People and Place in the Kingdom of Northumbria: New project and fieldwork perspectives

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Event Series Event Series: Evening Lectures

People and Place in the Kingdom of Northumbria: New project and fieldwork perspectives

February 8 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


Out of London Meeting: Exeter

People and Place in the Kingdom of Northumbria: New project and fieldwork perspectives

by Sarah Semple

Yeavering in Northumberland is well-known for its appearance in the 8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People in which Bede describes a visit to the royal vill of Adgefrin during the reign of King Edwin (c. AD 627), when the Christian missionary Paulinus instructed and baptised many people who gathered there from the surroundings. The site lost and forgotten until air photography in 1949 revealed traces of sub-surface features delineating a series of rectangular hall-like buildings. The well-known excavations by Brian Hope Taylor followed from 1952 to 1962, revealing a complex settlement, with a sequence of great halls, a string of ancillary buildings, a large enclosure, a remarkable timber grandstand or theatre, cemeteries and buildings associated with pre-Christian and Christian religious activity, all laid out in relation to antecedent, multi-period prehistoric activity and monuments. Yeavering, brought to life in Hope-Taylor’s seminal publication in 1977, has since captured the imagination of prehistorians and medievalists alike. Through the advances of aerial photography and major field investigations, the site is no longer considered unique, but instead recognised as an influential exemplar of a broader phenomenon of elaborate early medieval royal palace complexes. In the last decade, excavations at Sutton Courtenay (Oxfordshire), Lyminge (Kent), and Rhynie (Aberdeenshire) and Rendlesham (Suffolk) have produced exceptional evidence of the architecture and layout of these palaces, as well as information on elite activity and practice, from feasting to ritual action and craftworking evidence.

Following several years of research collaboration between Durham University and the Gefrin Trust, a new phase of investigation using survey, geophysical prospection and excavation commenced at Yeavering in 2021. This paper, presented on behalf of the project team, discusses the combined results of the first three years of investigations, revealing new insights into the development of the early medieval settlement complex, adding to our understanding of its extent and its relationship of the settlement to multi-period archaeological remains on the site. The site is considered in terms of the broader context of late Iron Age and early medieval activity within the region as well as the broader phenomenon of early medieval elite complexes, and, drawing on a composite of evidence, new perspectives are offered on people and communities inhabiting the region that used and visited the early medieval complex at Gefrin.

This event will be both in person at the University of Exeter and online. Please select the appropriate ticket below.

Attendance at the University of Exeter:

  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows, Affiliates and General Public.
  • Places in person will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The event will begin at 12.30 GMT. Please arrive in plenty of time.
  • There will be light refreshments after the talk.
  • The location of the talk is: University of Exeter, Boardroom in the Knightley building, 24 Streatham Dr, Exeter EX4 4PD
  • Registration is essential for non-Fellows but we encourage Fellows to register as well.
  • Fellows must ensure they sign the guest book and sign their guests in.

Attendance by Live Stream:

  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows, Affiliates and General Public.
  • The event will be live-streamed to YouTube here
  • The event will begin at 12.30 GMT.
  • You will receive an email reminder with the link to join the day before the lecture.

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February 8
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm