Digital Archaeology Group Lecture
Mapping Merovingians: Integrating Text & Archaeology in the Digital Age
- Thursday 8 October 2020
- Online, see link below
Both archaeologists and historians are increasingly using digital tools to collect and analyse large amounts of data. Unfortunately, it is still rare to see archaeologists and historians combining their data in a single digital environment. While the integration of text and archaeology comes with unique challenges, digital tools can help bridge disciplinary divides, link divergent types of data and make specialist knowledge accessible to a larger audience.
In the Rural Riches project we are now collecting both archaeological and textual data on Merovingian northern Gaul (450-650 AD) in a single database. In this talk, I will discuss some of the challenges and possibilities that I have encountered while creating a georeferenced dataset of textual evidence for royal and elite presence. Using social network analysis software to connect the dots, a case-study on the Austrasian court of 566 shows the possibilities of mapping not just individuals, but a whole network of elites. The resulting ‘distribution maps’ of elite presence can then be used to compare, and contrast, with archaeological and palaeogeographical data to research spatial patterns, geographies of power and central places.