Session 1: Narratives and Biographies of Buildings

Long Papers

Richard Newman – Archaeological Site Director, Cambridge Archaeology Unit, University of Cambridge

Profile: Working for the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, I specialise in deeply stratified urban excavations and historic building archaeology as well as an ongoing research project on the Late Medieval Portuguese colony of Cape Verde.

The School of Pythagorus, Cambridge: the biography of a later 12th century townhouse

The School of Pythagoras in Cambridge represents the rare survival of a substantial late 12th century masonry townhouse. Elucidated by the results of recent investigations conducted within both the building itself and its immediate environs, and adopting a syllogistic narrative approach, this structure’s long and varied biography will be presented.  Initially constructed as the riverside residence of a wealthy merchant, the building was originally situated on the fringe of a successful Late Saxon inland port. By the late 13th century, however, the economic focus of the town had shifted elsewhere. Consequently, during the later medieval period the building was utilised first as a farmhouse and then subsequently as an agricultural outbuilding. This gradual transition from an urban to rural milieu – a dramatic reversal of the more typical town-based narrative – reflects wider changes in the layout and economy of Cambridge itself. The extent to which these changes are embodied in the architecture, usage and history of the School of Pythagoras will be explored via a combination of material evidence and documentary sources.


Timur Tatlioglu – Senior Heritage Advisor, Montagu Evans LLP

Profile: Timur Tatlioglu is a heritage consultant at Montagu Evans LLP. He is interested in the interpretation of historic landscapes, particularly post-medieval estates. His doctoral research focussed on the development of the Harewood Estate, West Yorkshire, over the course of the eighteenth century exploring the themes of scale, multivocality and biography. 

Biographies of Place: The Joiners’ Workshop at Harewood, West Yorkshire

The joiners’ workshop within the Harewood Estate was established in the second half of the 18th century by Edwin Lascelles (1712–95), as part of the improvements to the estate landscape. The paper will present the results of a survey of the building integrated with extensive estate records. The aim will be to explore how the biographies of different groups were affected by the workshop through its design, construction and use during the 18th Century.

Informing the narrative will be two prevalent themes.

First, there will be an appreciation of the broader processes of the period such as the role of improvement, and its economic, social and aesthetic implications. These resulted in alterations in all scales of life, from the principles behind the workshop to the everyday lives of those who came to build and use it.

The second theme draws on multivocality, and how various and contrasting viewpoints often reveal how separate lives were inherently influenced by the same structure. This will be presented in an arbitrary way through different perspectives.

These “voices” offer a nuanced understanding of how the workshop was used and perceived. Through this lens the workshop was not only an economic entity or indeed an architectural showpiece, but a place that owed its meaning to the sights, sounds and indeed smells that helped constitute its meaning.


Short Papers

Richard Nevell – PhD student, University of Exeter

Profile: Richard Nevell is a part-time post-graduate student at the University of Exeter, studying archaeology. His current research is on the destruction of castles in the Middle Ages and his MA and BA dissertations at the University of Leicester were also related to castles

Controlled demolition in the Middle Ages

In some contexts building can been considered an act of establishing authority. Castles were added to England’s architectural lexicon in the 11th century with the Norman Conquest and quickly became a symbol of lordship. At the other end of a castle’s lifespan, dismantling it could be an alternative expression of authority, especially when done so violently. Only minority of castles were demolished, but these cases offer insight into the culture of violence of the period. Such themes are not restricted to castles or the Middle Ages, and can be seen to extend from the Roman period to the 17th century.

“Rebellion was not uncommon in the Middle Ages; the most significant in England in the 12th and 13th centuries were the Anarchy, the revolt against Henry II led by his sons, the barons’ rebellion against King John, and the barons’ rebellion against Henry III. In the aftermath of these four rebellions the rebels’ castles were often damaged by the King, a process commonly known as ‘slighting’. Of the 84 documented cases in England between 1066 and 1485, five sixths occur within the 12th and 13th centuries. These were controlled acts of violence perpetrated against the property of the rebels. Slighting has often been understood in terms of military imperative, denying rebels the tools to stand against the King, but new research suggests more complex issues of identity and control may be involved.


Matthew Jenkins – Research Associate, Department of Archaeology, University of York

Profile: My PhD explored York during the eighteenth century, developing an inter-disciplinary approach to the analysis of the streetscapes and domestic spaces of the Georgian city. I am now working on a collaborative project with Dr Charlotte Newman which utilises English Heritage’s Architectural Studies Collection to investigate London during this period.

