People and Animals at Norton Priory

This project is funded by a University of Sheffield Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE) Collaborative Research and Development Award

Norton Priory (near Runcorn, Cheshire) is one of the largest excavated monastic sites in Europe, and has a regionally, nationally and internationally significant collection of archaeological material. The majority of the material has been studied in detail, but the animal bone assemblage has been neglected and a study is long overdue. This assemblage is one of the largest from an ecclesiastic site in the UK, and its study is therefore important in order to provide a more complete picture of monastic life, particularly as concerns food consumption, economy, organisation of the society and environmental setting.

This project will set up a new partnership between the Department of Archaeology's Tony Legge Zooarchaeology Laboratory and the Norton Priory Museum Trust, with the aim of conducting a rigorous study of the animal bone assemblage and then working together to feed the results into a new exhibition at the priory’s museum. The improved understanding of the role of animals will enhance the priory as a visitor attraction and help to develop their provision for school groups and families.

Lizzie Wright and Umberto Albarella will begin work on this project in January 2016.

Norton Priory image