The modern-day rise in globalization brought on by changes in demographics and large-scale immigration has renewed scholarly interest in the nature of cultural change during volatile periods in history. This paper will discuss double monasteries under the patronage of the Abbess Hild of Whitby, and the construction of personal and communal identity during the unstable period of Christian conversion and the development of new political systems in 7th-century Northumbria. Specifically, it will examine the usage of objects in everyday life to reveal varying degrees of adherence to customary religious practices and traditional gender roles, which arguably point to ‘liminal behavior’, as articulated by Victor Turner, that belies conventional wisdom about the practice of female monasticism.
The following paper presents the results of an in-depth analysis of a corpus of church sanctification acta in the diocese of Urgell, in Catalonia, between the 8th and 12th centuries. The structure and content of the acta themselves and how they evolved through time allows us to consider the role they played for the actors of a church’s consecration and the importance of the document’s conception and use within the diocese. In keeping with the conference theme of ‘materialities’, Urgell provides a particularly instructive and concrete case study of the social and spatial dynamics of rural communities, due both to the acta’s precise description of the actors at play in the sanctification and to the clear pinpointing in space of the churches where these acts occurred, many of which survive to the present day.
This paper will reconsider the evidence for local courts held in new fortified villages in central Italy during the 11th century. It will consider both change and continuity in the ways that people managed disputes around quasi-urban space. Central Italy provides exceptional evidence for private courts, yet due to a change in the material character of legal documents in the 11th century, court proceedings survive largely as formal refutations of property. This poses significant problems for assessing dispute resolution. I evaluate the emergence of local jurisdictions by reconstructing the built environment which shaped private courts. I consider charter evidence in combination with comparative archaeological research, comparing Roccantica and Montasola in the Sabina with contemporary evidence from the Duchy of Spoleto. This posits a central role for shared spaces as a focus for migration and assembly, examining documents as residues of assemblies that played out in dialogue with landscape and buildings.