The View From The Street: Housing and Shopping in York during the Long Eighteenth Century

This paper highlights the potential of biography to challenge and nuance historical accounts of large-scale cultural transformations in the Georgian period, including urban improvement and domestic privacy. It explores how the detailed analysis of houses and the changes made to their fabric, form and function, sheds light on their changing uses and meanings over time. When combined with the study of newspapers, wills, diaries, maps, illustrations and early photographs, this approach can be used to generate a series of street stories and building biographies that illuminate how the urban environment was experienced.

Academic analysis of eighteenth-century streets and houses have been heavily influenced by ideas of urban improvement and Georgianisation. Eighteenth century towns, it is argued, saw a marked change in material culture that was linked to new ways of living, and both expressed and encouraged ideas of order, symmetry and segregation. However, this scholarship has been largely formed without reference to the detailed physical evidence. The same concerns apply to investigations of interior space, both the private world of the home and consumer shops. The creation of biographies of houses and streets allows for the investigation of how the urban environment was actually constituted and perceived and how social practices were performed on a day-to-day level. The paper will explore the everyday lives of these buildings and how their inhabitants interacted with them, whether promenading through the fashion centre of eighteenth-century York, shopping in a Georgian bookshop, or entertaining at home.


Chris King – Lecturer, Faculty of Arts, University of Nottingham

Profile: Chris King is a Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Nottingham, having completed a PhD at the University of Reading and post-doctoral research at the University of Leicester. He is a specialist in medieval and post-medieval standing buildings and urban archaeology, especially urban domestic buildings.

Private lives and public power: a building biography of Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

Historical archaeology as a discipline is well-placed to explore the intersections between the lives of houses as built structures and the lives of the households that inhabit them as individuals, families and generations. The changing physical and material setting of the house not only encapsulates changes in the use and meaning of domestic space through time, but can also frame and display familial and historical narratives as a basis of social identity and cultural authority. These themes will be explored using the case study of Strangers’ Hall in Norwich, a well-preserved example of a large town house that grew and developed through the medieval and early modern periods as the residence of wealthy merchant families and mayors of the city, before a decline in status and subdivision in the late 17th century, and its revival as a museum of domestic life in the 20th century.

The biography of the building mirrors the biographies of its owners and their changing fortunes, as a site where private social identities and public political authority were consciously expressed and negotiated using new fashions and conscious archaism within the structure and decoration of the house as cultural resources in urban society.  The author is currently leading a project (University of Nottingham, University of York and Norfolk Museums Service) which is developing digital resources to reconstruct and visualise the changing interior of the property through different periods and to explore appropriate presentation opportunities for visitors to the house, and one aim of this research is to explore the potential to tell individual life stories within the context of broader histories of the urban domestic interior.


Session 2: Sex, Death and Madness

Long Papers

Louise Fowler – Assistant post-excavation manager, Museum of London Archaeology

Natasha Powers – Head of Osteology and Research Coordinator, Museum of London Archaeology

“Utopian and antipractical” living and dying and building the London Hospital

Archaeological excavations carried out by MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) prior to the redevelopment of an area of the Royal London Hospital in 2006 provided the rare opportunity to compare detailed contemporary documentary accounts, both institutional and personal, with material evidence for behaviour within an early 19th century charitable hospital. ‘The London’ was the first teaching hospital in England, and the close proximity of patients and students provided opportunity for conflict as well as for the furthering of medical science. The subsequent investigations showed how the ideals of the well-planned facilities, located in open countryside, contrasted with the realities of treating the sick in a rapidly growing city and the financial constraints of running a successful institution. A pragmatic and practical approach was taken to the location of facilities, but this also brought conflict when spaces within the buildings were called upon to perform more than one function or to house more than one group of people with differing needs. Analysis also revealed a surprising spatial relationship between the living and the dead, with busy hospital wards directly overlooking the burial ground for unclaimed patients, which was also conveniently located next to the dissecting room of the medical college. Hospital patients moved through all three spaces, initially as ‘objects’ of charity but with many subsequently becoming ‘subjects’ for dissection. Most importantly, the idea of ‘decency’ can be seen to be reflected in both space and process.


Philip Hoare – Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, University of Southampton/Plymouth University

Profile: Philip Hoare’s books include Wilde’s Last Stand, England’s Lost Eden, and Spike Island, a study of Netley Hospital. Leviathan or, The Whale won the Samuel Johnson Prize for 2009, and The Sea Inside was published in 2013.  He is senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Southampton.

Netley Hospital, Imperial Corpus

The Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley was an imperial corpus built to reflect and encompass a colonial empire.  One quarter of a mile long, it was an entirely self-sufficient site which became a microsom of the British Empire during its height and decline, a dynamic physically echoed by the gargantuan hospital and by the lives and deaths of the people who passed through it: from its inception as a royally-ordered reaction the Crimean War, to its apogee as a medicropolis during the First World War, when it became a crucial interface between the war and the public, and when its military asylum, the first of its kind, treated the new seemingly psychosomatic symptoms of shellshock, Netley progressed on the historical scale of the decline of empire, until its ignominous demolition in 1966.  Using images and narratives from the hospital’s history, and with reference to its local, national, and international importance as a medical, military and cultural expression, Dr Philip Hoare, author of Spike Island: The Memory of a Military Hospital, will discuss the rise and fall of this unique and emblematic structure.


