• Archaeodeath as digital public mortuary archaeology

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-04-06)
      Since 2013, I have been writing an academic WordPress weblog (blog) – Archaeodeath: The Archaeology and Heritage of Death & Memory. In earlier publications, I have published preliminary reflections on the benefits of Archaeodeath as ‘digital public mortuary archaeology’ (DPMA), considering how it affords a mode of open-access public dissemination of mortuary archaeology, and a venue for debating and critiquing the archaeology and heritage of death and memory (Meyers and Williams 2014; Williams and Atkin 2015). Building on these discussions, this chapter reviews five-and-a-half years of the Archaeodeath blogging to the end of 2018, presenting the character of the blog’s content and its reception, identifying challenges and limitations of the medium, and (equally significantly in understanding its utility) considering key decisions regarding how I choose not to deploy this blog. I identify Archaeodeath as more than outreach or engagement, but as a digital platform increasingly both integral to, and transforming, my academic teaching and research practice.
    • Archaeology in Alfred the Great (1969) and The Last Kingdom (2015–)

      Nicholls, Victoria; Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-03-02)
      Alfred the Great (1969) was the first, and remains the only, feature-length film portraying the West Saxon king and his conflicts with the Danes. Forty-seven years later, Bernard Cornwell’s novels have been adapted for television as The Last Kingdom (2015–). Despite being fictional adaptions of historical events, and despite the considerable separation in time between their production, both Alfred the Great and The Last Kingdom consciously aspired to portray the Saxons and Vikings with a high degree of historical accuracy. Taking an archaeological perspective – focusing on the material cultures represented and their archaeological inspirations – this chapter asks which is more effective in representing late 9th-century Britain and what are the implications of this comparison?
    • Displaying the Dark Ages in Museums

      Williams, Howard; Clarke, Pauline; Bratton, Sarah; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-03-02)
      How museums and heritage sites in England display the early medieval past is the focus of academic and public interest and debate. Despite ever-pressured budgets and limited resources, the stories told about the early medieval past in these environments are of key importance for the story of this island, and have become increasingly important in the context of political and cultural crises of English identity, and extremist appropriations of the Early Middle Ages. Reviewing current and past displays of early medieval material culture at the Museum of Liverpool, the World Museum (also in Liverpool), and Chester’s Grosvenor Museum, this chapter evaluates the Early Middle Ages in city museums serving multicultural regions in the English North West and West Midlands. Consequently, we identify recommendations for potential future museum engagement with the ‘Dark Ages’.
    • Public Archaeology for the Dark Ages

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-03-02)
      This introductory chapter identifies the principal issues and themes in the public archaeology of the Early Middle Ages, exploring the specific and compelling challenges of investigating and evaluating the early medieval past in contemporary society mediated by archaeology. In doing so, we review and contextualise the contributions to the 3rd University of Chester Archaeology Student conference: ‘Digging into the Dark Ages’, which took place at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, 13 December 2017. The resulting book comprises a selection of the student contributions and a range of additional chapters by heritage professionals and academics. The book’s structure and contents are then outlined: the first-ever collection dedicated to ‘Dark Age’ public archaeology. It is argued that for future research, critical public archaeologies are essential for ethical and engaging early medieval archaeology in both theory and practice.
    • Death and memory in fragments: Project Eliseg’s public archaeology

      Williams, Howard; Evans, Suzanne; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-03-02)
      The public archaeology of death has frequently focused on the ethics and practices of excavating, displaying and curating human remains and mortuary contexts. Yet the focus of investigation is often restricted to whole, articulated bodies and tangible, complete monuments. Far fewer discussions have tackled the complex challenges of engaging the public with fragmented, partial human remains, ephemeral mortuary material cultures and dislocated funerary monuments. Equally, few studies have tackled the distributed nature of mortuary and memorial traces through their artistic representation and replication. This article addresses the challenges of Project Eliseg’s (2010–present) public archaeology when fragmentation, absence and distribution – both temporally and spatially – pervade the mortuary and memorial archaeology under investigation. We address how the public outreach of our fieldwork both succeeded and faced challenges to engage local people with the monument itself, partly because the monument is fragmented in multiple regards and partly because it is not primarily or exclusively in situ, but is instead both materially and conceptually elsewhere within the landscape of Wales and beyond.
    • Stories Of The Past: Viewing History Through Fiction

