The archaeologist who led the team which uncovered the buried remains of English king Richard III in a Leicester car park is to deliver a free public lecture to mark the 25th anniversary of a medieval research centre at The University of Nottingham.
The discovery of the hastily interred bones of the medieval monarch by archaeologists at The University of Leicester made news headlines around the world last summer.
Richard Buckley, Director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services, who project managed the dig at the site of the medieval Greyfriars church — now a council car park — will talk about the team’s phenomenal find in his talk 'Discovering the Last Plantagenet' on Friday, June 21.
The lecture comes as part of a day of talks and displays to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Institute for Medieval Research, the oldest research institute at The University of Nottingham.
Outgoing director of the Institute, Dr Christina Lee, said: “We are so excited to have one of the first lectures by the team who excavated this important find and we are especially excited that this exciting research was made by one of our close neighbours in the East Midlands."
The event will span the whole of the medieval period and showcase research in the Institute, giving the public the opportunity to find out more about its work, as well as the chance to meet current and former Institute members.
From its very beginnings the Institute for Medieval Research (originally known as the Institute for Medieval Studies) looked outside of the usual academic schools to foster collaborations. Academics teamed up with archivists and authors to explore not just the medieval period, but the impact that the politics, culture, religion and ideals of the age still influence us today.
Dr Lee added: “The IMR acts as an umbrella for many research areas, which are often located in different departments. We work alongside other research centres and institutes. Members of the IMR are historians, archaeologists, linguists, theologians, philosophers, art historians, name studies scholars, architectural scholars, Viking specialists, musicologists and palaeographers. And some of us look at runes.”
In one of the IMR's key current research projects, Dr Naomi Sykes — a lecturer in zooarchaeology — is addressing the very modern problem of food security. The Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Fallow Deer Project has shown that modern fallow deer populations are a legacy of the medieval period — in particular, the hunting culture of the medieval elite. However, populations are now hitting unsustainable levels and IMR members are collaborating with the National Trust to help the public understand the cultural history of the species, as well as the benefits of eating venison produced through sustainable deer management.
Dr Conor Kostick is using very modern technologies to examine medieval phenomena, including the climate from 400 to 1000BC, correlating historical sources with natural data obtained from tree rings and ice cores. Dr Kostick’s studies have led him to believe that dust plumes could be responsible for the seemingly fantastic ‘rains of blood’ reported in sources from the age.
The Wollaton Antiphonal Project, led by Emeritus Professor Thorlac Turville-Petre, saw the cataloguing and full digitalisation of the stunning family service book of Sir Thomas Chaworth of Wiverton Hall in a collaboration between the IMR and the University’s Manuscripts and Special Collections department. Dating back to the first half of the 15th century, academic access to the Antiphonal was very limited due to its fragile nature but it is now available to all via the University’s website.
More information about these and other research projects led by the Institute of Medieval Research will be available at the Nottingham Medieval @ 25 event, taking place from 12 noon on Friday June 21 at the Univerity Museum, followed by talks from 1pm at Highfield House on University Park. The event will also feature poster and book displays, an archaeology exhibition and a performance of medieval music.
Richard Buckley’s talk, which is open to the public and free of charge, will take place at 6pm. Registration for both the whole event and just the evening lecture is available via the web at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/medieval/rsvp.aspx
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Picture used courtesy of the University of Leicester.
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