Short Papers

Katherine Fennelly – Research Assistant, University of Manchester

Profile: Katherine Fennelly recently completed her PhD at the University of Manchester. Her thesis was an interdisciplinary examination of the management, architecture and administration of lunatic asylums in England and Ireland in the early nineteenth century. She is currently publishing her research on asylums and researching her next project on the social and heritage concerns associated with institutional sites.

Fresh air and a view: the West Riding District Lunatic Asylum and the architecture of health

The West Riding District Lunatic Asylum opened in Wakefield in 1818, a County asylum purpose-built to facilitate innovations in asylum management and architectural reform. The Wakefield asylum incorporated many of the features of an ‘improved’ asylum that had been advocated and popularised by the proprietor of the private York Retreat, Samuel Tuke. Amongst the features of the asylum was an attention to patient leisure, landscaping, ventilation and heating, and light. These features were facilitated by innovations in architecture and treatment technology that had not been used elsewhere. The Wakefield asylum pioneered the practice of covert supervision, and was influential in asylum planning and internal hospital design for decades. This paper will examine the built environment of the Wakefield asylum, determine the factors that went into its planning and building, and assess the effect that this institution had on hospital and asylum architecture throughout the nineteenth century.


Charlotte Newman – Curator, English Heritage

Profile: Dr Charlotte Newman is English Heritage’s Curator of Archaeology (London and East).  Charlotte is a historical archaeologist specialising in industrial and institutional buildings.

A Mansion for the Mad: an alternative archaeology of Brooke House, Hackney

Socio-cultural perceptions towards madness in the eighteenth-century maintained the madhouse as a private and isolated place. This contributes to the relative absence of historical records that would allow a thorough scrutiny of the eighteenth-century madhouse as a social, political, and psychological residence of control and containment. Yet, the material culture retained from Brooke House reveals one snapshot of contemporary ideologies regarding madness in the 18th century.  Owned by the famous Monro family of physicians, Brooke House offers a unique opportunity to explore the materiality of a mansion converted to accommodate those suffering madness. This unique collection, including objects such as tiles, wallpaper, panelling, door frames and fireplaces, provides a rare opportunity to analyse the materiality of the madhouse.  Utilising archaeological approaches in the analysis of the building and its interiors, this paper seeks to explore the environmental impact of Brooke House on its residents revealing experiences of the confined mad in 18th century England


John Walter – PhD student, The University of Westminster

Profile: John Walter is an artist currently undertaking research for PhD in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at The University of Westminster. His monumental installation project ‘Alien Sex Club’ will be staged at Ambika P3 in July 2015 and travel to Liverpool for Homotopia Festival. His work is currently motivated by the idea that visual art must learn from design in order to re-engergise itself as a socio-political force. He makes drawings and paintings, which take the form of costume, video, performance, song, installation, sculpture, printmaking, animation, architecture and artist’s books. 

Alien Sex Club – can art and architecture be used to help reduce rates of HIV transmission?

Can we reduce rates of HIV transmission using architecture?

The ‘cruise maze’ has emerged as a spatial typology within Sex Clubs encouraging clients to linger and engage in anonymous and possibly risky sexual activity. I will debate the costs and benefits associated with such a phenomenon.

Alien Sex Club is a research project investigating the spaces in which men have sex, drawing on the disciplines of art, architecture, biomedicine, anthropology, sociology, design, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, linguistics and queer theory.

30 years after the start of the AIDS crisis the visual arts are failing to address the subject, as some perceive it to no longer be a problem. However, rates of HIV transmission amongst gay men continue to increase with around 3500 new diagnoses each year. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has transformed HIV into a manageable chronic infection with near normal life expectancies and lowered infectiousness. The cost of being on ART per patient over their lifetime to the NHS is around £500,000 and there are potential side effects to being on the drugs.

Despite the closure of Public Sex Environments during the AIDS crisis the drive for men to meet each other anonymously for sex has remained. Cruising in virtual spaces, such as Grindr, has not reduced the demand for Real-space Sex Environments.

The paper will narrate the development of male sex spaces from the Roman Bathhouse and the Turkish Hammam through to cottaging in public toilets and the emergence of Sex Clubs and Gay Bathhouses over the past 30 years.