      Pardoe, James; Williams, Howard; Green, Christopher (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2020-01)
      This thesis investigates how effective works of fiction are, through their depictions of past worlds, in providing us with a resource for the study of the history of the period in which that fiction is set. It assesses past academic literature on the role of fiction in historical understanding, and on the processes involved in the writing, reading, adapting, and interpreting of fiction. It contends that the creation and consumption of fiction has not been looked at in a holistic way in terms of an overall process that takes us from author to consumer with all of the potential intermediate steps. The thesis proposes and describes such a process model, each step within which contains a number of key elements, namely actors, actions, influences, artefacts, and finally the real and imagined worlds of the fiction. It begins with the author, who through actions of perception and adaptation, and affected by various external influences, social, political, and aesthetic, mediates with elements of his or her contemporary world and incorporates them into the imagined world of the initial artefact, the novel. It describes how at each stage in the process other actors (critics, adapters and curators) engage with previous artefacts such as the novel and previous adaptations, and their own set of influences, and through actions of reception, adaptation and interpretation create further artefacts such as critical reviews, adaptations and tourist interpretations that comprise further imagined worlds that can be compared to the author’s original imagined world, and by extension, the original past world. Using a number of case studies of English novels of the period from 1800 to 1930, the thesis assesses what the practical evidence of the process in action tells us about the ability of a novel to act as an adjunct to contemporary records in providing insights into that original real world. These studies incorporate analysis of the novels themselves, and of subsequent artefacts such as film and television adaptations, curated literary places and guidebooks, and both professional and lay reviews. The thesis concludes that fiction in its various forms, and especially in its adapted and interpreted forms, whilst not a pure historical document as such, has the ability to provide us with a vivid perception of a past world. It contends that the process model could be used as an aid in the teaching of History or English Literature, or as an aid to the general consumer of fiction, to help remove the layers of imagined worlds that potentially lie between us and a past historical world, thereby reducing the ability of that layering to create a misleading view of history.
    • Introspection and the Self in Early Modern Spiritual (Auto) Biography

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2020)
      This chapter will explore the intersections between memory, introspection and selfhood in spiritual biographical and autobiographical texts produced in France over the long eighteenth century. This chapter uses case studies from eighteenth-century France to destabilise teleological narratives surrounding the emergence of selfhood and subjectivity in the eighteenth century and its association with modernity and secularisation.
    • A study of the deposition of, and taphonomic processes affecting, plant macrofossil records for an island in Palaeolake Flixton, North Yorkshire

      Taylor, Barry; Clarke, Pauline (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-12)
      Plant macrofossil analysis is used in the study of developing environments and is especially applied to the study of the formation of a hydrosere, due to the excellent preservation conditions usually found in the peat associated with the lakes infilling. Modern studies of the flora present in an area and the correlation to the associated macrofossils give proxies for the study of a Palaeolake, such as Lake Flixton in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire. While the proxy studies broadly concur in the approach to be taken, the deposition and taphonomy of specific plant species and the value of any results, there are elements not considered in them, one being that here are no extant studies of the dispersal of macro-remains and the associated taphonomic processes that are particular to islands within a lake. This dissertation aims to correct this by studying No Name Hill, a former island within Palaeolake Flixton. Cores for examination were collected from the island during excavations in 2018 and the resultant data compared with previous studies from other sites around the lake. While the hydroseral succession was demonstrated consistently across the lake environment, the cores from the island highlighted differential processes of deposition and taphonomy affecting the macrofossil record. It is probable that the shoreline cores give a more generic picture of the environment of the lake and surroundings, while cores taken from an island produce results which are more reflective of the localised flora.
    • Things in Vikings

      Sanmark, Alexandra; Williams, Howard; University of Highlands and Islands; University of Chester (McFarland, 2019-11-30)
      In popular imagery, Vikings are often depicted as the ultimate lawless barbarians. Yet, as with all early medieval “barbarians” inspired by the writings of Tacitus, they have long been romanticized in Western popular culture for their supposed inherent equality and fairness, within which the roots of Nordic democracy are perceived.1 At the fulcrum of these stereotypes of nobility and savagery are Norse legal practices and assembly places. This chapter reviews the assembly places and practices depicted in the television show 'Vikings'.
    • Dialogues with the dead in Vikings

