Call for papers - Materiality and Meaning: Engagement with medieval objects

Materiality and Meaning: Engagement with medieval objects

Call for Papers for the International Medieval Congress 2019 at the University of Leeds,
1 – 4 July 2019

This session proposes to explore how medieval objects are experienced and understood as material culture. Over the last three decades, theoretical approaches have been developed, which consider different aspects of objects and their materiality. Within archaeological and anthropological studies, these include Object Biography Theory, which places the object centre stage and explores its ‘life’; to Meshwork and Entanglement theories, which argue that everything, including objects, is equal and cannot survive without inputs and outputs, thereby helping to create material culture. Likewise, approaches to material forms of engagement within museum studies have also investigated the experiential nature of the interaction between humans and objects, considering the role of the senses, emotions and feelings.

Drawing on intellectual, sensory and emotional forms of engagement, objects such as archaeological remains and artefacts; relics; documents and archives; and textiles and embroideries, for example, can provide meaning for those who come into contact with them. These encounters range from the moment of their creation, through their continued use and reuse, to their re-discovery (if, for instance, deposited or lost in the archaeological record), and preservation and use today in museums, archives and other settings.

We are seeking papers which explore engagement with the material forms of objects at one or several of these different stages in their lifecycles including, for example, excavation, conservation and preservation activities, museum and archive practice, scholarly encounters with material culture, or engagement with broader audiences through exhibitions, events or educational programmes. The papers do not have to be theoretical in nature; indeed, we encourage people to include proposals that focus on practical and sensory engagement with objects and their materiality.

Original proposals are welcome for twenty-minute papers. Please submit a working title and a 250-word abstract by 10 September 2018 to Dr Alexandra Makin at

For information relating to the Congress, including information about fees and bursaries, please see

Portable Antiquities Scheme Conference: Friday 12th October 2018

The British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) has recorded over 1.3 million finds – each one a unique discovery made by a member of the public. This conference celebrates 15 years of the Scheme, with a day or discussion and debate. These explore how the PAS is advancing knowledge, sharing information about the past, encouraging best practice and supporting museum acquisitions of Treasure and other finds.


Talks on ‘advancing knowledge’ (Dr Tom Brindle), ‘best practice’ (Faye Minter), ‘sharing knowledge’ (Dr Adam Daubney) and ‘supporting museums’ (Dr Andrew Woods), with panel discussions led by Prof Carenza Lewis, Dr Mike Heyworth, Dr Helen Geake and Gail Boyle.


Other panellists include Sir Barry Cunliffe, Dr Kevin Leahy, Dr Amanda Chadburn, Dr Neil Wilkin, Dr Sam Moorhead, Dr Tim Pestell and Dr Julia Farley.   


Book tickets now

+44 (0)20 7323 8181

50 Years of London's Archaeology Conference: 6th October 2018

50 years of London's archaeology

London Archaeologist - 50th Anniversary Conference


6th October 2018, 10am- 5.30pm

King's College London - Waterloo Campus, Franklin-Wilkins Building

150 Stamford Street




London Archaeologist journal celebrates its 50th anniversary with its first ever conference, covering major archaeological events, developments and issues since 1968. These 50 years have seen not only major discoveries -- from the Roman amphitheatre, to Saxon Lundenwic, to the Rose and other Shakespearean theatres -- but also significant advances in the detection, excavation, analysis and processing of archaeology.


Organised in collaboration with our partners King's College London Classics Department, the conference will feature Peter Marsden and Harvey Sheldon, instrumental in our first issue in 1968, as well as a host of other speakers from a range of organisations and disciplines, such as Inspector of Ancient Monuments Jane Sidell from Historic England and Osteologist Jelena Bekvalec from the Museum of London. Following the review of developments over the past five decades, a panel of the heads of five major archaeological contractors will discuss the future of London's archaeology to round off the day. Displays from organisations across the capital will be available and a celebratory reception will follow.


The outline programme is available on the London Archaeologist website:  

Tickets are now available for anyone to book via Eventbrite:

These are priced at £16.67 and include the full day conference, morning coffee and a drink at our 50th anniversary party following the conference.


A limited number of free student tickets will be made available in September – (contact here)



Call for participants: "From Fibre ro Decorated textiles in the Early North Atlantic: Making, Methods and Meanings", Simon Fraser University, Canada

Call for Participants for the sessions


From Fiber to Decorated Textiles in the Early North Atlantic: Making, Methods, and Meanings,”


part of IONA: Early Medieval Studies on the Islands of the North Atlantic
transformative networks, skills, theories, and methods for the future of the field
at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Canada. April 11-13, 2019


CFP: Textiles are a ubiquitous part of life, essentially so in eras when they had to be produced by hand. In early medieval Europe the making and use of textiles also had symbolic, metaphorical, and even allegorical meanings, in additional to the functional. We wish to spend time exploring the connections between the act of making and understanding how something is being made as well as connections among disciplines, approaches, and interpretations.

We are envisioning a series of linked sessions in which participants first learn generally about the textile-making process in the Early North Atlantic, before choosing one skill to learn more deeply, which they will then proceed to practice for the remainder of the sessions. During this final part, scholars will also present their research findings and interpretations, most likely in a modified roundtable format, culminating in a final large discussion that brings together the insights of making through practice and how this might influence interpretation.

We invite proposals of two kinds. First we seek those versed in the making of early medieval textiles and the teaching of those skills. We are specifically interested in scholars accomplished in one of the following: nalbinding, lucet braiding, tablet weaving, inkle weaving, sprang, upright loom weaving, and other fabric and fiber arts. The organizers will be instructing in the use of the hand spindle and loop stitch embroidery. We also welcome other textile skills that were employed in the early North Atlantic world. The session organizers hope to be able to provide basic materials such as yarn, needles, fabric, and thread, and may be able to help provide larger specialty equipment.

The second kind of proposal we invite is from interpreters of early medieval textiles in the North Atlantic and the methods of making them. We hope to gather an interdisciplinary group of researchers, teachers, curators, and artists working in this area to spark a dialogue about how one can practically and metaphorically come to understand any of the following:

● textile and textile tool remains

● literary and artistic depictions of textile-making processes

● how gender, region, religion, or economics were part of meaning making in textiles and the how the making process was experienced by medieval people or how these categories of analysis impact our contemporary understanding

● the role of trade and/or migration in disseminating or adapting textile making processes, decoration, and raw and finished materials

● how access to resources impacted the making of textiles

● methods of decorating textiles (embroidery, braid, trim, and so forth)

If one is both a maker and an interpreter, one may submit a joint proposal.

Questions may be addressed to Karen Agee (, Erika Lindgren (, or Alexandra Makin ( Please submit a 250 words proposal/abstract to Karen Agee ( by July 15, 2018. Please use Textiles IONA in the subject line.

The full website with all the CFPs and conference information can be found here:



The Archaeology of York fascicules

For those members who may not know about York Archaeological Trust's fascicule series volumes or have well thumbed copies those still in print can be found to  buy at

A number of out of print fascicules are available as free downloads at These include finds volumes AY17/14 Craft, Industry and Everyday Life. Finds  from Anglo-scandinavian York AJMainman and NSH Rogers amd AY17/15 Craft, Industry and Everyday Life. Finds  from Medieval  York by Patrick Ottaway and Nicola Rogers and 17/16 Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-scandinavian and Medieval York by Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle and Esther Cameron. 

Understanding leather: from tannery to collection


5 days CPD training for Conservators (10 -12 participants only)

Main Subjects

Understanding Leather

Understanding the threats to the preservation of leather in your collection

The course is a mixture of theory and practical (tanning, handling different leathers and examining deterioration problems).

Each aspect of leather production is explored in both a theoretical and practical way, and explained in relation to deterioration processes and resultant care and conservation problems.

Participants will have opportunities to try some of the production methods using both modern and traditional techniques.

Experienced professionals are on-hand to answer questions and the course takes place in an informal group, where students are encouraged to take part and get involved.


This course is aimed at conservators , curators and other museum professionals with responsibility for collections which include historic leather items, who wish to understand (a) leather making processes and (b) common deterioration problems found in historic leather objects.

Those who attended the course in previous years found it to be immensely useful as well as enjoyable.

To be held at

The Leather Conservation Centre and

Northampton University’s Institute of Creative Leather Technologies

The University of Northampton

Boughton Green Road

Northampton NN2 7AN

Dates - Monday 26 to Friday 30 June 2017

Cost - £495 tuition only. For students on recognised conservation courses there are a few places available at £295.00.

An accommodation list will be available.

NB The course will not run with less than 10 participants.

For further information or to book a place on this course please contact - Yvette Fletcher, Head of Conservation, The Leather Conservation Centre on email

Lab coats, gloves, boots and other necessary PPE will be provided.

Please note the course does not cover conservation treatments or techniques (please visit the West Dean website for information on CPD course on conservation of leather).