Session 3 – Cosmology & Religious Experience

Long Papers

Perette Michelli – Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Profile: Perette Michelli earned her Ph.D. at the University of East Anglia in 1989.  She has taught at Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, St Olaf College, Lake Forest College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Milwaukee Institute of Art.

The Metaphysical Mosque, visual narrative and empathic structure

Among the traditions known to the Muslims when they took Temple Mount 637 ce was Ezekiel’s vision of wading through the River of Life that flowed from the temple (Ez 47:1–12) after the Presence of the Lord had returned, designated it His throne, and filled it (Ez 43:1–7). For Muslims, abundantly flowing water is a metaphor for barakah (blessing), and the impact of Ezekiel’s narrative can be seen in Umayyad hypostyle mosques with aqueduct-like colonnades leading to a dome, including Al-Aqsa on Temple Mount, Damascus, and Medina; and Kairouan and Cordoba with their cosmic throne-domes. The alerted observer can therefore infer and re-enact the Ezekiel narrative by recognizing the reference to abundantly flowing water and “wading” through it towards the Throne of God in the dome.

Imagining the nested universes of Mulk, Malakut and Jabarut in relation to the mosque’s materiality, surface, and seamless surrounding space parallels our experience as embodied minds contained by skin and occupying space but inverts the Islamic understanding of God who is external to the materially embodied universe that He creates by projecting His Names and barakah through the porous “skin” of the Malakut. Thus the alerted observer can empathically perceive the supernatural cosmological mechanism in action. By moving through the space inside the mosque, this observer both receives barakah and fulfills the Qur’anic imperative to gaze knowingly, contemplatively, at the metaphorical reflection of God in His creation (Q 41:53) so that He may see His own beauty through our eyes (hadith qudsi).


Joanna Peace – Artist/Visiting Tutor, Glasgow School of Art

From Within and Without: the Dutch Anchorite: Suster Bertken

From her cell on the south-facing wall of the Buurkerk in Utrecht, Dutch anchorite Suster Bertken (1426/7-1514) spent 57 years composing mystical poetry and songs,  praying,  and giving counsel to passers-by in return for food.

This paper takes a cross-disciplinary look at the gesture of ‘walling in’ that Bertken undertook at the age of 30, and draws this gesture, her life and the writing she produced, into relation with feminist histories, literature and art practice from the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Firstly I examine the role Bertken’s cell played in dictating her position as a body apart and yet very much within the larger social body of Utrecht: occupying a semi-autonomous space, et still contained within the strict physical and liturgical structure of the Church: declared ‘dead’ on becoming an anchorite, yet interacting daily with the city. With one small window facing the altar and another the street, I consider her cell as a porous container and a space between, in the light of contemporary thinking around gender, space and architecture. Primary research gathered during a fieldtrip to Utrecht is examined using ideas put forth by architectural historian Jane Rendell.

Secondly, I explore her original and significant written output, which was widely published after her death, through the prism of texts by feminist poet Audre Lorde and others. Berken’s writing drew knowingly upon many traditions and was part of the Devotio Moderna movement. Through her writing she expressed herself as a woman, mystica and recluse, and with these multiple voices I propose that her words have power and agency.

As an ending to the presentation I will read aloud from a short piece of creative writing developed in parallel to this paper. Using what Prof. Stephen Driscoll, University of Glasgow, has called an archaeologist’s greatest tool – the imagination – I have re-imagined Bertken’s experience from a first-person perspective.


Christopher Poulson – Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, University of the West of England

Profile: Kit Poulson is a Lecturer in Fine Art at U.W.E and a practicing artist. He is particularly interested in exploring how individuals have described their thought structurally and how these ideas might be manifested physically.

Never less lonely than when alone: a description of the construction and use of an early modern woman’s meditation chamber.

The meditation chamber constructed around 1605 by Lady Anne Drury in Hawstead  Suffolk. This small room (7x7ft) was an immersive environment the walls of which were covered with emblematic panels. This was a site (or even device) for a specific practice of Protestant sceptical meditation, and contains references that allow and exploration of the room and the small country house in which it was sited as being understood by their occupants as both mundane and metaphorical constructions.

The paper will fall into three parts.

Firstly a brief examination of the intellectual milieu in which Anne Drury lived.  Although living deep in the countryside she also had close connections with the most advanced thinking of her age. The ‘household’ also becomes a key part of the intellectual geography of the country. The building is both a site for forming and a space for the public display of personal and public identity.

Secondly a physical description of the chamber, presenting a model which reconstructs the chamber in its original form before it’s several relocations, and sites it within a larger symbolic architecture of the house, focussing acts of prayer, speech and thought.

Finally a reclamation of the emblematic panels from ‘paradoxical entertainments’  into methods for generating specific states of mental awareness. Here stillness is used to engender a very specific understanding of the body and the senses. The movement of the eyes around the room becomes analogous with the mind/body in the world.


