• Introduction: stones in substance, space and time

      Williams, Howard; Kirton, Joanne; Gondek, Meggen M.; University of Chester; Big Heritage (Boydell Press, 2015-09-17)
      A triad of research themes – materiality, biography and landscape – provide the distinctive foci and parameters of the contributions to this book. The chapters explore a range of early medieval inscribed and sculpted stone monuments from Ireland (Ní Ghrádaigh and O’Leary), Britain (Gondek, Hall, Kirton and Williams) and Scandinavia (Back Danielsson and Crouwers). The chapters together show how these themes enrich and expand the interdisciplinary study of early medieval stone monuments, in particular revealing how a range of different inscribed and sculpted stones were central to the creation and recreation of identities and memories for early medieval individuals, families, households, religious and secular communities and kingdoms.
    • Sculpture and Place: a biographical approach to recontextualising Cheshire’s early medieval stone sculpture

      Gondek, Meggen; Williams, Howard; Kirton, Joanne (University of Chester, 2016-02)
      Researching early medieval stone sculpture has long been enabled and constrained by approaches devised and subsequently honed over the last century focusing on form and ornamentation. These approaches largely prioritise the physical appearance of sculptural fragments, often distancing them from the physical and cognitive contexts in which they operated from their creation to the present. This thesis brings together popular strands of research from other areas of archaeology - landscape, biography, materiality and monumentality - to explore how early medieval stone sculpture operated in place and time, from their construction through processes of use and reuse. The study recognises that sculpture did not function independent of physical location or the socio-political context with which it was connected and that many sculptures have life-histories which can be charted through individual monuments, assemblages of sculpture, and regional patterns. Using a tenth-/eleventh-century assemblage from Cheshire, the biographies of the county’s early medieval monuments and architectural fragments are explored in relation to their physical location and the local historical frameworks with which they are connected. Through this original and distinctive approach, Cheshire's corpus of early medieval stone sculpture is both revisited and reinterpreted to emphasis the power of place and the biographies of stone sculpture.