Amelia Gardner-Thorpe

PhD Student in History

Amelia Gardner-Thorpe is a PhD student in History at Newnham College. In 2022, she graduated with an MPhil in Medieval History from the University of Cambridge (Clare Hall), and a BA (Hons) in History in 2021 from the University of Exeter.

Her PhD dissertation examines the familial relationships and networks of bojars (nobles) and posadniks (elected officials) in the Novgorod Republic, which Soviet scholars argue was an oligarchic regime, in the fifteenth-century. How did marriage alliances, land-ownership, patronage of churches and monasteries, and genealogical continuity within select bojar families, from whom posadniks were frequently selected, contribute to the construction and maintenance of noble power in the Novgorod Republic at this time and what challenges did their authority and power in Novgorod pose to the Rjurikid dynasty?

She is supervised by Dr. Olenka Z. Pevny. Her research is funded by an AHRC Open-Oxford-Cambridge DTP – Newnham College Studentship. In 2021/22, she was a prize research student at the Joint Centre for History and Economics.

Amelia is co-convenor of the History of Memory and Emotions graduate workshop (2022/23).

Amelia's primary research interest is in "vernacular" literacy, namely expressed through birchbark documents written in Old East Slavic and its dialects, although her research has also considered graffiti and inscribed objects. She is most interested in the period c. 1100-1300, and the geographical region of Kyivan Rus' specifically.

Amelia is also interested in historical social and economic networks, including their visualisation using digital humanities tools.


Tags & Themes


Amelia Gardner-Thorpe

Newnham College, University of Cambridge

Sidgwick Avenue





Key publications

Rus'ian Birchbark Letter Social Networks, c.1100-1300.

Visualizing Historical Networks project (Center for History and Economics, Harvard University, 2022).