What is EMASS?

about us

Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium

EMASS is an interactive forum run for, and by, graduate research students. The focus of our group is the archaeology of the Early Medieval period, roughly the period between the 4th-12th centuries AD. This period, often overlooked by traditional archaeological periodisation, is a fascinating and thriving period.

The annual EMASS conference has become a major event at which new and interdisciplinary research is presented in a constructive and encouraging atmosphere. .

Early Medieval Archaeology

Why does EMASS exist?

The Early Middle-Ages was a period of profound transformations, some of which are still visible today. It is also one of the most tantalising periods to study as an archaeologist: the fragmentary nature of material culture evidence, coupled with the relative paucity of the written record, shed little light on the political, social and cultural mechanisms at play. Many fascinating questions remain open to investigation and debate, such as the continuity with the Roman world, the nature of population movements, or the relationship between the West and the East.

The chronological and geographical boundaries of the Early Middle-Ages are also being increasingly challenged, as medieval archaeology has evolved from a Euro-centric focus on the West to consider the implications of the fall of Rome for a broader territory, thus opening new areas of research and the possibility of new elements coming to light.

With the development of techniques such as GIS or material provenance analyses, and the rise of multi-disciplinary projects, medieval archaeology is redefining itself and taking on new challenges, which hopefully will lead us to a better understanding of this captivating period.

For other Early Medieval Societies please see here.