Kathryn Libby

Department of Archaeology

Research Student

Profile

The proposed research will examine metalwork, principally brooches, from Viking-Age England to provide new insights into the impact of Scandinavian settlers on Anglo-Saxon society and economy.

Over the last 20 years, metal-detected finds reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme have transformed our understanding of Viking-Age England, as thousands of items of metalwork have been recovered that reveal evidence of Scandinavian influence, especially in areas of eastern England (where the Scandinavian settlement was densest, and where agricultural regimes render metal detecting a particularly popular undertaking).

While coinage and ingots have been extensively studied with respect to manufacturing processes, economic activity and political ambition, the insights to be gained from analysis of dress accessories and jewellery have been less extensively explored.

Exceptions have been the work of Gabor Thomas, Kevin Leahy and Jane Kershaw who have all commented on aspects of ethnic identity on the basis of the stylistic attributes of this metalwork. Missing, however, from all of their work is detailed consideration of manufacturing techniques, which will be the focus of this proposed research.

Methods will include studying stylistic elements to determine the production of the items as well as XRF analysis.

XRF analysis can be abundantly helpful allowing a quantitative approach to the subject of identity. Through metal composition, the new questions can be raised and addressed focusing on cultural identity.

Qualifications
  • BA Archaeology and History: (The College of Wooster 2014)
  • MA Medieval Archaeology: (University of York 2015)
Research interests

Thesis: Looking For The Craftperson’s Identity: Metal Production In Viking Age Lincolnshire

Research group

Supervisors:

  • Dr Hugh Willmott
  • Dr Roger Doonan
Professional activities
  • August 2017 UNESCO Ratiaria Semper Floreat Action Camp in Archar Bulgaria
  • 2015 -2017 Wessex Archaeology field technician
  • July 2012 Bishop Grosseteste University Field School
  • PhD Year Student Representative at the University of Sheffield (2017- Current)
  • Organiser for Tuesday Lunchtime Lecture Series at the University of Sheffield (2017-Current)
  • Co-editor of Assemblage Archaeology Journal (2017-Current)
  • Member of the Society of Medieval Archaeology (2016-Current)
  • Member of the Find Research Group (2017-Current)

Conference presentations

  • 19-21 April 2018 Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium - Forthcoming. Glasgow, Scotland, "Looking for Scandinavian identity: metal production in Viking Age Lincolnshire"
  • 25 January 2018 Student Research Seminar, University of Sheffield | Looking for the craftperson’s identity: metal production in Viking Age Lincolnshire
  • 1-2 December 2017 Society for Medieval Archaeology Student Colloquium. Newcastle, England, "Looking for Scandinavian identity: production of brooches in Viking Age Lincolnshire"
  • 10-12 April 2014 Central States Anthropological Society 2014 Annual Meeting. Normal, Illinois, "Scandinavian Influence of Anglo-Saxon Mortuary Practices"