Power in the Post-Roman North: Written Evidence

Entering History: New Approaches to Written Evidence in the Post-Roman North

This project investigated written evidence for the development of power-holding, control and leadership across the North.  It drew on closely-comparable material from the British Isles and the Nordic countries. Above all, it asked how written sources suggested - through legal and historical claims, and through literary representations - how these were achieved, maintained and lost. However, the project also asked what we can tell about the production and transmission of such sources, since understanding these processes itself yields valuable insights into changing patterns of power-holding of various kinds. A particular aim was to find out how much aspirations and expressions of power were influenced by cross-cultural exchange across (and beyond) the northern world.

This project focused on transmission of legal material from Wales to Sweden, during the thirteenth century - probably via England. This work opened up important new questions about the creation of the oldest lawbooks in the Nordic countries (the provincial laws), and especially about the degree to which these were influenced by the legal cultures of the British Isles. It also resulted in a festival performance (Cruel and Unusual) devised in collaboration with the Pathways to Power archaeologist, Candy Hatherley, and two sound artists (Adam Cresser and Ross Whyte).