• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • When the roof fell in: Counterinsurgency in South Vietnam, 1961-1963

      Jackson, Donna; McLay, Keith; Poole, Darren (University of Chester, 2019-07-23)
      According to Sir Robert Thompson, the beginning of the 1960s saw ‘the roof fall in’ across South Vietnam. This was because the military campaign being waged against the Viet Cong began to falter and collapse. This thesis examines the period from 1961 to 1963 and focusses in particular on the Strategic Hamlet Programme implemented by Ngo Dinh Diem’s South Vietnamese government. The research assesses the impact of the strategic hamlets on South Vietnam and argues that the programme needs to be re-evaluated. The thesis will claim that although the strategic hamlets are often considered to be a failure, this is an incomplete picture of events at this time: a re-assessment of the strategy is long overdue. In fact, when executed correctly, the Strategic Hamlet Programme was effective and was damaging the Viet Cong insurgency. However, this also led to its downfall. A concept termed ‘Paradoxical Duality’ will be introduced to help explain this process. This theory argues that the hamlets could simultaneously be both a success and a failure. Essentially, the more the hamlets protected the people, the greater the alienation they caused within rural Vietnam; the more they damaged the insurgency, the more violent the insurgent response. In effect, the success of the programme contributed to its own destruction. What gives this thesis its niche within the historiography is that it combines the views of the Viet Cong, the Vietnamese people and the American Military into a coherent, evaluative whole. A feature of the research is the way in which it uses captured guerrilla documentation to present its argument. The views of the Vietnamese fighting ‘on the ground’ are essential to this thesis because they provide an alternative perspective to the established, Western-dominant historiography and American-centric accounts of the war. The thesis will show that the Strategic Hamlet Programme was well-planned, was hurting the Viet Cong and was an effective counterinsurgency measure in large parts of the country. It will also examine the insurgent response, show how they held the advantage when it came to winning popular support and discuss why the counterinsurgent forces were, despite their successes, unable to alter the direction of the conflict. In addition, the thesis will examine the way in which so many well intentioned initiatives had counterproductive outcomes. Ultimately, the thesis will argue that the Strategic Hamlet Programme was a missed opportunity. It created the conditions for military success. However, the Diem regime and its American allies were unable to build upon these achievements and claim victory in the wider war.
    • 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.