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Emma Thompson

Archaeology, University of Leicester

Thesis title:

Collision and Cohesion: (re)negotiations of mortuary identities in England and Denmark (c. 800-1100 CE)

The overall objective of this project is to evaluate the transformative effects of migration and changing religions upon mortuary identities in Denmark and Anglo-Scandinavian regions of England from 800 to 1100 CE. It will determine how Scandinavian migrants navigated encounters with new peoples, places, and ideas, and how these influenced pre-existing burial practices. As England had converted to Christianity by this period, while Denmark was transitioning, it is crucial to assess the different negotiations of identity required by Scandinavians in an already Christianised region compared with “native” Danes responding to incoming belief systems.

Building upon a theoretical framework of ‘conditional identity interfaces’ proposed by my master’s thesis, I will answer three critical questions:
1. How did different facets of identity interact in the burials under scrutiny?
2. Do these facets interact similarly between Danish and Anglo-Scandinavian regions?
3. Which contextual factors contribute to the differences in mortuary identities?

My research will substantially improve our interpretations of intersectional mortuary identities. It is a crucial interrogation of a complex network of interactions and will produce a more dynamic and articulated picture of the widely-influential relationship between England and Denmark in this period.

Research Area

  • Archaeology


Ahmed, P., Charlier, V., Cooper, C., Gambord, T., Ghandi, A. Kerpyte, E., Reeves, A., Rowson, G., and Thompson, E. 2018. 'ALCESTER, BIRCH ABBEY (SP 0885 5725)', West Midlands Archaeology 60, 83-4.


Thompson, E.L. 2024. 'An Archaeopoetics Workshop for Wellbeing and Wonder' in Digging Deeper: a SAAH PGR Conference, University of Leicester.

Thompson, E.L. 2023. 'The Cost of Gendered Death in Viking Age Denmark' in States of Being(s): The Politics of Bodies in Archaeology, 44th Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference, University of East Anglia.

Public Engagement & Impact

2023 – Bodies that Matter: Celebrating the Social History of the Body in the Viking Age exhibition, Festival of Social Sciences, University of Leicester.


Intersectional Bodies Reading Group, University of Leicester

Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society


ERC Body-Politics Project: Website Link

Education History

MRes in Archaeology - University of Birmingham - Distinction with No Corrections

Thesis Title - Interfaces of Identity: the relationships between rank and gender in Viking Age burials in Jutland (c. 700-1100 CE)

BA in Ancient History and Archaeology - University of Birmingham - First Class (Cum Laude)

Thesis Title - Desensationalising Aztec “Flowery Warfare”: a cross-comparative study with ancient Greek warfare

Scholarships, Awards, and Funding

2023 – Midlands4Cities AHRC Doctoral Studentship Award

2020 – College of Arts and Law Masters Scholarship (University of Birmingham)

2019 – Bladon Carter Prize for Archaeology (University of Birmingham)

2018 – Donald Dudley Memorial Award (University of Birmingham)

Other Activities

School of Archaeology and Ancient History Research Seminars, University of Leicester - Co-Chair (2024-)

Digging Deeper: a SAAH PGR Conference, University of Leicester - Organising Committee (2023-2024)

The Rosetta Journal - Specialist Editor (2020-2022)

Ad Alta: Birmingham Journal for Literature - Publicity and Proofs Editor (2020-2021)

The University of Birmingham Archaeology Society - Chair (2017-18); Education Secretary (2018-19)

The University of Birmingham Creative Writing Society - Online Communications and Media Officer (2017-18); Chair (2018-19)