Funded PhD Opportunity – human/animal interaction in Wales (AD700-1000)

Cardiff University and the National Museum Wales have a fully funded collaborative doctoral studentship available focusing on human/animal interactions in Wales between AD700-1000.

The four-year project, which falls under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme, will be jointly supervised by Professor Jacqui Mulville, Cardiff University, and Dr Mark Redknap, National Museum, and the student will be expected to spend time at both the university and museum as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of UK CDP-funded students.

The research will examine how human/animal interactions impacted on personal experiences in Wales during the formative period of the creation of Welsh identity.

Discussions of early medieval food systems have hitherto relied heavily on limited and inadequate narratives provided through the interpretation of scant historical records or limited datasets.

The enclosed settlement and market centre at Llanbedrgoch, Anglesey, excavated between 1994 and 2012, produced the largest unstudied archaeological assemblage of faunal remains (over 50,000 fragments) within dated sequences from early medieval Wales, with the benefits of clear associations with contemporary material culture, buildings and human remains.

The research will:

  • Study this comprehensive evidence base for the definition of early farming practices in the north Wales/Irish Sea region, from the raising of stock, selecting and sourcing foods, occupational practices including butchery, food preparation, consumption and disposal.
  • Define the extent to which animal/human interactions in early medieval/Viking Age Wales reflected practices in Ireland, Britain and on the Continent.
  • Assess the influence of these human/animal interactions on development, identity, health and social structure within early Welsh kingdoms.

Key to this will be the comparison of the Llanbedrgoch bone assemblage with contemporary sites. These include the recently published evidence from the elite, atypical and short-lived crannog at Llangorse (c. AD890-916) in the kingdom of Brycheiniog, where food procurement was apparently linked to supplies chains through food rents with consumption reflecting cultural, economic and environmental drivers.

The community engagement programme will offer the student opportunities to explore issues shared across time and participation in archaeology will provided through the student’s involvement with young people engaging with STEM activities based around food.

Research questions include:

  • How did food consumption in the early medieval Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd differ in character from that of its neighbours?
  • What were the mainstays of the “historical” diet of the population in Wales and the West?
  • To what extent did husbandry support the wider economy?
  • How can animal/human interactions from ninth/tenth-century Wales and the evidence from contemporary Dublin, Man and northern England inform us of changing identities, class, and politics?

The deadline for applications is November 6, 2020. For full details, including how to apply, click here.