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Department of Archaeology


Ms Jillian Maguire

(email at

Academic Background/ Biography

I hold a B.A. with Honors in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (2008-2012), and a M.A. with Merit in Archaeology from Durham University (2012-2013). I began work on my doctorate in October of 2014.

My M.A. dissertation, Settlement and Power: A Study of pre- and mid- Viking Age Interactions between Norway and Scotland through the Burial Record, compared burial traditions in selected areas of pre- Viking Age Scotland with Viking Age burial traditions in the same regions in order to look for changes over time (AD 5th-10th c.) that might have reflected the extent and nature of contact between ‘native’ populations and Scandinavian settlers.

Research topic

My research explores the material evidence for Scandinavian contact and colonisation along coastal Scotland and the northern isles c. AD 800-1200.


My research aims to determine the extent of contact and colonisation in the North Sea Zone c. AD 800-1200. The geographical focus of this project is along coastal Scotland and the Faroe Islands, and includes comparison and exploration of key contemporary sites in Norway. In order to achieve the aims of this project data is being collected on objects and artefacts, and on the settlement and burial contexts in which they are found. My research asks broader questions of what evidence for contact exists, when does this evidence take place, and does it change over time. I will also investigate evidence for different artefacts appearing in burial or settlement contexts, whether some types of artefacts are more likely to appear in one context over another, and in particular will explore the different contexts in which insular objects appear in the selected data. Publications in recent years have identified evidence for distinct material signatures and cultural influences resulting from this period of contact and settlement. These new material narratives shed new light on a time period that has for a number of years been studied through the lens of sparse written accounts; written accounts which imply violent new contact despite well attested evidence for contact in coastal zones in the North Atlantic, North Sea, and Irish seas in prehistory. I contend that Norse colonisation represented a period of social integration and exchange, not simply raiding, which influenced settlement and ways of life, burial practices, and technologies.


2015: Rosemary Cramp Fund £150

Conference contributions


2014: “Settlement and Power in Atlantic Scotland”, Society for Medieval Archaeology Student Colloquium, 13-15 November, Queen’s University Belfast