      Williams, Howard; Klevnäs, Alison; University of Chester; Stockholm University (McFarland, 2019-11-30)
      Moving pictures continue to transform popular engagements with the human past for early 21st-century audiences as for 20th-century audiences, via cinema, television and the internet. While there is a long tradition of filmic representations of the Vikings, the History Channel series Vikings (2013–) is to date a unique instance of a multi-season popular English- language drama portraying the Viking Age in pre–Christian Scandinavia. The story and settings are fictional and sometimes fantastical, yet they are richly and imaginatively informed by a mixture of literary, historical and archaeological sources. This chapter reviews the dialogues with dead bodies and body-parts depicted in the show.
    • From Archaeo-Engage to Arts of Engagement

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2019-11-27)
      The chapter outlines the rationale for the 2nd University of Chester Archaeology Student Conference – Archaeo-Engage: Engaging Communities in Archaeology. It serves as a companion chapter to this book’s Introduction. It reviews and contextualises the student presentations and keynote talks in relation to key current debates in public archaeology, and explains the journey towards publication incorporating student contributions and those by heritage professionals and academics. In doing so, the chapter provides a practical reflection on how undergraduate student work can contribute to current public archaeological investigations and debates.
    • Public Archaeology: Arts of Engagement

      Williams, Howard; Ezzeldin, Afnan; Pudney, Caroline; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2019-11-21)
      How should communities be engaged with archaeological research and how are new projects targeting distinctive groups and deploying innovative methods and media? In particular, how are art/archaeological interactions key to public archaeology today? This collection provides original perspectives on public archaeology’s current practices and future potentials focusing on art/archaeological media, strategies and subjects. It stems from the 2nd University of Chester Archaeology Student Conference, held on 5 April 2017 at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester: Archaeo-Engage: Engaging Communities in Archaeology.
    • Dialogues with early medieval ‘warriors’

      Williams, Howard; Alexander, Rachel; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2019-11-21)
      How are early medieval graves interpreted by community archaeology projects? This chapter considers how the well-known and innovative Operational Nightingale project has distinctively deployed the excavation and analysis of early Anglo-Saxon (later 5th and 6th-century AD) furnished graves, including those containing weaponry, in its practice and public engagement. In light of recent discussions regarding the ideological, social, educational and emotional significances of the archaeological dead, we consider Operation Nightingale’s well-received practical and interpretative dialogues with the dead during the investigation of an early medieval cemetery at Barrow Clump, Figheldean, on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. Our focus is upon the project’s assertions of parity and affinity between early Anglo-Saxon weapon burials and the experiences of modern military personnel: dialogues with early medieval ‘warriors’.
    • Chester, Cavaliers and Cannons

      Chadwick, Sam (BBC History Magazine, 2019-10-26)
      This presentation looked at Chester’s role in the Civil War, the day-to-day activities of the siege of Chester, and the actions of the troops and commanders, supported by one of the key weapons of the time: artillery. Starting with an overview of the Civil War and its three parts, this lecture went on to look at 17th century siege warfare and its part in the civil war. It then drew out Chester’s place in the economy and the political landscape of the time, as well as the state of its defences. The presentation outlined the key figures in the siege of Chester, and broke down the siege into 4 key phases. Finally the presentation concluded with drawing the siege back to some of the original research on siege warfare and seeing how applicable they are in this case study.
    • The Hidden Narratives of Medieval Art

      Wilson, Katherine Anne; University of Chester (Fordham University Press, 2019-10-15)
      To modern readers and viewers, objects like the Arnolfini portrait or the Angers Apocalypse tapestry appear to be the product and preserve of an elite class of consumers in the Middle Ages. This chapter argues that our analyses of these objects should not focus exclusively, or even predominantly on elites. In addition, the essay gives a voice and a place to the workers behind art of the Middle Ages examining the economic uncertainty and instability of employment that underpinned their production. It considers entrepreneurs who saw medieval courts and elite customers as commercial opportunities to be exploited. It ends by examining elite users of these products to complicate the narratives of their consumption. Far from simply reflecting the power and status of their owners, objects like the Arnolfini portrait or the Apocalypse tapestry also conveyed the uncertainty of everyday life and the fragility of princely rule during the Middle Ages.
    • Deteriorative Influences Upon the Morale of the British 21st Army Group in the Shadow of Operation ‘Market Garden’.