Session 4 – Buildings and the Senses

Short Papers

Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin – Associate Lecturer in Early Modern History, Cardiff University and the University of Kent (Canterbury)

Profile: I am a social and cultural historian of early modern London with particular research interests in the built environments and material cultures of artisanal guilds. I completed my PhD at the RCA/V&A in 2013 and have since acted as Associate Lecturer in Early Modern History at the Universities of Cardiff and Kent (Canterbury). In September I will take up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Sensory experimentation and regulation in the early modern London guild hall

Livery halls in early modern London were highly complex built environments through which guilds regulated the craft and trade, socialised and memorialised members, tested material quality and demonstrated innovatory workshop practices. This paper will argue that within this institutional artisanal context, sensory experiences were both unusually significant and hard to control. Though guild buildings were sites of corporate governance and civic conviviality, activities which necessarily required close regulation of unwanted sounds, sights and smells from the city, these structures were also understood to be working environments; spaces in which the sensory expertise of craftsmen (specifically visual perception and touch) might be demonstrated to broad civic audiences. As a professional grouping whose skill lay in the bodily manipulation of materials, craftsmen in London were peculiarly sensitive to the value and complexities of sensory experiences.

Using archival records, including company court minutes, account books and building plans, and collections of guild owned manuscripts of workshop ‘secrets’, this paper will reveal that the regulation of sensory experiences within guild buildings became a matter of particular concern to company authorities from the mid-sixteenth century. As company halls were adapted and rebuilt across the City of London – projects funded and undertaken by master craftsmen of the guild – the question of which noises, sights and scents were appropriate for the guild hall became an issue of increasing urgency.


Kate Baker – Principal Lecturer, Portsmouth School of Architecture

Belinda Mitchell – Senior Lecturer, Portsmouth School of Architecture

Bodies, doors and thresholds

Doors: twist, turn push, pull, open, close.

We are interested in exploring how we walk through, understand and experience space.

We are investigating our bodily movement through space, the confines that architecture provides and how that affects those movements. We have approached this through an inter-disciplinary discussion between an architect, interior designer/visual artist and sports scientist by examining the many ways that there are to open, walk through and close a door.  Through looking closely at an architectural element that is present in nearly all buildings we hope to identify what movements we make and how our bodies respond to situations where space is limited by the confines of a building.

This project examines our bodily engagement with architecture and how we can map and measure it.  It will evidence our research which has been through filming people negotiating space by observing how they walk through from a small confined place (lobby) to a larger one (studio).  The investigation is through an experiment set up in conjunction with sport science, which particularly focused on measuring the relationship between our arm reach and door, leg movement, hand movement, foot movement and relationship of body to door.

In May 2014 we will extend and develop our research through engaging with a Belgium dance company, Promenades Blanches.  We will be working at Eastleigh, The Point, to explore how we journey through space, we will particularly focus on our experiences of engaging with doors and threshold; automatic doors, pushing, pulling, opening, closing, and our rhythm and pace as we walk through.  We are interested in how our bodies engage and interact with the built environment.  This presentation will build on previous research and open out the results of working with dancers for discussion.


Richard McClary – PhD student, University of Edinburgh

Profile: Richard McClary enrolled in the Islamic Art module of the Asian Art Diploma at SOAS in London in 2010. This was followed by a Masters in Islamic Art and Archaeology at SOAS in 2011. Richard is currently writing up his PhD thesis at Edinburgh University. It focuses on the development of Saljuq architecture in Anatolia during the late 12th century, with a particular focus on the synthesis of the newly emerging style and the working methods of the craftsmen responsible. He is also interested in the early Islamic architecture of India, particularly the Hindu temple spoila mosques of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Buildings that Speak: Epigraphy, Architecture and the Audience in Medieval Anatolia

As well as defining functional volumetric space, the monumental buildings of the Rūm Saljuqs in Anatolia feature a wide array of epigraphic scripts. These project a message of temporal power and religious piety into the urban setting and in the case of minarets out into the broader landscape beyond.

The combination of written words and structural form created a more specific mode of dialogue with the subject population than the structural mass alone could. By creating buildings that speak, the patron and the craftsman of medieval Anatolia were able to create long lasting records of how the dynasty wished to be perceived. Victors may write the history books but these witnesses are incorruptible.

This paper focuses primarily on two early thirteenth century CE structures in Sivas, the minaret of the Great Mosque and the hospital of ‘Izz al-Dīn Kay Kāwūs I. In addition, a wide array of examples from across the region and beyond are used to support the argument. The aim is to demonstrate how epigraphic elements reinforced and gave definition to the physical structure as well as allowed the viewer to interact with the building on a deeper and more conscious level.

