Voices of Law: Translating, Editing, and Using Medieval Documents Postgraduate Workshop

This week, I travelled to Cardiff to attend a workshop about medieval documents organised by Voices of Law, an international network studying law, language, and legal practice in Britain, Frisia and Scandinavia from 200-1250AD. This is an area that I haven’t really studied before as I have always been based in archaeology, but I want to knowingly approach different disciplines in my research, and be aware of all the different branches of medieval studies. This workshop was challenging, absorbing, and gave a valuable introduction to the processes and issues involved when using medieval legal texts as an archaeology student.

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Embodying Life and Death and the Anglo-Saxon body

A few weeks ago, I attended my first proper conference, a day-long event called Embodying Life and Death: The Body in Anglo-Saxon England (1). The day was structured around a series of talks by academics and PhD researchers that broadly related to the theme of body identity, encompassing artefacts, burial data and documents. Every talk fit together well; although the types of evidence were different, the conversation looped back on itself often, as there were just so many parallels and shared ideas across the different disciplines. The interdisciplinary nature of the event helped me to see the Anglo-Saxon body in a new way, which is what this blog post hopes to explain.

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Finchale Priory and the Cult of the Ruin

Last Friday morning, I went on a field trip to Finchale Priory on the outskirts of Durham. It was a short fieldtrip, only a couple of hours, which was enough time to explore the ruined building and yet not anywhere near enough time at all. There was so much to learn about such a small site. There were numerous phases of occupation at the priory from the 12th to the 16th centuries, represented in the fabric of the walls and the alignment of the different rooms. There were more recent buildings with their own features, all set into a beautiful river valley, as well as the twisting and turning structural remains of what was once a sizeable building. Each part of the structure told a story and we had a lovely time unpicking and discovering them.

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New Opportunities and Achievable Goals

This week was the week that I began my postgraduate degree at Durham University. Even typing that last sentence makes me feel excited and faintly sick from nerves. As a student fresh from graduation, it feels like the last three years have been spent studying with this week in mind. The thought of entering the academic community as a postgraduate researcher has kept me going through late night library sessions and endless bouts of freshers’ flu. I’ve certainly achieved a long term goal by being here today, but I don’t see this as a final achievement. I want this year to be a stepping stone to my future, a way of developing skills, meeting different academics and becoming a more professional archaeologist. In this blog post, I’m going to lay out my hopes for the year, and discuss why I think a master’s degree is so important to my personal development.

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