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Durham University

Department of History

Staff Profile

Miss Caroline Smith

Member of the Department of History

(email at c.e.h.smith@durham.ac.uk)

Academic Background

In 2014 I completed a BA (Hons) degree in archaeology from Durham University with a dissertation exploring the effect of post-medieval landscape development on medieval settlement. Following this, I have started a Masters by Research in archaeology investigating the medieval residences of the bishops of Durham. Resulting from this research, I volunteer at the Durham Cathedral Muniments cataloguing the medieval documentary collections. Additionally, I have participated in many fieldwork projects including the ‘Tripillye Mega-Sites’ Project, Ukraine and the ‘Religious orders on the frontier: monks on the edge of Christian Europe’ Project, NE Spain.

Research Topic

The Palaces of the Bishops of Durham: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives AD 1100 – 1550.

Abstract

The bishops of Durham were amongst the wealthiest ecclesiastical figures in medieval Britain. As a consequence their residences were both numerous and geographically diverse, although few have received appropriate attention. This project adopts a multifaceted approach combining documentary evidence in the form of bishops’ registers and itineraries with archaeological datasets ranging from geophysical prospection, excavation and standing buildings analysis. Through this integrated approach, I hope to better understand the interaction between these buildings and their owners: how palaces influenced episcopacy but equally, how the changing role of the bishops influenced palace form. Ultimately, this study adopts a primarily archaeological approach which, when combined with historical data, provides new insights into the interrelationship between religion and politics and its expression through bishop’s palaces in medieval Britain.

Awards

Best Medieval/Post-Medieval Dissertation Prize, Dept. of Archaeology, Durham University

Is supervised by