Undergraduate students, Archaeology, University of Southampton
Survey Work at Old Sarum Castle, near Salisbury
Over the course of 5 working days six student taking module ARCH2024 surveyed the site of Old Sarum Castle, near Salisbury, working as two teams, using high-tech survey equipment (total stations and RTK GPS). The site is unique in the area, in that it is clearly the highest point for miles around and it is also a multi-period site that has been occupied in the Iron Age, then by the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Normans and on into the later medieval period, eventually becoming a rotten borough as it was superseded by modern Salisbury. The data we collected was used to produce our final survey reports. But we also experienced the site in many different ways; this poster will explore these different aspects of our experiences, particularly the contrasts between the supposedly ‘objective’ survey data and our more ‘subjective’ daily contact with the site:
- Before even visiting Old Sarum we experienced the site via textual sources, Ordnance Survey maps and LiDAR data, allowing us to visualise it via 2D and 3D maps that we created using GIS software.
- The availability of high quality (0.5m) LiDAR data led to different strategy, compared to all previous surveys carried out as part of this module. Instead of having to close contour survey the site, the two teams were able to concentrate on the archaeological, topographic details, as well as the building remains in the inner and outer bailey.
- The two teams worked in different areas of the large site, had different experiences of it, met different members of the public, but still interacted with each other via hand-held portable radios. One group worked in the inner bailey, where access is controlled by English Heritage staff and members of the public were more likely to be tourists and engage with members of the team. The other team worked in the outer bailey, where access is not controlled and the area is extremely popular with local dog walkers; awareness of the history and archaeology of the site was generally ‘low’ among this audience. The division of the teams to work in the separate Castle area and the Cathedral area reflected the historical tensions at the site, that led eventually to the Bishop relocating the Cathedral to what is now modern Salisbury.
- The exposed nature of the site led to experiencing the site in varying weather conditions, including the widely reported ‘day of smog’ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-26862039). We were able to track and record these conditions, via our photographs and fieldwork blogs. Adverse weather may have contributed to the abandonment of the Cathedral at Old Sarum, as well as a lack of access to drinking water.
Eirini – Amalia Klimopoulou
PhD Student, University of Aegean
Undergraduate student, National Technical University of Athens
The Church of St. George The Catholic Or The Madona“Foritissa”, In the Medieval Settlement of Palaiohora in Aegina Island
During the Byzantine era, Aegina constituted an independent archbishopric which was a definitive factor in the great church building activity in Palaiohora. Today there are 35 churches, although according to tradition, there were 365, one for each day of the year. In the medieval settlement of Palaiohora there is an important monument which is dated in the late 13th and situated in the centralorum .Typologically belongs to the category of the byzantine single aisled vaulted church with transveral sanctuary. Refering to the construction is made by rubble masonry and at the entrance there is a Latin dedicatory inscription. Moreover a coat of arms is being added after Palaiohora’s catastrophy by the pirate Barbarossa in 1537. initially the church was dedicated to Madona “foritissa” due to the fact that it was located in the forum of the settlement, while during the venetian domination was renamed as St George the catholic because of the transportation placement and storage of St George’s head in the monument’s inner . The importance of this church is undoubtful considering the fact that was located in the administrative, economical and social center of the settlement. The monument is restored and in it’s internal are saved fragmented frescos as notetable representative samples of the local aeginian style.
PhD Student, University of Southampton
The houses of Fusṭāṭ: beyond importation and influence
Fusṭāṭ, Egypt’s first capital under Muslim rule, was in the 10th century AD at its height, possibly the most populous city in the Islamic world. Entire neighbourhoods of abandoned houses from this city, now within modern Cairo, have been revealed through a series of excavations from 1912 to the present. Previous studies of these houses (dating to the 9th-12th century) have focused on typology and chronology, while explanation has been limited to hypothesized foreign influences, providing little acknowledgement of the agency of the inhabitants themselves.
