April 19 |Nevern Castle in Pembrokeshire | Dr Chris Caple, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University. 7.30pm at Stockton Central Library TS18 1TU. Guests are welcome for £4 each on the door.
Dr, Caple has a long term research interest in Welsh castles and between 1984 and 1995 he directed the archaeological excavations at Dryslwyn Castle in Dyfed. These Cadw funded excavations produced one of the most detailed excavations of a Welsh castle ever undertaken producing a wealth of environmental remains and evidence of the 1287 siege; they were published as a Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph in 2007.
He subsequently started excavations at Nevern Castle in 2008, revealing a well preserved 12th century castle built of stone mortared with clay and unearthing a threshold containing hidden apotropaic symbols. These excavations will continue until 2018.
About the Speaker
Chris graduated from University of Wales, College of Cardiff in 1979 with a BSc in Archaeological Conservation. He carried out his doctoral research on the composition and manufacturing technology of medieval copper alloy pins at the University of Bradford and was awarded a PhD in 1986. Between 1984 and 1988 he was the artefacts conservator at the York Castle Museum. In 1988 he became lecturer in Archaeological Conservation and Archaeological Science at the Dept. of Archaeology, University of Durham, becoming a senior lecturer in 1996. He has He has been a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) since 2002.
For further information, links and bibliography click here.
In October 1997 Channel 4’s Time Team produced a programme on the Deserted Medieval Village at High Worsall uncovering buildings and investigating farmsteads. The Time Team project was filmed by a local person and this event will be an opportunity to view this film with a commentary by the photographer. There will also be an opportunity to view some of the finds from the excavations and talk to Robin Daniels, who led the archaeology team at the site.
You will also be able to learn more about an excavation project in the village of Low Worsall which will take place in April of this year.
The programme for the evening is:-
7pm for 7.30pm start
- Power point intro.
- Questions – general discussion and opportunity to look at ‘finds’
- Break for glass of wine etc
- Video of Time Team event.
Robin Daniels, Tees Archaeology
TAS Lecture Review.
Sara Gibson reviews the TAS February lecture in which David Williams discussed the events and controversies associated with St Cuthbert’s body…. after he was buried.
David treated us to a fascinating story of mystery and myth as he unfolded the story of the openings of St Cuthbert’s coffin through the ages. The myth – the incorrupt corpse of St Cuthbert – is well known. The mystery: “whodunit?” – who placed the beautiful Anglo-Saxon gold and garnet pectoral cross into the coffin – was explored in David’s lecture. First we were invited to consider St. Aelfflaed, Abbess of Whitby and Princess of Northumbria. Aelfflaed had the means to acquire the cross and opportunity to place it within the robes of Cuthbert as she wrapped the body of her close friend and saviour after his death in 697. The remarkable cross is the most ornate of just 5 similar crosses recorded, usually associated with high-status female burials. It is not, however, mentioned in the records until 1827, even though the coffin was opened at least four times between 698 and 1827, when it was “found” by James Raine, Librarian of Durham Cathedral. Raine’s claim to have found the cross concealed within Cuthbert’s robes is controversial, given his motivation to debunk the Cuthbert myth and alleged casual treatment of the remains he found. David’s lecture prompted several questions from Members, but the mystery remains …
Feb 23rd | TAS Lecture | St Cuthbert’s Corpse – a life after death | David Williams 7.30pm at Stockton Central Library TS18 1TU. Guests are welcome for £4 each on the door.
The miracle of St Cuthbert’s incorrupt corpse has been the subject of much fascination since his death, inspiring pilgrims, monks, and even the construction of Durham Cathedral itself. St Cuthbert’s coffin was opened six times in 1300 years and on each occasion someone kept a record of the body and relics as they were found – Anglo-Saxon monks, the first kings of all England, the Normans, Henry VIII’s henchman, a Georgian antiquarian and Victorian scholars – all bringing different preoccupations and concerns to the same body of material.
David is the author of ‘St Cuthbert’s Corpse – a life after death’, published under the pen name David Willem, . In this talk, David will draw upon research for this book, charting the history of St. Cuthbert’s body through time.
About the speaker
David Williams is Alumni Relations Manager at Durham University. He has twenty-three years of experience in communications, mostly at the interface between universities and the wider world and as a freelance journalist. He is the author of Kicking: Following the Fans to the Orient and a former correspondent for The Guardian and The Times.
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.