Until recently scholarship has focused on the epigraphy, with little regard for the building, or vice versa. By attempting to integrate multiple aspects of the building as well as the urban context, a clearer understanding of both the intentions of the patron and the coeval referent’s reception of the buildings may be developed.


Session 5 – Objects and Buildings

Long papers

Niklas Eriksson – PhD student, Maritime Archaeological Research Institute (MARIS), Södertörn University, Sweden

Profile: Niklas Eriksson is a PhD student in Archaeology at Södertörn University, Sweden. He was formerly employed as a curator and diving archaeologist at the National Maritime Museum in Sweden. His research focuses on shipwrecks as buildings and the use of space onboard ships.  

Being-in-the fluit: space on board Early Modern merchant ships

During the Seventeenth century The Netherlands formed Sweden’s prime trading partner. Communications and transportation of goods and people were facilitated with fluits, the most common merchant shiptype during this period. Fluits were fast and easy to built and could be manned with small crews, which cut shipping costs to a minimum. But despite the fact that thousands of more or less identical ships were built, not much is known about their physical appearance and arrangement of space today. They were so common that they became invisible.

It goes without saying that all fluits did not reach destination. Irrespective of why they wrecked the cold brackish water of the Baltic Sea offers ideal conditions for preservation of organic material, due to the absence of the wood eating shipworm. Many of these ill-fated ships still remain virtually intact at the seabed today.

In recent years several well-preserved wrecks of fluits have been discovered and archaeologically surveyed. These wrecks may be pieced together into more or less complete environments in which early modern everyday life took place. The wrecks thus provide insights in practices and routines, trivial doings such as cooking, eating, sleeping and answering natures call. The study of wrecks may thus contribute with a new understanding of life onboard the most iconic trading vessel of the ‘Golden Age’. One that contrasts to the popular picture of a sailor’s life.


Julian Bowsher – Senior Archaeologist, Museum of London Archaeology

Profile: Since joining MOLA in the mid 1980s Julian Bowsher has focused on the archaeology and history of the Tudor and Stuart period. The discovery and excavation of the Rose theatre in 1989 was a milestone in ‘Shakespearean archaeology’ and Julian has pioneered its study, bringing together archaeologists, scholars and actors. Julian has published numerous books, articles, reports and reviews. He has lectured extensively both here and abroad, and appeared in the media, promoting ‘Shakespearean archaeology’.

Patrons, players and playgoers in the London playhouses of the 16th and 17th centuries: The archaeological contribution

Archaeology is a fairly recent arrival on the ‘Shakespearean stage’, but the 25 years of excavating the London playhouses has produced a vast body of evidence. Evidence for the buildings to be sure, but also evidence for assigning function within these buildings. Where were the management, actors and audiences located and what was their own function and interaction ? There is evidence for careful building that invited the audiences, we know about monies collected. We now know more about the acting space – the stage – how it was used and developed, along with costume, props and special effects. We know what the audience ate, drank and smoked as well as their relationship to the stage. We can also now put an array of documentary theatre records into physical context. This paper about specific relationships within unique buildings over a short period of time in the 16th and 17th century.


Short Papers

Ruth Nugent – PhD Student, University of Chester

Profile: Ruth Nugent is engaged in an archaeological Leverhulme-funded doctoral study entitled Death and Burial in Five English Cathedrals, at the University of Chester (UK). Her research explores how architectural spaces within cathedrals have been choreographed as repositories of death and memory over the longue durée. Cathedrals as performative spaces of death and memory are of particular interest to her. 

Micro-Theatres in English Cathedrals: corporeal convergences between the living and dead

While cathedral archaeology has tended to focus on the evolution of the building, studies of their funerary monuments have long centred on typologies of effigies, cadavers, busts, and biographical epitaphs as indices of status and belief. Yet the intersection between the built environment of the cathedral, and the shifting terrain of the dead within it, is rarely engaged beyond the role of burials and monuments as relative dating devices for phases of cathedral construction. How the macro and micro architecture of the building both defined and facilitated dynamics between generations of living and dead bodies is ripe for exploration.

Taking a longue durée approach, this paper presents a variety of pre- and post-reformation examples of funerary ‘micro-theatres’ inside English cathedrals. It focuses on how the built mortuary environment could be used as a performance space for encountering the corporeality of the dead, specifically their physical remains and material representations. At micro-level, this includes monuments built as miniature ‘theatres’ to present the effigial dead in tableaux, and ‘actor-audience’ relationships in discrete performative ‘buildings’ of the dead such as chantry chapels and shrines. At macro level, it addresses the cathedral as an evolving place of mortuary theatre, not at the point of origin (i.e. the funeral or monument installation) but through the accumulation, integration, and in some cases, ruination of these micro-theatres and the bodies they staged.


