Staff Profile:Professor Roberta Gilchrist
- Professor Roberta Gilchrist
- Job Title:
- Research Dean
- Areas of Interest:
- Medieval and Historical Archaeology
- Gender and Social Archaeology
- Medieval Material Culture
- Burial Archaeology
- Monastic and Church Archaeology
- Buildings Archaeology
- Research groups / Centres:
Medieval Social Archaeology, Diet, Health & Life Course
My research addresses medieval social archaeology, with particular focus on gender and belief. I have published widely on the archaeology of medieval burial and religious communities (nunneries, monasteries, hospitals, cathedrals), and I am particularly intrigued by the relationship between Christianity and medieval magic. I held a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2007-10), to consider archaeological approaches to ageing and the life course in medieval England. The resulting book was published in 2012 by Boydell : 'Medieval Life: Archaeology and the Life Course'. Read an interview with Roberta about her book 'Medieval Life: Archaeology and the Life Course' (PDF 374KB).
I was voted 'Archaeologist of the Year 2016' in the Current Archaeology Awards, in which 14,000 members of the public voted. (http://www.archaeology.co.uk/press/press-release-roberta-gilchrist.htm)
I recently wrote and presented an episode of the BBC Radio 3 series 'The Rise and Fall of the British Castle', speaking on 'The British Castle: A Woman's Place'. To download the podcast or listen online, please click here.
I have recently published the first stage of a major project on Glastonbury Abbey with Dr Cheryl Green, in partnership with the Trustees of Glastonbury Abbey, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2009-13). We fully analysed the archive of antiquarian excavations that took place between 1904 and 1979 (36 seasons). (https://www.reading.ac.uk/archaeology/research/Projects/arch-RG-Glastonbury.aspx)
The results of the project have been published by the Society of Antiquaries in a 500-page, colour monograph Glastonbury Abbey: archaeological investigations 1904-79 and the dataset has been made publically accessible through the Archaeology Data Service.
The results of the archive project will also reach new audiences through a follow-on project funded by the AHRC (1 Oct 2015- 30 Sept 2016). Professor Roberta Gilchrist and Dr Rhi Smith will work with the Trustees of Glastonbury Abbey to implement a new interpretation strategy that will connect the archaeology more directly to the spiritual and legendary significance of the abbey.
A film featuring this research and funded by the AHRC was launched at the end of February 2014. This film examines the new evidence unearthed by the project and how researchers have worked with the Abbey Museum, conservators and the public to explore the history of this rich and extraordinary site. To watch the film please click here.
Throughout my career, I have been engaged outside academia in archaeological conservation and the presentation of archaeology to the public. I was Archaeologist to Norwich Cathedral from 1993 to 2005 and worked closely with Museum of London Archaeology for 20 years, as academic advisor on post-excavation projects on several monasteries. I have been a Trustee of Glastonbury Abbey since 2009.
I presented two series of archaeology programmes on Channel Four (‘Down to Earth’), wrote and presented a series of videos for English Heritage, and have appeared on television and radio programmes including with Eddie Izzard, in ‘Speed Archaeology’ (no archaeology was harmed in the making of this programme!) View Speed Archaeology with Eddie Izzard on YouTube.
I supervise doctoral students engaged in a broad range of research in historical archaeology. Completed theses include: religion and multi-culturalism in Crusader Famugusta (Borowski); multi-vocality and Glastonbury Abbey (Smith); the medieval buildings of Cordoba (Lenton); Anglo-Saxon settlements and belief systems (Knox); masculinity and the palaces of Henry VIII (Goulding); gender and ethnicity in the convents of early modern Ecuador (Nimmo); Native American burial practices in 17th-century New England (Vitelli); isotopic analysis of medieval diet (Lakin); medieval and early modern households in Norwich (King); phenomenological approaches to medieval rural settlement (Altenberg); the medieval Quarr stone industry (Bishop now Green); Hampton Court Palace (Foyle).
