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The Archaeological, Landscape and Historical Context of the Galloway Hoard

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Harrison
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This interdisciplinary project will examine the social, political and economic environment and context of Galloway during the Viking Age (c.800-1100). A reassessment is long overdue, particularly in light of the discovery of the Galloway hoard in 2014.

It is jointly funded by Glasgow University and Historic Environment Scotland, with the support of the National Museums of Scotland.

The Galloway hoard is the richest collection of rare and even unique Viking-age artefacts ever found in Britain and Ireland. More than a hundred artefacts were recovered, including Hiberno-Norse broad-band arm-rings, silver ingots, Anglo-Saxon metalwork, a silver gilt cup, and expensive textiles. It was deposited in the early tenth century, at a key point in the formation of the medieval kingdoms of Scotland and England, and in the context of the temporary collapse of the Hiberno-Norse kingdom of Dublin in 902. Galloway was situated on the periphery of these three polities, but we know very little about it in this crucial period.

The artefacts of the Galloway hoard are the subject of ongoing research at the National Museums of Scotland. This PhD will explore the context in which it was deposited, at local, regional and international levels. The project will undertake original research, with a particular emphasis on the modern council area of Dumfries and Galloway. What was the pattern of ecclesiastical and secular settlement here at the time that the hoard was deposited? And how does this polity fit into the broader socio-political context of the greater Irish Sea region at this time? In order to provide chronological depth, the study will cover the period from AD800-1100.

The project will begin with a literature review and search through online databases, including CANMORE and local site records, identifying previous research and approaches, contemporary sites, and comparable hoards. Primary documentary and map evidence will also be researched, with a view to identifying late survivals of early administrative units and boundaries. GIS will be used in the reconstruction of the administrative and settlement landscape of Viking-Age Galloway, before this evidence is placed in its broader regional contexts.

However, the project will be iterative, informed by the research strengths of the successful candidate and the results of early project research. The student will also spend time at the NMS, helping to prepare an exhibition on the Galloway hoard. This project will also work with the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme, assisting with partnership projects and providing project-related presentations. Given the huge level of public interest in the hoard, there is also potential for other substantial public engagement.

For eligibility requirements and full details, including how to apply, please visit:

Funding Notes

Funding details: Stipend at UKRI rate (£15,009 for 2019-20) and Home/EU tuition fees (International students will need to pay the difference between Home/EU and International tuition fees).

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