work circumstances that our colleagues there have faced. The content in this issue offers six articles focusing on new medieval research from as far north as Iceland to as far south as northern Spain, and ranging in date from the 8th to 16th centuries. I hope the readership will feel the wait has been worthwhile.
The opening article is by Alejandra García Álvarez-Busto and José Carlos Sánchez-Pardo, exploring 8th to 10th-century medieval burial in the northwestern region of the Iberian peninsula. It offers, for the first time, a synthesis of the findings from over 200 burial sites in Spain and Portugal, and an analysis of the role played by both centralised state formation and local elite agency in emerging funerary practices.
Next, Pieterjan Deckers, Sarah Croix and Søren Sindbæk take us to early medieval Denmark, and to an examination of an unusual collection of moulds from cast metalwork, including ‘Valkyrie’ figures and weapon-bearing women. They argue that instead of the common interpretation that these figures represented specific mythological beings, they instead depict ritual performances in which gender transgression played a key role. The article has been awarded this year’s Martyn Jope Award for its innovative methodology of mould reconstruction and the original and groundbreaking interpretation.
In the following article, Kathryn Catlin presents a study of small settlement sites during the Settlement Period in Iceland. Backed by new fieldwork in the Hegranes region, Catlin differentiates between a number of distinctive minor settlement types, and elucidates their particular role in the initial colonization of a new land and the agricultural and social transformation that was soon to follow.
Next, Kate Colbert presents a study of the burial ground at Clonmore, Ireland, known as ‘The Angels’ Graveyard’ for its exceptional collection of medieval sculpture, and its reputation for possessing a relic of every one of Ireland’s saints. The paper takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining textual and archaeological evidence to explore how Clonmore utilized its status as the purported resting place of Ireland’s saintly community to increase its prestige, and to position itself well in the competition for pilgrimage revenue, patronage, and political ties.
Following that, Jeremy Haslam’s exploration of the settlement context of the Battle of Hastings presents new analyses of evidence drawn from landscape, text, and the Bayeux Tapestry to construct arguments for how and why William the Conqueror chose Hastings as his first foothold in England. He demonstrates how the town’s setting and pre-Conquest fortifications, buildings, and economic infrastructure, which were quickly utilized and in some cases adapted by the incoming Norman army, made it the ideal base from which to launch his conquest of the country.
Lastly, Eugene Costello’s article presents a new review of the evidence for upland colonisation in medieval Britain and Ireland, deconstructing previous ‘push’ and ‘pull’ or single-factor deterministic models which have often overly simplified what was a very complex, variable, and locally contingent process. He explores a range of examples to illuminate the individual factors that made upland settlement attractive in the first place, and which played a role in those which progressed from seasonal to year-round occupation, and endured over the long term.
The six main articles are accompanied by reviews of around 50 recent publications on medieval topics from across Europe, which will help readers keep up to date with the newest and most exciting research in the field. I hope all our members are staying safe and well, and that you all enjoy the new issue of the journal.
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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