Jude Jones – Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton

Masques of Piety:  Protestant liturgy and acts of theatre in the early modern English parish church

The post-Reformation English medieval parish church was essentially a ritual performance space which, having jettisoned the Catholic mass, was no longer fit for purpose. The nature of Protestant liturgy demanded new spatial and bodily configurations which not only required new furniture and audio-visual arrangements but also new performative methodologies. Moreover the new rituals had to be implemented over time through a shared clerical and congregational understanding of them. In this respect comparisons can be made regarding the simultaneous development of Tudor and Jacobean drama, its theatrical fittings and spaces which help to throw light on the ways in which religious performance developed in English parishes.

While recognising the differences in the nature of dramatic and ritual intent, this paper explores the fascinating relationships between early modern dramatic and religious performance and the veiled but shared resonances which their spatial and architectural forms elicit.


Freya Massey – PhD Student, The University of Sheffield

Profile: Freya Massey is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, researching special deposits and ritual activity in vernacular housing in post-medieval England. Her research interests are centred on later medieval and post-medieval Europe, and primarily focus on the roles and changeable values of material culture and constructed space.

Ritualisation and Reappropriation: deposits and concealments of everyday objects within the Early Modern house.

The study of objects which have been recovered from hidden or concealed locations within early modern domestic buildings reveals a commonality of the use of otherwise ordinary or unremarkable everyday items which were newly accorded a ritual function. These objects range from shoes and clothing to tools and tablewares, and many display a level of wear or breakage which indicates that they were at the end of their use-life when they were deposited. Additionally, assessments of the locations within the house where the items werefound indicates a focus on the more secure and structural elements of the building, rather than those which were open and vulnerable. The value and purpose of these deposits is inextricable tied up with attitudes and social structures associated with domestic space.

The number and diversity of objects utilised in this practice and the evidence of their long-term use prior to concealment highlights some of the issues related to our understanding of the practice. With such a broad range of items appropriated in this way, it is possible to perceive that the value that is held to be inherent in these items does not derive from their material or original function, but in their prolonged use within the household and by its inhabitants. Therefore, the act of deliberately placing these objects within the fabric of the home is suggestive of the occupants acknowledging and maintaining a relationship between the material domestic world and the architectural environment which enables and preserves it.


Scott Miller – PhD Student, Northwestern University

Guiding Bodies in the Gloriette of Hesdin

In January and February of 1432, Colard le Veleur, painter and valet-de-chambre to Philip the Good of Burgundy, repaired and added fittings and decorations in the gloriette at the duke’s castle of Hesdin.  Ducal account books recount the construction of several engiens d’esbattement, entertaining machines that slapped, wetted, and blew flour into the faces of people who drew too close.  Other engines squirted water up women’s dresses, while some floors were rigged to swing open, throwing people into sacks of feathers.  A small bridge between two rooms could also be made to collapse, hurdling its occupants into the depths of a nearby pond.  Historians of automata have often considered these machines a haphazard assembly of malicious pranks concocted at the behest of an eccentric or intellectually primitive patron.  The strategic placement of automata behind lures, at certain high-traffic areas of the room such as doorways and windows, as well as under floors, however, suggests a carefully constructed plan.  In this paper I gesture towards a new interpretation of these machines that emphasizes the deliberate nature of their design.  Colard le Veleur’s suite of engines took into account the ways that people would likely react to pranks and navigate the suite of rooms in the Gloriette, assuring that victims were propelled through the whole series of pranks, enacting in the process an overarching comedic narrative.  Furthermore, the design of the pranks interacted thematically with the surrounding hunting landscape, producing a carnivalesque inversion that transformed aristocratic hunters into hunted beasts.


Session 6 – New Approaches to Buildings

Long Papers

Matthew Johnson – Professor of Anthropology/Visiting Professor, Northwestern University/University of Southampton

Profile: Matthew Johnson is Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University.  He is also Visiting Professor at Southampton, where he was Professor and Associate Dean until 2011.  Matthew has written books on castles, landscape, traditional architecture, and archaeological theory.  He is currently working on two books, entitled ‘How Castles Work’ and ‘How Archaeologists Think’.

Evaluating embodied approaches to buildings:  epistemological issues

This paper considers the epistemological issues raised by embodied approaches to buildings.  In other words:  what does a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ interpretation of a building look like?  What are the rules by which this observation qualifies as evidence, but that observation does not?  What sorts of explanation could or should convince, and by what rules could or should we disqualify arguments as speculative or insufficiently evidence-based?  I illustrate my arguments with reference to the well-known ‘battle over Bodiam’, where, I suggest, the articulation of evidence with argument, and the issue of what questions are or are not knowable or testable, needs further critical reflection on all sides of the debate.