      Grady, Tim; Kirby-Jones, Harry, D, B. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09-19)
      Operation ‘Market Garden’ was initiated by Allied forces on the 17th September 1944, ending on the 25th of the same month. Up until that point of the Second World War, it was the largest airborne landing to have ever been undertaken. The main aim of Operation ‘Market Garden’ was to open up an invasion route for the Allied forces into the north of Germany from the Netherlands. In order to do this, the operation sought to capture and cross a number of bridges over a series of rivers and canals, including the Rhine and the Maas. The first part of this operation - ‘Market’ - involved the landing of paratroopers in proximity to these bridges in order to capture and secure, awaiting part two of the operation. ‘Garden’ involved the movement of heavier units from Belgium, up through the Netherlands, relieving the units holding these bridges (See Source 0.01, 0.02, 0.03).
    • Rethinking heirlooms in early medieval graves

      Costello, Brian; Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2019-09-14)
      Since the influential work of Roger White (1988; 1990), there have been a range of studies exploring the reuse and recycling of artefacts in southern and eastern Britain in the 5th–7th centuries AD, focusing especially on the reuse of Roman artefacts in early Anglo-Saxon furnished inhumation graves. This chapter will reappraise the theoretical and methodological framework for such studies, suggesting that the focus on ‘Roman’ artefacts distracts attention away from the potential mnemonic significance of deploying early medieval curated artefacts in the mortuary arena as key components of burial assemblages. We propose a new approach to early medieval artefacts, focusing on how older early medieval ‘heirlooms’ were deployed within the burial tableau as significant elements of mortuary performance. This argument is illustrated by four furnished inhumation graves, two each from a pair of cemeteries in east Kent.
    • The use of photogrammetry and film in fostering understanding of early medieval history

      Lang, Roger (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      The recent arrival of a growing body of freely available photogrammetric 3D models of early medieval stone sculptures gives the opportunity for educators to use them as virtual primary sources, either directly as navigable objects or through the medium of film. The research investigates their potential role in schools following the current national curriculum in England. The curriculum requirements are reviewed and their implementation investigated through a study of school websites and Ofsted reports in an English shire county. A search is made for suitable stone sculptures with 3D models, new ones are made where necessary, and the academic literature on the sculptures is reviewed. Lesson plans and resources are created and trialed in three primary schools in a method closely resembling cyclic Lesson Study methodology. The conclusion is that the process has demonstrated the potential for the use of 3D models to serve as the focus of engaging and challenging lessons.
    • From Siege to Emerging Leisure Town: Chester’s Recovery from the Civil War, 1646-1745

      Gaunt, Peter; Beech, Rachel (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      By the end of 1647, Chester had been reduced to a damaged and diseased shell, suffering from the twin effects of civil war siege and plague. Reports stated that most of the capable working population had fled leaving only the poor and dying.1 However, only thirty years later Chester began to see marked improvements, with fashionable architecture, growing marketing and port trade, and a wealthy population of urban gentry. How the city was able to recover from its low state towards a comfortable and prosperous new identity – the ‘leisure town’ – will be explored in this dissertation
    • Why is China absent from the human remains debate

      Wu, Hukeyao (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      The display of human remains has been widely studied and discussed by archaeologists and museum curators all around the world. The discussion on this topic involves the ethics, policies, and display methods faced by museums concerning the repatriation, storage, care, management and interpretation of human remains. China, however, has been absent from this debate. It is not that Chinese museums do not display human remains. On the contrary, some Chinese museums do exhibit human remains and proper practices and respect have been shown in some museums. In order to find out the reasons of China’s absence from the human remains debate, this article will review the relevant literature of Britain and China and analyse the possible reasons from four aspects, respectively: repatriation claims, authority, changed Chinese culture and display tendency. Besides, one case study of a Western Han dynasty female corpse displayed in the Hunan Museum will be reviewed as access to the Chinese context.