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H 276 x W 203 mm

368 pages

162 illustrations

Published Feb 2020

Archaeopress Access Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789695274

Digital: 9781789695281

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Early Medieval; Dark Ages; Vikings; Public Archaeology; Heritage

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Digging into the Dark Ages

Early Medieval Public Archaeologies

Edited by Howard Williams, Howard Williams, Pauline Magdalene Clarke

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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.



Acknowledgements ;
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

About the Author

Professor Howard Williams is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Chester and researches mortuary archaeology, archaeology and memory, the history of archaeology and public archaeology. He regularly writes an academic blog: Archaeodeath.

Pauline Magdalene Clarke graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Archaeology with History in 2018, and an MA Past Landscapes and Environments in 2019, both from the University of Chester. Her MA dissertation focussed on the taphonomy of plant macrofossils.