Autumn 2018

September 22nd
at The Suffolk Punch Trust, HollesleyMore details
The Black Death. Professor Mark Bailey (University of East Anglia).

The Black Death of 1348-49 is the greatest catastrophe in documented English history, killing nearly half the population and terrorizing the survivors.  We shall explore the latest ideas about what caused it, how people reacted to it, and how it changed life in England.

FULL – please email me to be added to the waiting list.

September 29th at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley

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The landscape of Suffolk Place-Names. Dr Keith Briggs (Independent Scholar).

We shall investigate the place-names of Suffolk from the point of view of what they reveal about the landscape of the past.   We will look especially at the names of the smaller features such as fields, tenements, greens and commons, lanes, woods, and parks, mainly as recorded in the medieval period.

October 6th at The Suffolk Punch Trust, HollesleyMore details The Horse in Early Anglo-Saxon England. Chris Fern (Heritage Consultant, University of York). 

From the very beginning of Anglo-Saxon culture, the importance of the horse is signified by the names of the legendary warrior-founders of the English-speaking peoples in Britain, Hengest and Horsa.  Equine imagery is also prominent in early Anglo-Saxon art.  Added to this is considerable archaeological evidence for horse sacrifice in both cremation and inhumation burials of the 5th to 7th centuries, often with highly ornate tack.

October 13th at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley

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1066 Year Zero? Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education).

For many people the Battle of Hastings marks the beginning of English history. On the eve of its 952nd anniversary we shall reconsider this view in the context of the contemporary sources for the history of England in the 11th century.

October 20th at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley

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New Thoughts on Old Swords: The Sword in Early England from the 5th to 7th centuries. Paul Mortimer (Independent Scholar).

Much of the evidence for Anglo-Saxon swords derives from the excavation of graves and many ideas about them have been based on that. But does a sword always indicate ‘high-status’, or are patterned sword-blades really rare? We will consider these and related questions along with new ways of thinking about them

November 3rd at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley

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Beowulf, Sutton Hoo, and the Wuffings. Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education).

An introduction to the Old English epic of Beowulf and its implications for our understanding of Sutton Hoo and the culture of the Wuffings of East Anglia.  We shall see how its splendid language brings to life the bare bones of the archaeology and how the latter authenticates the golden world of the poem.

November 17th at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley

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Raising the Dead: The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon Death and Burial. Dr Richard Hoggett (Heritage Consultant).

Burials constitute a large part of the archaeological record from Anglo-Saxon England, and this study-day uses the rich East Anglian burial record to explore the range of funeral rites. Subjects to be covered include cremation, inhumation, the use of grave-goods, and the impact of Christianity. The day will be illustrated with examples which will include recent and unpublished excavations.

November 24th at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley

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Reconstructing 13th-century Society and Landscape: the Bishop of Ely’s Fenland Estates. Dr Sue Oosthuizen (University of Cambridge)

The Ely Coucher Book is a record of the Bishop of Ely’s vast fenland estates in 1249-50, so comprehensive it was too fat to stand, and had instead to lie down as if asleep (from the French coucher, ‘to sleep’). Because the same questions were asked on each manor, and the work of collection, recording and analysis was undertaken in a single phase within a consistent framework by a centrally co-ordinated team, it provides a detailed portrait of many aspects of daily life across a large medieval region. From this great book we can reconstruct everyday lives across that mid-13th-century landscape to try to understand ‘what really happened in that land of mystery which we call the past’.

FULL – please email me to be added to the waiting list.

December 1st at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley

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Castles, Moats, and Feudal Symbolism in Medieval Suffolk. Edward Martin (Retired Archaeologist & Independent Scholar).

Castles – and the less monumental but related moated sites – are powerful and evocative symbols of the medieval feudal system. We shall examine the history and development of those in Suffolk, exploring both their physical and symbolic values.

December 8th at The Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley

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The Old English Yuletide Feast. Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education).

Rediscover the magic of Christmas with an exploration of the significance of the midwinter festival in early England and how it was celebrated.  This will include a look at the Old English calendar, which reveals how the pre-Christian year was structured, and how it was transformed into the Christian year, in the light of early medieval art, poetry, and archaeology.