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Community Archaeology and the Black Death

Community Archaeology and the Black Death: The Case for Public Involvement in Research

Paper given by Carenza Lewis

Given at the University of Westminster on December 6, 2016

The Black Death killed millions as it swept across medieval Europe and Asia, but its impact has long been unclear due to a lack of contemporary data. Professor Carenza Lewis will talk about her innovative 10-year research programme which has involved thousands of members of the public in new archaeological excavations in their own back gardens, producing finds which reveal exactly where the impact of the Black Death was most and least severely felt while also developing volunteers’ knowledge, skills and aspirations. These outcomes highlight the potential for similar publicly engaged research to be carried out anywhere, in the UK, Europe and beyond.

Carenza Lewis is Professor for the Public Understanding of Research at the University of Lincoln, having previously been director of archaeological outreach at the University of Cambridge, TV presenter on Channel 4’s Time Team, investigator with the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments and Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. Professor Lewis specialises in medieval rural settlement and landscape, the archaeology of childhood, community archaeology and public heritage, and she is particularly interested in advancing our understanding of change in the past while also achieving wider social benefits by actively involving the public in her research. She has directed many heritage-related projects and her current work on rural settlements is developing new ways of characterising changes in settlement and demography.

You can follow her on Twitter @CarenzaLewis

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