The Archaeological, Landscape and Historical Context of the Galloway Hoard

The Archaeological, Landscape and Historical Context of the Galloway Hoard

Deadline for applications: Friday, 7 June 2019

Funding details: Stipend at UKRI rate (£15,009 for 2019-20) and tuition fees (International students will need to pay the difference between Home/EU and International tuition fees).

Industry partners: Historic Environment Scotland and National Museums of Scotland

Keywords: Viking, Scotland, Irish Sea, Galloway, Silver, Hoard, Archaeology, History

Summary

This interdisciplinary project will examine the social, political and economic environment and context of Galloway during the Viking Age (c.800-1100). A reassessment is long overdue, particularly in light of the discovery of the Galloway hoard in 2014.

It is jointly funded by Glasgow University and Historic Environment Scotland, with the support of the National Museums of Scotland.

The Galloway hoard is the richest collection of rare and even unique Viking-age artefacts ever found in Britain and Ireland. More than a hundred artefacts were recovered, including Hiberno-Norse broad-band arm-rings, silver ingots, Anglo-Saxon metalwork, a silver gilt cup, and expensive textiles. It was deposited in the early tenth century, at a key point in the formation of the medieval kingdoms of Scotland and England, and in the context of the temporary collapse of the Hiberno-Norse kingdom of Dublin in 902. Galloway was situated on the periphery of these three polities, but we know very little about it in this crucial period.

The artefacts of the Galloway hoard are the subject of ongoing research at the National Museums of Scotland. This PhD will explore the context in which it was deposited, at local, regional and international levels. The project will undertake original research, with a particular emphasis on the modern council area of Dumfries and Galloway. What was the pattern of ecclesiastical and secular settlement here at the time that the hoard was deposited? And how does this polity fit into the broader socio-political context of the greater Irish Sea region at this time? In order to provide chronological depth, the study will cover the period from AD800-1100.

The project will begin with a literature review and search through online databases, including CANMORE and local site records, identifying previous research and approaches, contemporary sites, and comparable hoards. Primary documentary and map evidence will also be researched, with a view to identifying late survivals of early administrative units and boundaries. GIS will be used in the reconstruction of the administrative and settlement landscape of Viking-Age Galloway, before this evidence is placed in its broader regional contexts.

However, the project will be iterative, informed by the research strengths of the successful candidate and the results of early project research. The student will also spend time at the NMS, helping to prepare an exhibition on the Galloway hoard. This project will also work with the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme, assisting with partnership projects and providing project-related presentations. Given the huge level of public interest in the hoard, there is also potential for other substantial public engagement.

Project Team

The lead supervisor will be Dr Stephen Harrison, Lecturer in Archaeology at Glasgow. His research focuses on early Viking activity in Britain and Ireland. The second supervisor will be Dr John Raven, Deputy Head of Casework (Ancient Monuments) West, at Historic Environment Scotland (HES). He also acts as advisor to the board of the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme, and will act as liaison between the PhD student and this group. The project will also be supported by Dr Martin Goldberg, Principal Curator, Medieval Archaeology and History, at the National Museums of Scotland, who is co-ordinating research on the Galloway Hoard at the Museum.

The student will be based at the University of Glasgow, where he or she will play a full role in the postgraduate life of Archaeology, and engage with the broader research community of the University, particularly those who engage with early medieval Scotland and the Insular World. Appropriate training will be provided in all necessary skills as the project develops. There will be regular contact with Dr Raven at HES, and the student will engage with its archive, particularly in the early stages of the project. The student will also spend a period working with Dr Martin Goldberg of the National Museums of Scotland, helping to prepare an exhibition on the Galloway Hoard.

Eligibility

This studentship is open to UK, EU and International citizens. Tuition fees are covered only at the Home/EU rate. 

Person Specification

Applicants should demonstrate the following:

Academic Qualifications

  • Undergraduate degree (minimum upper second class or equivalent) in archaeology, history, or a closely-related discipline
  • Postgraduate degree (minimum ‘merit’ or equivalent) in archaeology, history, or a closely related discipline. Alternatively, students who do not hold a postgraduate degree may be eligible if they can demonstrate evidence of sustained professional or research interest that is of direct relevance to the project topic. This latter category includes postgraduate students planning to complete a course in the current academic year.

Experience

Essential

  • University modules / courses (undergraduate or postgraduate) in one or more of the following areas:
    • Viking archaeology or history (particularly of Britain and/or Ireland)
    • early medieval Scotland
    • early medieval Ireland
    • Anglo-Saxon England
    • landscape archaeology and/or material culture with a strong early medieval emphasis or equivalent.
  • Experience in undertaking research in any of the above areas

Desirable

  • GIS skills
  • Experience working with early medieval primary sources (documents, landscape and / or material culture)
  • Driving License, or other method of self-transport to remote and rural areas with no public transport

Skills

  • Ability to engage with diverse evidence sets (e.g. documents, landscape, material culture etc)
  • Willingness to learn new skills relevant to project
  • Self-motivation and good organisational skills
  • Ability to engage with constructive criticism
  • Ability to communicate effectively to different audiences

Application Process

In the first instance, prospective applicants should contact Dr Stephen Harrison (stephen.harrison@glasgow.ac.uk) to discuss their eligibility for the project. Applicants may submit applications via email to stephen.harrison@glasgow.ac.uk by Friday, 7 June 2019.