Since the publication of Ostrasz’s (1977) summary of the architectural evidence from Fusṭāṭ several studies of documentary sources relating to Fusṭāṭ’s domestic architecture and urban life have been published. These prompt a re-phrasing of the architectural forms in terms used by the city’s medieval inhabitants, as well as providing evidence for the objects (e.g. furniture, textiles and lighting) that helped transform bricks and mortar into lived spaces. Combining these sources with architectural remains provides a basis to explore the conceptualisation and social function of domestic space.
I propose that 3D visualisation offers a flexible medium to explore the combination of archaeological and historical evidence to create multiple interpretations of domestic space. It can be used to explore both uncertainty in the data, as well as the inherit flexibility of the material culture itself.
Undergraduate (English Literature), University of Sheffield
Purification, carnival and the wool industry in the Cotswolds.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins were as crimson, they shall be made white as snow: though they were red like scarlet, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18, Geneva Bible)
The wool industry was extremely important in Medieval and Early Modern England, and few regions benefitted from it more than the Cotswolds, an area that now spans six counties (but is mostly in Gloucestershire) and which was famous for its wool. An emerging class of wool merchants funded lavish building projects in the local towns, resulting in the area’s famous ‘wool churches’, the most spectacular of which is St. Mary’s church in Fairford, funded by John Tame and his son Edmund. Within the context of the wool industry, and the culture it funded, I will be looking at historically and architecturally significant sites around the Gloucestershire Cotswolds. I will examine how the church functions as a heterotopia, and the various purification rituals that occur at the door. Also, I will consider the layered landscape of the Cotswolds and how architecture, which is a product of different time periods, moments and events, would be experienced as a dynamic, fluid space. When discussing sites such as Hailes church and events such as Elizabeth I’s 1597 visit to Sudeley castle, elements of the carnivalesque and the grotesque will be examined. I will look at what performance allows, how the performance space subverts social norms, moving from the pure to the potentially profane.
PhD Candidate, London Consortium, Birkbeck, University of London / Associate Research Fellow, Faculty of Architecture, University of Damascus
Structures of Light: Architecture and the Body in Premodern Islam
This study traces ideas about space, order, and the human body that are relevant to architecture, by searching non-architectural sources for insights into premodern Islamic architecture. It focuses on a manuscript written by an eminent Sufi Damascene scholar, ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī (1641–1731), entitled The Key of Openings Concerning the Niche of the Body, the Glass of the Soul, and the Light of the Spirit. This hitherto unpublished manuscript sheds light on a philosophical-mystical debate over the nature of human reality spanning five centuries. The debate revolves around a famous philosophical treatise, Hayākil al-Nūr (Structures of Light), by the renowned Illuminationist philosopher Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī (d. 1191). Rather than starting with the conventional Platonic-Aristotelian dualities, al-Suhrawardī presented an understanding of all entities in the world as being constituted by progressive densifications of light. He identified stages in the process of universal densification which correspond to “structures,” hayākil, hence the title of his book. The architectural term hayākil literally means “bodies” and “temples.” The study argues that the human reality — consisting of the body, soul, and spirit — provided a fertile ground for complex philosophical and mystical conceptions concerning space, light, structure, and order; all being key elements that are at the core of the understanding of architectural thinking in premodern Islam. Etymological analysis has conceptual merits here. The central importance of this study lies in the fact that its topic of the body and architecture is of growing interest in the West, yet has not been examined in the Islamic context.
PhD Student, University of Southampton
Fresh cadaver to skeletal matter: the Cluniacs and the treatment of the dead
The eleventh century Cluniac customaries prescribe how the dying, the dead body and the monk’s memory should be physically and spiritually treated and commemorated. However, whilst these texts sought to regulate the on-going care of the deceased’s soul, the long-term management of the physical body is textually absent. Did the customs neglect to consider this matter because it was thought that with appropriate provision for the soul, the physical body was no longer important? The treatment of disturbed remains from discrete grave contexts was examined in three French and English Cluniac monasteries. The osteological evidence revealed a varied range of strategies for their manipulation and management, demonstrating that they were not simply treated as insignificant objects disembodied of all meaning and detached from the funerary proceedings. Rather, through their exhumation, handling and re-integration, they acquired a new significance and role in the context of the various Cluniac funerary landscapes.