Dr Meggen Gondek

Reader in Archaeology

Qualifications

BA (Tufts), MPhil (Glasgow), PhD (Glasgow)

Overview

My principal area of interest is the archaeology of early medieval northern Britain.  I obtained my undergraduate degree at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts with a major in Archaeology and a minor in Medieval Studies.  In 1998, I arrived at the University of Glasgow to do my MPhil in Medieval Archaeology and stayed there for my PhD.  I completed my PhD, Mapping sculpture and power: Symbolic wealth in early medieval Scotland, 6th - 11th centuries AD, in 2004. 

It was during my PhD that I became increasingly interested in early medieval carved stone monuments, their role in the landscape and the processes by which they were created.  This focus on sculpture in its landscape is one of the main subjects of my research and teaching.

I started my academic career in the autumn of 2003 as a temporary lecturer in early medieval art and archaeology at University College Dublin and from there went to Durham University (2004-2006) as a temporary lecturer in early medieval archaeology. I joined the Department of History & Archaeology at Chester in September 2006 as Programme Leader and Lecturer in Archaeology.

In September 2007, I became a Senior Lecturer and Reader in 2010.  I have been a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland since 2009.  When not teaching, researching or conducting fieldwork I can often be found outside walking in the hills and mountains.

Teaching

I contribute to the teaching of the following undergraduate modules:

  • Introduction to Archaeological Practice
  • Greeks, Etruscans, Romans and Celts: Introduction to European Classical Archaeology
  • Advanced Practical Skills in Archaeology
  • Experiential Learning: Archaeology
  • Archaeology and the Irish Sea Province
  • For those about to Rock: Carved Stone Monuments and their Early Medieval Contexts

Postgraduate Supervision

I currently supervise research looking at early medieval monuments in the Cheshire region (Joanne Kirton) and research on medieval Chester (Jonathan Coley) as well as MRes projects involving landscape archaeology and centres of power and settlement.

I would also invite interest from students wishing to undertake research on any aspect of early medieval art, the archaeology of late Iron Age - early medieval high status settlement, the development of kingdoms and the archaeology of Scotland.

Research

My main research interests are in the early medieval archaeology of Northern Britain, particularly Scotland. I am interested in the art and material culture of this period with a focus on the production and meaning of early medieval sculpture in Northern Europe. I am also developing my research into methodologies for landscape archaeology and the development of power centres, kingdoms and the early church in the late Iron Age to early medieval period. 

Early medieval carved monuments and landscape

My research on the carved monuments of early medieval (c. AD 400-1100) Scotland and Northern Europe works to develop new theoretical and practical approaches to these monuments in Scotland and further afield. Scotland has a very rich dataset of early medieval monuments including free standing Christian crosses and enigmatic Pictish symbol stones.

Research projects include the Rhynie Environs Archaeological Project (REAP), co-directed with Dr Gordon Noble of the University of Aberdeen, which examines the archaeological context of a group of Class I Pictish symbol stones from the village of Rhynie, Aberdeenshire. This exciting programme of research, survey and excavation has uncovered a high-status Pictish period settlement (5th-6th century AD) as well as a Pictish period cemetery.

Carbon Footprinting of Archaeological Research (C-FAR)

C-FAR was initiated in 2008 and was funded by the British Academy for its pilot year. This project focuses on developing a method of determining the carbon footprint of university-led training excavations. The unique nature of archaeological fieldwork requires an adaptable and discipline-specific footprinting methodology.  It is only through establishing a base-line understanding of our current footprint that action can be taken to reduce the impact of fieldwork not just in universities, but also in the volunteer and commercial archaeological sectors. The project is working to develop a ‘carbon calculator' for archaeological excavation activities focusing on key activities: travel, energy use, materials and food (where applicable) and waste. An interim report can be found online at ChesterRep: http://hdl.handle.net/10034/293551.

I contribute or have contributed to a number of other projects, particularly in association with the Chester Archaeological Society (at Eccleston) and the Strathearn and Royal Forteviot Project based at the University of Glasgow.

Published work

Chapters in Book

Gondek, M. 2010 ‘Constructing Sacred Space - Soil, Stone, Water & Symbols: Early Medieval Carved Stone Monuments From Tillytarmont, Aberdeenshire’ in A. George et al. (eds), Early Medieval Enquiries. Bristol: Clifton Antiquarian Club, 318-333.

Gondek, M. & Noble, G. 2010. Together as one: the landscape of the symbol stones at Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, in S. Driscoll, J. Geddes & M. Hall (eds) Pictish Progress: Pictish Studies for the 21st Century, Leiden: Brill, pp. 281-306.

