Research Projects

Early Medieval Europe

NunnaministerMy research concentrates on early medieval Europe, especially Anglo-Saxon England, Francia, and Italy from the seventh to ninth centuries as well as aspects of twelfth-century history, and manuscript studies. My principlearea of research is the links between the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England and the Empire of Charlemagne, working primarily with written sources but also with material culture (especially manuscripts, epigraphy and sculpture).

Three major research projects are current: the first is on the Epitaph of Pope Hadrian I, extant in St. Peter's in the Vatican for which a monograph is forthcoming with OUP. I am also PI for a major interdisciplinary research programme on The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain: evidence, memories, inventions sponsored by The Leverhulme Trust that runs from January 2011 to January 2017. I am also PI for a Leverhulme Trust International Network on Insular Manuscripts, AD650–AD850: Networks of Knowledge (2016–19).

I am also General Editor, with Dr Roy Flechner (UCD) of a Routledge/Ashgate series, Studies in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland.

Current Research Projects

  1. Insular Manuscripts AD650-850: Networks of Knowledge
    There are more than extant 500 manuscripts written before c. 850 in Britain or Ireland, or in continental scriptoria that used Anglo-Saxon or Irish script. This project uses this corpus of evidence to examine networks of knowledge in early medieval Europe, and the contribution of English and Irish scholars to intellectual culture in Europe in the age of Charlemagne.
  2. The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain: evidence, memories, inventions.
    A major interdisciplinary research programme sponsored by The Leverhulme Trust on Britain in the first millennium AD, using evidence derived from history, archaeology, historical linguistics, genetics and sociology. The programme runs for 5 years from January 2011– March 2016 (with continued funding until January 2017).
    • A conference on Aliens, Foreigners and Strangers was held at the British Academy on 17 March 2015, and a  book called, Migrants in Medieval England, AD500–1500 is under contract to the Proceedings of the British Academy. A joint Impact of Diasporas event with the Oxford Diasporas Programme was held at The Royal Geographical Society, Kensington, London on 17 September 2015.
    • Collaboration between the Impact of Diasporas team and the Landscape Research Centre have produced 3D photogrammetry projects on the later 5th C Loveden Hill Urn (for the British Museum, Object No.1963,1001.14) which is inscribed with one of the earliest pieces of written English, and the 10th-Century Viking Age Gosforth Cross. See here for teaching resources generated through our Gosforth Cross Project collaboration with Roger Lang, Culture Street, the RSA, and two schools – Richard Cobden Primary, Camden, and Gosforth CE Primary).

3. The Skull of Bede - Discovery of a cast of the skull taken from the tomb of Bede in Durham Cathedral has led to an article, jointly authored with Richard Bailey, in The Antiquaries Journal.  A new exhibition on The Skull of Bede opened at Jarrow Hall: Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum (formerly Bede's World Museum) in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear on 8 September 2015.

4. An interdisciplinary, international project on Charlemagne's Epitaph for Pope Hadrian I, in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge, and the Dipartimento di Energetica, Rome, sponsored by the AHRC. This project has generated an article already published in The Papers of the British School at Rome, 74 (2005), 157-90 and a book entitled Charlemagne and Rome: Alcuin's Epitaph of Pope Hadrian I is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. A volume of papers based on a conference held at the British School at Rome in March 2010 on Old Saint Peter's, Rome was published in 2013 with Cambridge University Press, (co-editors R. McKitterick, J. Osborne and C.M. Richardson).

5. The Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture XIV: East Midlands, with Prof. R.J. Cramp, Durham University, for the British Academy.

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