My former PhD students have found employment in universities (King: Nottingham; Smith: Reading, Lenton: Australian National University; Vitelli: Ashmolean, Oxford; Knox: Reading) commercial archaeology (Green: Context One) and as heritage managers (Foyle: World Monuments Fund; Goulding: National Trust; Altenberg: Swedish Heritage Board).
I was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2008 and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2002. I previously served as President of the Society for Medieval Archaeology (2004-7), a member of the Council and Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a member of the Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee for English Heritage.
I am on the board of trustees for the journal Antiquity and the editorial boards of 'Social Archaeology' and 'Current Swedish Archaeology'. I was on the Archaeology sub-panel for RAE 2008 and REF 2014. I was fellow at Wadham College, Oxford (2009), and St Cross College, Oxford (2010), and the Dalrymple Lecturer at the University of Glasgow (2011).
My major publications include:
'Glastonbury Abbey: archaeological investigations 1904-79' (with C. Green, 2015)
'Medieval Life: Archaeology and the Life Course’ (2012)
"Magic for the dead? The archaeology of magic in later medieval burials" in 'Medieval Archaeology' 52 (2008), which was winner of the Martyn Jope Prize;
'Requiem: the Medieval Monastic Cemetery in Britain' (with B. Sloane, 2005), which won the British Archaeological Award for Best Scholarly Publication (2004-6);
'Norwich Cathedral Close: the Evolution of the English Cathedral Landscape' (2005), which was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice USA,
'Gender and Archaeology: Contesting the Past' (1999), 'Gender and Material Culture: the archaeology of religious women' (1994), and
'Contemplation and Action: the other monasticism' (1995).
YNumber of items: 27.
- Gilchrist, R. and Green, C. (2015) Glastonbury Abbey: archaeological investigations 1904-79. Society of Antiquaries of London, London, pp504. ISBN 9780854313006
- Gilchrist, R. (2015) Transforming medieval beliefs: the significance of bodily resurrection to medieval burial rituals. In: Rasmus Brandt, J., Ingvaldsen, H. and Prusac, M. (eds.) Death and changing rituals: function and meaning in ancient funerary practices. Studies in Funerary Archaeology . Oxbow, Oxford. ISBN 9781782976394
- Gilchrist, R. (2014) Monastic and church archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 43. pp. 235-250. ISSN 0084-6570 doi: 10.1146/annurev-anthro-102313-025845
- Gilchrist, R. (2013) Courtenay Arthur Ralegh Radford. In: Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British Academy, XII. British Academy, pp. 341-358. ISBN 9780197265512
- Gilchrist, R. (2013) The materiality of medieval heirlooms: from biographical to sacred objects. In: Hahn, H. P. and Weiss, H. (eds.) Mobility, meaning and transformations of things: shifting contexts of material culture through time and space. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 170-182. ISBN 9781842175255
- Gilchrist, R. (2012) Medieval life: archaeology and the life course. Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge. ISBN 9781843837220
- Phillips, T. J. and Gilchrist, R. (2012) Inclusive, accessible, archaeology. In: Skeates, R., McDavid, C. and Carman, J. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology. Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology . Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 673-693. ISBN 9780199237821
- Augenti, A. and Gilchrist, R. (2012) Life, death and memory. In: Carver, M. and Klapste, J. (eds.) The Archaeology of Medieval Europe. Volume 2: Twelfth to Sixteenth Centuries AD. Aarhus University Press, pp. 494-515. ISBN 9788779342910