Gondek, M. 2007. Pictish symbol stones: caught between prehistory and history, in A. Mazel, G. Nash, & C. Waddington (eds) Art as Metaphor: The Prehistoric Rock-art of Britain, Archaeopress, Oxford, pp. 69-89.

Journal Articles

Noble, G., Gondek, M., Campbell, E. and Cook, M. 2013. Between prehistory and history: the archaeological detection of social change among the Picts. Antiquity 338 (December 2013).

Noble, G. and Gondek, M. 2011. Symbol Stones in Context: Excavations at Rhynie, an undocumented Pictish Power Centre of the 6th-7th centuries AD? Medieval Archaeology 55, 317- 321.

Gondek, M. 2006. Investing in Sculpture: Power in early historic Scotland, Medieval Archaeology 50, 105-142.

Gondek, M. 2006. Early Historic Sculpture and Landscape: a case study of Cladh a'Bhile, Ellary, Mid-Argyll, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 138, 237-258.

Gondek, M. and Jeffrey, S. 2003. The re-use of a figurative panel from Eigg, Medieval Archaeology 47, 178 - 185.

Popular Articles

Noble, G. and Gondek, M. 2011. ‘A Dark Age Power Centre at Rhynie.’ British Archaeology 120 (Sept-Oct 2011), 36-41.

Gondek, M. and Noble, G. 2006. Landscape with Symbols, British Archaeology, 87 (Mar-Apr 2006), 16-17.

Work in preparation and forthcoming

Gondek, M. in prep Building blocks: structural contexts and carved stones, in Gondek, M., Kirton, J. and Williams, H. (eds) Memories in the Making: The Materialities, Biographies and Landscapes of Early Medieval Stone Monuments.

Noble, G. and Gondek, M. with contributions from S. Ramsay & A. Sheridan, in prep The land before symbol stones: a geophysical survey of Rhynie, Aberdeenshire and the excavation of a Middle Bronze Age structure near the Craw Stane, Barflat.

Gondek, M. and Noble, G. in prep Rhynie: new perspectives on settlement in Pictland in the 5th and 6th centuries AD and the context of Pictish symbol stones. For: Life on the Edge: Social, Political and Religious Frontiers in Early Medieval Europe.

Other publications

Noble, G., Gondek, M. Campbell, E. and Sveinbjarnarson, O. 2012. ‘Rhynie Environs Excavation Project’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 13, 27-28.

Gondek, M. and Maldonado, A. 2011. ‘Forteviot Churchyard: SERF’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 12, 149.

Noble, G. and Gondek, M. 2011. ‘Rhynie Environs Archaeological Project’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 12, 27.

Gondek, M. and James, H. 2010. ‘Forteviot Cropmark Complex SERF’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 11, 142-143.

Campbell, E. and Gondek, M. 2009. ‘Forteviot Pictish Cemetery’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 10, 150-151.

Campbell, E. and Gondek, M. 2008. ‘Forteviot Village – SERF’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 9, 146.

Gondek, M. 2008. ‘Peterhead Farm, Gleneagles Geophysical Survey’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 9, 140.

Brend, A., Gondek, M., Hall, A., Henderson, I. James, H. Jeffrey, S. Morton, D. and Scott, I.G. 2008. ‘Analysis of the fragments’ in H. James, I. Henderson, S. Foster and S. Jones A Fragmented Masterpiece: recovering the biography of the Hilton of Cadboll Pictish cross-slab, pp. 285-289. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Henderson, I., Gondek, M., Morton, D. and Scott, I.G. 2008. ‘Catalogue and reconstruction’ in H. James, I. Henderson, S. Foster and S. Jones A Fragmented Masterpiece: recovering the biography of the Hilton of Cadboll Pictish cross-slab, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh. (Full catalogue to be made available via the Archaeology Data Service).

Campbell, E. and Gondek, M. 2007. ‘The Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot Project (SERF) – Forteviot Village Project’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 8, 157.

Gondek, M. and Noble, G. 2006. ‘The Craw Stane/Barflat, Rhynie: Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age timber structure’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 6, 19.

Roberts, S., Noble, G. and Gondek, M. 2006. ‘The Craw Stane/Barflat, Rhynie: Geophysical Survey’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 6, 18-19.

Gondek, M. and Driscoll, S. 2004. ‘Dunkeld House grounds, Dunkeld and Dowally parish’ Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 4, 106-107.