PhD Student Profile

Lily Hawker-Yates

Lily Hawker-Yates

PhD Student

School: CKHH

Campus: Canterbury


Lily graduated with a BA (Hons) in Classical Studies and Russian from the University of Exeter in 2014 and completed her MSc in Archaeological Practice at the University of the Highlands and Islands, writing her dissertation on “Public Perceptions of Archaeology in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.”

Recipient of the Ian Coulson Memorial Prize, 2016 & 2017

Doctoral Thesis

When history has gone beyond memory, and where there is little or no written record, then objects in the landscape are used and interpreted in order both to understand the past, and to tie the past to the present. This thesis explores the places of barrows in the cultural imagination of later medieval England, following the interdisciplinary approaches of Sarah Semple (Perceptions of the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon England: Religion, Ritual, and Rulership in the Landscape, 2013) and Anwen Cooper (Other Types of Meaning: Relationships between Round Barrows and Landscapes from 1500 BC-AC 1086, 2016). This thesis identifies and examines a range of historical sources to explore an area of research which has not previously been studied in depth.

Whilst it is the case that barrows appear in texts relatively infrequently during the later medieval period, this thesis argues that these references were included specifically because they had significance and meaning both for the writer and the intended audience. Those writers who included barrows in their work anticipated that their intended audience would be able to recognise them, and to be aware of their significance. The intended audience for many of the texts discussed in this thesis was primarily aristocratic elites and the clergy, and therefore the texts speak to their interests and concerns, with barrows often being connected to themes of exemplary kingship. The past is also used to talk about the present; here barrows become symbols of the past, both ‘historic’, and at times mythical, having links to the supernatural. They act as focal points through which wider, contemporary issues can be explored, thus allowing authors access to the past and to a landscape onto which they can project the concerns of the present, and therefore talk about them more freely.

Publications and Conference Presentations, given & forthcoming

  • “Death Metal: Exploring connections between metalworking and burial sites in Iron Age Orkney.” - Canterbury Christ Church University, PGRA Conference (2017)
  • “Where Mounds Abound: translations of “saints” from barrows in late twelfth century England.” - University of Bristol, Centre for Medieval Studies Conference (2018)
  • “Mounds of opportunity: healing at the barrow of St Amphibalus.” -  The Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Reading. “The Maladies, Miracles and Medicine of the Middle Ages, II. Places, Spaces and Objects” (2018)
  • “10 Years to Make a Saint: the 'translation' of St Amphibalus” - Canterbury Christ Church University, PGRA Conference (2018)
  • Such Guardian or Defiant Tombs: Memorialisation of Burial Mounds by Early and Post Conquest Poets and Chroniclers.” - Leeds International Medieval Congress (2018)

Supervisory Team

  • Dr Sheila Sweetinburgh 
  • Dr Lesley Hardy (second supervisor)

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Last edited: 01/10/2020 09:42:00