- Gilchrist, R. (2011) The intimacy of death: interpreting gender and the life course in medieval and early modern burials. In: Beaudry, M. C. and Symonds, J. (eds.) Interpreting the early modern world: transatlantic perspectives. Springer, New York, USA, pp. 159-173. ISBN 9780387707587
- Gilchrist, R. and Reynolds, A. (2009) ‘The Elephant in the Room’ and other tales of medieval archaeology. In: Gilchrist, R. and Reynolds, A. (eds.) Reflections: 50 Years of Medieval Archaeology, 1957-2007. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monographs (30). Maney, Leeds, pp. 1-7. ISBN 978 1 906540 71 5
- Gilchrist, R. (2009) Medieval archaeology and theory: a disciplinary leap of faith. In: Gilchrist, R. and Reynolds, A. (eds.) Reflections: 50 Years of Medieval Archaeology, 1957-2007. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monographs (30). Maney, Leeds, pp. 385-408. ISBN 9781906540715
- Gilchrist, R. and Reynolds, A., eds. (2009) Reflections: 50 Years of Medieval Archaeology, 1957-2007. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monographs, 30. Maney, Leeds, pp518. ISBN 978 1 906540 71 5
- Gilchrist, R. (2009) Rethinking later medieval masculinity: the male body in death. In: Sayer, D. and Williams, H. (eds.) Mortuary Practices and Social Identities in the Middle Ages. Exeter University Press, Exeter, pp. 236-252. ISBN 9780859898317
- Gilchrist, R. (2009) Sex and gender. In: Cunliffe, B., Gosden, C. and Joyce, R.A. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 1029-1047. ISBN 9780199271016
- Gilchrist, R., Allum, C. and Astin, T. (2008) Glastonbury Abbey chapter house. Medieval Archaeology, 52. pp. 358-363. ISSN 0076-6097
- Gilchrist, R. (2008) Magic for the dead? The archaeology of magic in later medieval burials. Medieval Archaeology, 52. pp. 119-159. ISSN 0076-6097 doi: 10.1179/174581708x335468
- Gilchrist, R. (2008) Nurturing the dead: medieval women as family undertakers. In: Monton-Subias, S. and Sanchez-Romero, M. (eds.) Engendering Social Dynamics: the Archaeology of Maintenance Activities. British Archaeological Report International Series, Oxford, pp. 41-47. ISBN 1407303457
- Gilchrist, R. (2006) Fornleifafræði og lífshlaup: Tími, aldur og kyngervi. In: Kristjánsdóttir, S. (ed.) Kynjafornleifafræði. Ólafía Rit Fornleifafræðingafélags Íslands I, Reykjavik, pp. 77-96.
- Gilchrist, R. (2005) Cuidando a los muertos: las mujeres medievales en las pampa fúnebres familiares (Taking care to the Dead: the medieval women in the family funeral Pompas ). Treballs d'Arqueologie, 11. pp. 51-72. ISSN 1134-9263
- Gilchrist, R. (2005) Introduction: scales and voices in world historical archaeology. World Archaeology, 37 (3). pp. 329-336. ISSN 0043-8243 doi: 10.1080/00438240500168335
- Gilchrist, R. (2005) Norwich Cathedral Close: the Evolution of the English Cathedral Landscape. Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, pp294.
- Gilchrist, R. (2005) Requiem for a lost age. British Archaeology, 84. pp. 28-33.
- Gilchrist, R. and Sloane, B. (2005) Requiem: the Medieval Monastic Cemetery in Britain. Museum of London Archaeological Service, London.
- Gilchrist, R. (2005) Scales and voices in World Historical Archaeology. World Archaeology, 37 (3). pp. 329-36. ISSN 0043-8243 doi: 10.1080/00438240500168335
- Gilchrist, R. (2004) Archaeology and the life course: a time and age for gender. In: Meskell, L. and Preucel, R.W. (eds.) A Companion to Social Archaeology. Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 142-160.
- Gilchrist, R. (2003) 'Dust to Dust': revealing the Reformation dead. In: Gaimster, D. and Gilchrist, R. (eds.) The Archaeology of Reformation 1480-1580. Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, Maneys, pp. 399-414.
- Gilchrist, R. (2003) Introduction: towards a social archaeology of warfare. World Archaeology, 35 (1). pp. 1-6. ISSN 0043-8243 doi: 10.1080/0043824032000078045
- BA, D Phil (York); FBA, FSA