The last 15 years has seen the renaissance of the study of early medieval assembly places and practices. What’s going on?
A focus of antiquarian interest and 19th-century scholarship, for much of the 20th century the study of assembly saw little work fieldwork or syntheses, certainly among archaeologists. However, since the early 2000s, there was a resurgence, spearheaded in England by then-doctoral students of John Blair at Oxford – Aliki Pantos and Sarah Semple, and connecting with work taking places on early medieval assembly places and central places in Scotland, Ireland, Man and Scandinavia. I was honoured to take part on the 2000 Oxford conference, and the publication that followed, called Assembly Places and Practices in Medieval Europe, edited by Aliki Pantos and Sarah Semple (Four Courts Press, 2004), which has proved to be a seminal work in this field.
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