Digging into the Dark Ages: Early Medieval Public Archaeologies [Paperback]

Howard Williams(Editor); Pauline Magdalene Clarke(Editor)

ISBN: 9781789695274 | Published by: Archaeopress Access Archaeology | Year of Publication: 2020 | 368p, H10.75 x W8, 162 illustrations
Status: In Stock - Available

Digging into the Dark Ages


What does the ‘Dark Ages’ mean in contemporary society? Tackling public engagements through archaeological fieldwork, heritage sites and museums, fictional portrayals and art, and increasingly via a broad range of digital media, this is the first-ever dedicated collection exploring the public archaeology of the Early Middle Ages (5th–11th centuries AD).

Digging into the Dark Ages builds on debates which took place at the 3rd University of Chester Archaeology Student Conference hosted by the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, 13 December 2017. It comprises original perspectives from students integrated with fresh research by heritage practitioners and academics. The book also includes four interviews offering perspectives on key dimensions of early medieval archaeology’s public intersections. By critically ‘digging into’ the ‘Dark Ages’, this book provides an introduction to key concepts and debates, a rich range of case studies, and a solid platform for future research.

Table of Contents


Foreword - Chiara Bonacchi

Public Archaeology for the Dark Ages - Howard Williams with Pauline Clarke, Victoria Bounds, Sarah Bratton, Amy Dunn, James Fish, Ioan Griffiths, Megan Hall, Joseph Keelan, Matthew Kelly, David Jackson, Stephanie Matthews, Max Moran, Niamh Moreton, Robert Neeson, Victoria Nicholls, Sacha O’Connor, Jessica Penaluna, Peter Rose, Abigail Salt, Amelia Studholme and Matthew Thomas

Part 1: Dark Age Debates

Keep the Dark Ages Weird: Engaging the Many Publics of Early Medieval Archaeology - An Interview with Adrián Maldonado

Colouring the Dark Ages: Perceptions of Early Medieval Colour in Popular Culture - Anne Sassin

Why do Horned Helmets still Matter? - Sacha O’Connor

Public Archaeology of Early Medieval Assembly Places and Practices: Þingvellir - Matthew Kelly

Dressing for Ragnarök? Commodifying, Appropriating and Fetishising the Vikings - Madeline Walsh

Part 2: The Public Dark Ages

The Vikings of JORVIK: 40 Years of Reconstruction and Re-enactment - Chris Tuckley

Displaying the Dark Ages in Museums - Howard Williams, Pauline Clarke and Sarah Bratton

Where History Meets Legend: Presenting the Early Medieval Archaeology of Tintagel Castle, Cornwall - Susan Greaney

Digging up the Dark Ages in Cornwall: The Tintagel Challenge and St Piran’s Oratory Experience - Jacqueline A Nowakowski and James Gossip

Death and Memory in Fragments: Project Eliseg’s Public Archaeology - Howard Williams and Suzanne Evans

Reading the Gosforth Cross: Enriching Learning through Film and Photogrammetry - Roger Lang and Dominic Powlesland

Crafting the Early Middle Ages: Creating Synergies between Re-enactors and Archaeologists - An interview with Adam Parsons and Stuart Strong

Part 3: Dark Age Media

Archaeology in Alfred the Great (1969) and The Last Kingdom (2015-) - Victoria Nicholls and Howard Williams

‘It’s the End of the World as we Know it …’: Reforging Ragnarök through Popular Culture - Mark A. Hall

The #GreatHeathenHunt: Repton’s Public Early Medieval Archaeology - An interview with Cat Jarman

Vikings and Virality - Matthew Thomas

Old Norse in the Wild West: Digital Public Engagement on YouTube - An interview with Jackson Crawford

The Image Hoard: Using the Past as a Palette in Discussing the Politics of the Present - Wulfgar the Bard

Afterword: Whose ‘Dark Ages’? - Bonnie Effros

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