Gareth Beale – Research Fellow, Centre of Digital Heritage, University of York

Nicole Beale – PhD Student, University of Southampton

The Afterlife of Basing House in the Digital Imagination

The history of Basing House as it is commonly recounted is overshadowed by the moments in 1645 during which the house was captured by Parliamentarian forces. Following this defeat the remains of the house were made available to local people and the materials were widely used to build and modify local buildings.

Just as the material of the house was recycled by the local community, the void left by the house has also been re-used and creatively re-appropriated by those that have lived during the intervening four centuries. Most recently digital technologies have fundamentally altered the way in which Basing House is represented, experienced and remembered.

This paper will consider the development of Basing House as an imagined place and will explore the role which digital technologies have played in the process of re-invention. Tourist reviews, visitor photographs, documentaries and archaeological documentation all combine to form a unique record of interactions with and interpretations of the site. The paper will examine the creative and at times frictional relationship between the digital and physical experiences of the site and will ask what it feels like to visit the Basing House of the early 21st Century imagination.


Short Papers

Antony Buxton – Tutor in design history and material and domestic culture, University of Oxford

Profile: Antony Buxton lectures on material and domestic culture for Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, and is a co-convenor of the interdisciplinary  InHabit research network exploring relationships between people, objects and spaces. He is currently completing a study of early modern domestic culture based on inventory evidence.

The Discourse of Practice: changing commensal practice in the early modern home

 This paper will argue that a nuanced analysis of the ways in which the body engages with the domestic environment can help to reveal the complexity of changing social relationships and affections. This approach is based on the theory of practice (Bourdieu 1977, 1990) – actions around objects seen as an articulation of agency and the structuring of relationships, and the nature of affections – and borrows from Rapaport (1990) the observation that the modification of spatially defined assemblages of objects is an easier and frequently more subtle way of modifying the social engagement of the household than the structural modification which it may prefigure (Johnson 1993). Drawing on the evidence of seventeenth century probate inventories for the market town of Thame in Oxfordshire, the paper will examine the way in which the apparently structurally pre-determined domestic practice of commensality was modified and relocated, suggesting the negotiation through practice of changing social relationships and allegiances. The paper will also briefly illustrate the way in which a computerised relational database can reveal finely nuanced associations within a dense body of data.


Louisa Minkin – Course Leader MA Fine Art,Central saint Martins, University of the Arts London

Profile: Louisa Minkin is Course Leader for MA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Her work has involved reconstructing objects and spaces from paintings and archival sources. She is a member of Five Years, a collectively organised artists’ project. Awards include the Art Foundation Fellowship in Painting and an Abbey Fellowship at the British School in Rome.

The Study of Saint Jerome: between Desert and Occupation

In painting Jerome conventionally has two sites, two grounds. He moves between the study and the wilderness; sites of occupation and of desertion.  The most famous depiction of Jerome at work is that of Antonello da Messina. Here the study is a contained wooden structure, a kind of physical library where emblems are sorted on shelves and steps and multiple books are open to his gaze. The study itself is situated like an island within the enclave of a cathedral. A shell within a shell. Interiority is all. The desk is an apparatus for mediation. The study is the place of connection.

In 2009 I built a version of Jerome’s study in an East London Warehouse. The study was offered as a site for occupation. Readings, performances and installed works were staged over a two week period. The discussion developed to take shape in a collaborative online work framed against the backdrop of jubilee and riot and the student occupations of 2012.

The construction of the study is part of an ongoing project refiguring objects from paintings; the telescope of Guercino’s Endymion, the Magdalen’s broken necklace and Melencolia’s dress and block and most recently the stones and rocks from Fouquet and Crivelli’s Saint Stephens. The sense is to gain a material understanding of historic ideological spaces and imaging systems in the present.


Catriona Cooper – PhD Student, University of Southampton

Profile: I am a PhD student finishing a thesis exploring lived experience in late medieval buildings through digital technologies. My interests focus on the use of visualisation and auralization in the study of the past and how an approach which combines both technology and theory can be used to further inform our understanding of late medieval buildings. My PhD has been funded through the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Award scheme through which I am partnered with the National Trust.

Moving away from the visual: auralization at Ightham Mote

Medieval studies have embraced digital approaches in many ways: through methods of presentations, digitized archives, computer modelling and 3D ways of seeing. However, these techniques all focus on the visual. Approaches to the senses have been based on archival evidence and discussion of the written experience of the past (see Woolgar 2006).

In this short paper I present a methodology for discussing the acoustical properties of a closed space. Focussing on or case study of Ightham Mote in Kent this paper discusses geometrical acoustic methods of auralizing the Great Hall. I will bring together the results of the survey to discuss the experience of sound in the place and how this can be used alongside our understanding of the experience of sound in a medieval household.


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