Virtual Special Issue Medieval Archaeology

Medieval Archaeology

The Society for Medieval Archaeology celebrated its 60th year in 2017. In the very first journal editorial in 1957, the then Editor, Sir David Wilson, set out the aims of the Society to encourage the archaeology of the medieval period, early and late, and to stimulate interactions between archaeologists, historians, philologists and art historians, with emphasis on gathering a substantive evidential base for the new discipline. In the years that have followed, those aims have broadened considerably, with the Society and its journal, playing a leading role in encouraging dialogue and collaboration across both arts and sciences. In 2007, in the 50th anniversary year, the Society held a conference and published a substantial reflective volume, which captured the essence of some of the significant changes and developments in the discipline across half a century. In their introduction Roberta Gilchrist and Andrew Reynolds noted the significant shift by the Society towards an international perspective and the burgeoning nature of medieval archaeology into a broader discipline, taking in social and scientific research on artefacts and sites, but also landscapes, buildings and populations. The emphasis in the mid-20th century on acquiring and gathering large datasets has been retained, but the techniques at our disposal have rapidly diversified, enabling a far more holistic treatment of medieval society. Developing alongside the Society, its journal Medieval Archaeology has diversified too in terms of content and reach, providing better representation of findings and results from across Britain and Ireland and the early to late medieval period, as well as a greater representation of articles dealing with European medieval archaeology.

To celebrate 60 years of the Society, the current President, Carenza Lewis, the Honorary Secretary, Dawn Hadley, and the current Honorary Editor for the journal, Sarah Semple, have selected 20 articles from across six decades of publication in Medieval Archaeology. These represent the journal’s strength in interdisciplinary scholarship and its role in bringing new findings to press as well as the continued emphasis on publishing major overviews of substantive original datasets. They also capture the shifting disciplinary and theoretical concerns of the subject, and the journal’s increasingly international remit. Many articles continue to be timely; precedents to, and relevant in, current debate. Our choice inevitably excludes many excellent pieces, as the articles gathered here are chosen to provide an overview, and are not necessarily the most frequently cited. However we hope our selection provides a chance for our members to contemplate the changing profile of research published in the journal over 60 years. We hope you enjoy the compilation.

Please enjoy free access to the below articles via this page only, until the end of January 2018.