School of History, Classics and Archaeology


Concealed Communities

The idea that people with ambiguous or marginal identities occupied marginal areas has emerged as a growing research theme in medieval and post-medieval archaeology over recent years.

The zones occupied by these marginal people had a special place in the medieval and early modern conception of the world, and might be defined in opposition to the central churches, towns or villages and their fields. Even so, the resources they provided were important to medieval and post-medieval people and they were commonly exploited.

We are addressing this theme through a number of initiatives:

College Valley Project

This project is analysing the development of the historic landscape of the College Valley, in north Northumberland’s Cheviot Hills, through field survey and analysis of particular sites.

It is linked to PhD research being undertaken by Johnnie Shipley and to fieldwork training for Newcastle’s undergraduate students.

Collaborative PhD: Mobile and Marginal Communities in Upland Northumberland

In 2005 the School of Historical Studies was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council collaborative PhD studentship to research 'Concealed Communities: Mobility and Marginality in Northumberland National Park' with Northumberland National Park Authority.

Jonnie Shipley, an archaeology graduate from Newcastle, is leading the research which is focusing on the College Valley and Redesdale between the early Medieval period and the 19th century, using the exceptionally rich archaeological remains and historical documents that relate to them.

Concealed Communities: 2005 Symposium

This meeting explored the lives of marginal people from a range of perspectives. An international selection of papers was presented by scholars of the medieval and later periods on Britain, Ireland, Europe and the Mediterranean. A selection of these were published in 2007 as a special issue of the International Journal of Historical Archaeology.