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Medieval History and Archaeology Public Talks

What is this talk/activity about?

I deliver talks based on my PhD and early career research, focused on archaeology and medieval religious history. Specifically, I speak about medieval religious recluses called anchorites and the archaeology of their cells. I also deliver talks about features in medieval parish churches called anchorite squints and leper squints. I address how these features are interpreted and used today, and how these features can be highlighted as an essential part of local history that can attract visitors to parish churches. I have adapted talks to focus on Julian of Norwich, a famous female medieval anchorite with a reconstructed cell in Norwich; another surviving anchorite cell at Chester-le-Street in Durham; a well-known anchorite cell at Lewes, Sussex featuring a deep grave; and connections between anchoritic enclosure and Covid-19 isolation.

I have adapted my talks to meet the needs of different audiences, and am happy to collaborate and find a topic or case study that is of particular interest to a specific group. The talks I referenced above were delivered to adult audiences (typically at local history or archaeological societies), but I have also worked with secondary-school students through an outreach programme called Archaeology in the City, where I introduced what archaeologists do through an interactive activity. I've also worked with families at University of Leeds Be Curious festivals and would be happy to adjust my talks into an activity or workshop suitable for this demographic.

The subject area is important because our understandings of the past shape our present, which is reflected in the level of investment local communities have in their history and historical buildings. I always make the connection in my talks between medieval history and archaeology and our understanding and interpretation of the medieval today. This allows me to explore the continuing fascination with anchorite and leper squints with my audience, even if the historical contexts they originated in are no longer relevant.

Age/Year Group

All Ages

UK National Curriculum Subject Links

History

Languages

English

Related Staff Member

Victoria Yuskaitis

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