Current Students

Tessi Loeffelmann

My PhD addresses questions of mobility linked to observable changes in funerary rites in early medieval northern Europe. The movement of people during this period is a topic of debate in archaeology and various attempts have been made in the last centuries to describe these movements and the ensuing contact. Evidence for migration and colonisation in eastern England during this time is traditionally predicated on changes in material culture including funerary rites. In this context, the late 4th/5th/6th centuries witnessed the reintroduction of cremation rituals and furnished burial. This has often been explained in terms of the migration of Germanic-speaking groups into eastern England. Later, in the 10th century, parts of Britain were colonised again by the Norse, marked by changes in funerary rites, with rare examples of cremation and the brief return of furnished burial in parts of England. Thus, questions on mobility are inextricably linked to the reintroduction of cremation burials. This project uses new methods of strontium isotope analysis on cremated individuals, remedying the widespread view that cremation burials are a poor source of information. It will tackle questions of mobility, identity and agency, facilitating a new understanding of connections between early medieval Britain and the Continent.

Supervisory Team: Dr Janet Montgomery, Archaeology (Durham), Dr Sarah Semple, Archaeology (Durham).

Start Date: October 2016