UCL Early Medieval Atlas


IoA/BM Seminar Toby Martin

14 November 2017, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

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UCL Inst Archaeology, Room 612

Dr. Toby Martin (University of Oxford): Gender, jewellery and the making of early medieval Europe

Early medieval Europe is well known for its regionally distinctive and elaborate jewellery, and during the 5th to 7th centuries AD an enormous quantity of it was put into women's graves throughout much of present-day Europe. As such, it was not only an everyday aspect of the manner in which many women dressed, but it also possessed significance in terms of how gendered and regional identities were understood for an extended period. The origins of this phenomenon lie in the transition between late Roman and early medieval Europe, and during these few decades what had once been the paraphernalia of the late Roman military became an overwhelmingly feminine mode of attire. Using the largest yet assembled corpus of this material, this paper focuses on the origins of these jewelleries in an attempt to answer why this became such a prevalent and fundamentally gendered behaviour, and what the consequences of this were for the ensuing centuries.