I’m very pleased to announce that issue 64/2 of Medieval Archaeology was published online just before Christmas, and the print copy should be arriving with members early in the new year. I apologize for the slight delay in the release of this volume, which was slowed due to continuing COVID-19 disruptions. The content in this issue offers six articles focusing on new research from across medieval Europe and ranging from the 7th to 17th centuries, including our first ever publications focused on material from Estonia and Finland.
The first article is by Lisa Brundle, investigating the advent of the depiction of human forms, both clothed and naked, in Anglo-Saxon metalwork. She traces a shift from animal- to human-focused iconography in art, which aligned with an increasing preoccupation with bodily corruption and integrity expressed in both religious and secular texts, indicating a shifting mindset around perceptions of the human body, religious beliefs, gender, and identity. We stay in Anglo-Saxon England for the second article, in which Tom Williamson and Ellie Rye argue that apart from their association with fortifications, ‘burh’ place-names may also have been a common indicator of early medieval monastic sites. They provide a useful handlist of potential monastic ‘burh’-named sites in Norfolk and Suffolk, and make a case for exploring this toponymic association beyond East Anglia.
Next we move to later medieval Finland, with Janne Ikäheimo et al’s exploration of Christian conversion in the Bothnian Bay, as evidenced by the Cape Valmarinniemi cemetery. Bringing together excavated and remote sensing evidence of church buildings and burials with osteological and radiocarbon analysis, the authors present a case which questions the established narrative of imposed Christianization in the region, instead favouring a multi-vocal, locally contextualised process which emphasized negotiation and hybridity.
In the following article, Colin Breen and John Raven present a study of late-medieval settlement, landscape, and lordship on the Hebridean island of Colonsay. By the 15th century, the Lords of the Isles had become increasingly confident and ambitious, illustrating their prestige through patronage and landholding, and creating material narratives of ancestral power. However, the following centuries saw escalating feuds, external threats, and intervention from the Scottish Crown, leading to profound changes in the social structure and landscape of this island community.
Next, Matthew Johnson offers a brand new perspective on Bodiam Castle, applying a truly innovative interdisciplinary approach to one of the grand dames of castle studies. His research combines an examination of the architectural features and landscape setting of the castle with textual analysis of the Knight’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales and a biographical assessment of the crossing paths of Chaucer and Bodiam’s owner, Sir Edward Dallingridge. He concludes that beneath the surfaces of both the castle and the Knight’s Tale lay a multitude of intersecting values, tensions, and anxieties around power, violence, and masculine and national identities.
Lastly, we turn to the Baltic, where Ragnar Saage and Erki Russow offer typological, material, and scientific analyses of Estonian crucibles and their metallurgical residues, as a means of exploring the transfer of technology and culture through the Hanseatic network in the late Middle Ages. The incorporation of Estonia into the European Christian milieu in the 13th century brought dramatic changes to its urban settlement, material culture, and trade connections, accompanied by the migration of craftsmen and the movement of materials from Germany and Scandinavia. These changes are visible in the shift from localized to standardized crucible materials and production methods, and the article comments on the rise of late-medieval and early-modern ‘globalization’ brought by trade and technology.
The six main articles are accompanied by reviews of recent books on medieval topics in archaeology, history, and art history, as well as the annual Portable Antiquities Scheme report, and highlights from Medieval Britain and Ireland. Amongst other topics, the reports detail a 5th-century hacksilver hoard from Shropshire, new excavations from medieval Coventry, and a GPR survey of Drumminor Castle, Scotland. In these unprecedented times, I send the Society’s best wishes to all our readers, and I hope this second issue of 2020 brings you some enjoyment.
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.
For information on rights and permissions, please read the instructions here.
We are interested in your feedback on how you read the society’s journal and monographs, and your thoughts about their features and value. We would really appreciate it if you would consider completing a short survey, which can be found here. This survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.