Dr Alexandra Makin

  • Research Associate (Archaeology)

Biography

I am a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on the AHRC funded 'Unwrapping the Galloway Hoard' project, which is jointly run by the National Museum of Scotland and the University of Glasgow. My focus is the analysis of surviving textiles and skin products within the hoard and researching their wider contexts within hoarding and the early medieval period. 

 

Background

I am a textile archaeologist specialising in early medieval embroidery. I gained my PhD, 'Embroidery and its context in the British Isle and Ireland' from the University of Manchester in 2016. I am also a professionally trained embroiderer, having completed the three-year apprenticeship at the Royal School of Needlework in 1998.

I combine my archaeological and embroidery backgrounds within my academic research. A recent example is the experimental project, the 'St Cuthbert Maniple Recreation', where I reconstructed a section of the early 10th-century maniple, a gold and silk embroidered religious vestment that was discovered in the tomb of St Cuthbert in Durham Cathderal in 1827.

 

Wider Dessemination

I disseminate my work through publications and social media including my YouTube channel: Early Medieval Textiles. I highlight the work of other researchers in my blog: Early Medieval (mostly) Textiles

I have been interviewed for radio and television. I also gives lectures, presentations and runs embroidery workshops for different groups. 

Research interests

I am interested in a wide range of issues and larger research questions regarding early medieval embroidery and textiles. These include technical attributes and what these tell us about production methods; their place in wider early medieval material culture; the networks raw materials and finished products created and maintained; and the women who comissioned, made and used them.

 

Current Research

  • The analysis of textiles and skin products in the Galloway Hoard. This is part of the AHRC funded 'Unwrapping the Galloway Hoard' project run by the National Museum of Scotland and the University of Glasgow.
  • The St Cuthbert Maniple Recreation Project.
  • Sensory Archaeology as a means of exploring early medieval embroidery and textiles.
  • The roles of women in early medieval textile and embroidery culture.
  • Learning processes and innate knowledge in making embroidery and textiles.
  • Embroidery as part of wider early medieval cultures.
  • The cross-over of design motifs in early medieval art, particularly to and from embroidery.
  • Early medieval embroidery stitches.

Grants

2018. St Cuthbert Maniple Recreation Project; Society of Antiquaries, London; Janet Arnold Grant.

Teaching

Victoria and Albert Museum Academy Lecturer

  • Early Medieval: 300-1250, Year Course

Additional information

Academic and professional body membership

  • Royal Historical Society: Fellow
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists: affliate member
  • Royal Archaelogical Institute
  • European Association of Archaeologists
  • Centre International d'etude des Textiles Aciens (CIETA)
  • EuroWeb
  • Society for Medieval Archaeology
  • Early Textiles Study Group
  • Finds Research Group
  • Archaeological Leather Group

Consultancies

  • Norwich Castle: Royal Palace Reborn Project
  • Technical embroidery: the Bayeux Tapestry
  • Ad Gefrin Visitor Experience 

Peer Reviewer

  • Archaeological Textile Review
  • Textile History Journal
  • Medieval Clothing and Textiles Journal