Conference Information

Conference Location and Details

The Early Christian Archaeology in Britain Conference will take place on Wednesday, 8th July.

Registration and Coffee at 9:30 – 10:00 am.

Five exciting presentations from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Lunch between 12:45 pm – 13:30 pm (Lunch available for those registering on this site).

Attendance on the day without pre-registration excludes lunch – £15.00

The Conference will take place at:

University of Winchester
West Downs
Romsey Road
SO22 5HT

Speakers and Papers confirmed

It will be a great pleasure to welcome the following speakers to present aspects of their work relating to the Early Christian Archaeology of the British Isles. Details are given here of the papers which will be presented during the Early Christian Archaeology in Britain Conference, 8th July, 2015, at Winchester University.

Dr. Ken Dark, Director, Research Centre for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, University of Reading

East and West: problems and possibilities in the archaeology and history of the early British Church

Although the outlines of the organization, theology and practices of the fourth- to seventh-century British Church have become better understood over the previous 30 years, many problems and questions remain.  For example, if – as generally accepted – there were fifth- and sixth-century British bishops, where were these based? What is the significance of our apparent inability to find convincing churches of this period in Britain, when churches are commonplace elsewhere in the archaeology of the world of Late Antiquity? What should we make of textual hints of British purity laws, and are these archaeologically visible? Was there, as often claimed, a dichotomy between a  Christian British West and a pagan ‘Anglo-Saxon’ East before Augustine? What significance, if any, did overseas contacts have for the development of fifth- and sixth-century British Christianity? These and other questions will be introduced and explored, primarily with reference to archaeological material, but using where appropriate place-names and textual sources, as possible ways of opening-up new avenues of research in the archaeology and history of the early British Church.

Dr. David Petts, Lecturer at Durham University

Roman Christianity in Northern Britannia AD300-500

Although the bulk of the evidence for Christianity in Roman Britain comes from the south and east of England, there is also a solid corpus of material from the military zone of northern England, including objects and structures. Drawing on recent discoveries from sites such as Binchester, Vindolanda and Maryport this paper will explore the evidence for the emergence of the church along the northern frontier, particularly its relationship with the army, as well as thinking more widely about how Christianity served to mediate the transition from the Roman to early medieval period in Northern England and Southern Scotland.

Dr. Niall Finneran, Reader in Early Medieval Archaeology at the University of Winchester

The socio-cultural context of early Christianity in southwestern Britain: a case study from the Tintagel Region Archaeological Landscape Project (TRALP)

Within the post-Roman Kingdom of Dumnonia (Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset) the impact of the legacy of the Romans is felt most strongly in the east. West of Exeter (Isca) the Romans essentially allowed a late iron age age society to remain and flourish. After their departure, the site of Tintagel in north Cornwall became arguably one of the most important political centres in western Britain. Since 2007 I have been conducting research on the wider context of Tintagel and will discuss what light this throws on the development of early Christian society in south-western Britain.

Revd. Mark Laynesmith, Anglican Chaplain at the University of Reading.

The Cult of St Alban at Verulamium (St Albans)

In his paper Mark will be speaking about the earliest evidence concerning the cult of St Alban at Verulamium (St Albans). Mark will briefly introduce previous archaeological study into Alban’s late fourth-century devotion before outlining his own research into the textual form this cult took. Mark will introduce the earliest known passio, an account of Alban’s martyrdom, and explore connections between this text and other western European martyr narratives. He will also consider the question of a possible link between the cult of Alban and the theology of Pelagianism, and the wider issue of how martyr cults were used by Christians bishops to convert their pagan neighbours.

Nancy Hollinrake, Contract Archaeologist

The Excavation of an early Christian site at Carhampton

While working for Somerset County Council Heritage Services on the archaeological evaluations for a new by-pass around the village of Carhampton, we soon began to suspect that we were dealing with a previously unidentified Dark Age monastery.  This presented two problems: how do we investigate and, hopefully, confirm this theory and how do we interpret the site on the basis of limited evaluation trenches?  This presentation follows the story starting with the excavations on the site and recovery of the dating evidence in the form of Mediterranean imported pottery and radiocarbon dates.  A variety of different types of features were recorded including ditches, pits and postholes signalling domestic occupation, a cemetery with accompanying structures and the largest Dark Age iron smelting complex discovered in the south of Britain.  The site was scheduled on the basis of the iron working site alone. Following the completion of the archive reports, we undertook private research into the interpretation of the site, including research into St. Carantoc, the Welsh saint to whom the parish church was formerly dedicated.  Testing out Bowen’s method of comparative analysis of churches dedicated to the same early missionary saint led to the recognition of the cult of St. Carantoc in churches based in Ceredigion, Cornwall, Brittany and Ireland.  Carhampton  itself is one of the best documented settlements in Somerset, with references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Alfred’s will as well as the usual sources.  It proved necessary to take a masters degree in Early Celtic Studies at Cardiff University in order to learn how to interpret this body of material.  The publication is currently with the editor of the Journal of the Society for Church Archaeology.

Register Now for ECAiB Conference 2015

Registration is now open for the Early Christian Archaeology in Britain Conference 2015 on 8th July at Winchester University.

Tickets should be purchased using the links on the Registration page. Tickets will be required for entry to the conference, and for the buffet lunch and wine reception. Tickets will be sent to registered participants by post closer to the Conference date.

Places are limited for this event so please register now to guarantee participation.

Conference Registration Fees

Ticket for Conference and Buffet Lunch – £24.99

Ticket for Conference, Buffet Lunch and Wine Reception – £29.99

Additional tickets may be available at the door but these will be subject to an additional £5 administration fee.

The Early Christian Archaeology in Britain Conference 2015

Archaeology and the search for early insular Christianity in Britain. Present and future research foci

The Department of Archaeology at the University of Winchester is pleased to announce a one-day conference on Wednesday 8th July on the Archaeology of the Early Church in Britain. Speakers will focus upon the present state of archaeological and associated historical research on the evidence for the earliest Christian communities of these islands up until the age of Augustine. Special themes include Continental and Mediterranean links, the British fringes and early monasticism.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 8th July, 2015 at the University of Winchester.

Conference Schedule

9:30 – 10:00  : Registration

10:00 – 12:45 : Conference

12:45 – 13:30 : Buffet Lunch

13:30 – 16:00 : Conference

16:00 – 17:30 : Wine Reception

Speakers will present papers to the Conference, with opportunities for questions after each presentation.

Confirmed speakers are:

Dr. Ken Dark, Associate Professor at the University of Reading

Dr. David Petts, Lecturer at Durham University

Dr. Niall Finneran, Reader in Early Medieval Archaeology at the University of Winchester

Revd. Mark Laynesmith, Anglican Chaplain at the University of Reading.


A buffet lunch will be provided, and an evening wine reception will complete the full day event.

Conference Registration Fees

Ticket for Conference and Buffet Lunch – £24.99

Ticket for Conference, Buffet Lunch and Wine Reception – £29.99

The conference organisers can be contacted at