Dr Caroline Goodson
I completed a PhD at Columbia University in 2004, after living in Rome for 3 years to carry out dissertation research. I was a member of the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London, from 2005-2017, and joined the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, in 2017.
I take a transdisciplinary approach to the rise of early medieval polities in the Western Mediterranean, including North Africa and in particular, Italy. The Western Mediterranean witnessed the emergence of several different political structures in the post-Roman period, ranging from provinces within a larger empire to independent city-states. I focus on the period between c. 500 and c. 1100, taking as my evidence archaeology and material culture as well as a range of texts.
My research concentrates on the nature of power in this part of the early medieval world, looking at how different groups positioned themselves as successors to the Romans’ past glories or as innovators in a new world order. I am particularly interested in how cities facilitated certain forms of social interaction and political authority and how changing religious practices and politics related to day-to-day experiences (and how these have been transmitted to us through material and textual records). My work deliberately moves between the disciplines of history and archaeology. I have published extensively on medieval documentary and historical texts, such as chronicles, hagiography, and more recently charters and diplomata. The archaeological record is the only body of early medieval evidence that is presently expanding; consideration of material sources against and alongside textual ones offers new vantage points on how early medieval rulers claimed political and cultural hegemony and how their subjects and the rest of the world might have experienced it. In addition to excavation, I use standing buildings archaeology, archaeological archives, and material culture studies in my research.
I am happy to supervise research students working on early medieval Italy and its neighbours, cults of saints, medieval settlement, environment, economies and urbanism in the Western Mediterranean.
Part I: Paper 7, Paper 13, Themes and Sources: Performance and power in ancient and medieval cities; Part II: (Archaeology/History) A24 Medieval Globe; (Classics/History) C4 Transformation of the Roman World: MPhil: Medieval History
Tags & Themes
Cambridge, CB2 1ST UK