May 26 | Early Medieval Perceptions of the Past: Identity and the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon England | Dr Sarah Semple, Durham University. 7.30pm at Stockton Central Library TS18 1TU. Guests are welcome for £4 each on the door.
The prehistoric and Roman inhabitants of England left a rich repertoire of monuments and remains. In the post Roman aftermath, the communities that struggled to redefine themselves and their control over landscape and resources, began to creatively draw upon these physical and material legacies. The natural landscape exerted a profound shaping effect on territory, the legacy of the prehistoric and Roman past. Barrows, enclosures, forts—as well as Roman and Romano-British places and remains—proved key to the flourishing of new communities, and the ancient and more recent monuments in the landscape were drawn upon in the creation of new stories of origins, power and descent. This presentation explores how these processes helped shape the local world view of communities and how, by the 6th and 7th centuries, emerging elite and royal power began to exploit and harness ancient monuments and the landscape for their own, new ambitious vision of power.
About the speaker
Sarah’s research focuses on the early medieval period in Britain and Northern Europe. She is especially interested in understanding early medieval interaction with the natural and man-made environment with particular reference to the role of landscape in definitions of identity, religion and cult practice, as well as charting the ideological and political uses of natural topography and ancient remains.
Recent publications include: Anglo-Saxon Perceptions of the Prehistoric. Ritual, Religion and Rulership (2013) and Signals of Belief in Anglo-saxon England (2010). She recently completed a collaborative project exploring the important monastic sites of Wearmouth and Jarrow. Further regional involvements include field investigation at Yeavering, Northumberland, Sockburn, County Durham and at Etal on the Northumberland border.