New Project Grants

picture1The MSRG has decided to offer three new grants over the next few months, dedicated to specific projects. Conscious of the fact that the Group does not have the resources to mount major programmes of work alone, MSRG has decided to offer seed-corn grants for research on two particular themes that might then be picked up by academics who could apply for large research grants from the major grant-giving bodies, and a third grant for a one-off study.

1) Medieval Settlement Research Framework

A grant of up to £2000 to compile a research framework for medieval settlement studies to be disseminated on-line through the MSRG website. It is envisaged this will involve the correlation and synthesis of statements and recommendations in the various regional English research frameworks together with the national frameworks for Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  It could perhaps be undertaken by a post-graduate under the supervision of a university academic, preferably a member of the MSRG, and if appropriate with advisory input from MSRG committee members. We view this as a one-off and self-contained production, though future revision is a long-term possibility.

2) Medieval Field Systems with the Emphasis particularly on Ridge and Furrow

Analysis of medieval field systems and in particular ridge and furrow within the broader frame of extant historic agrarian landscapes, the study to include the continued formation of cultivation ridging into the modern era. The resource provided by the surviving ridge and furrow, records of its former extent from aerial photographs, together with early maps, has not been exploited fully by archaeologists, geographers and historians. These material survivals, using modern methods of analysis, have the capacity to throw light on a number of important research topics about the origins of medieval field systems, their subsequent development, their management and technology, and eventual fall into disuse. Ridge and furrow could also be used to investigate the development of settlements, the overall patterns of land use, and the balance between common and individual rights over land. A grant of £4000 could be available, in consultation with the MSRG, for a researcher to carry out a pilot project on one or more of these aspects, with the intention of subsequently applying for a grant for a full-scale project to a body such as the AHRC.

3) The Relationship of Settlement to Commons, Greens and Waste

Analysis of settlement relationships to commons, greens and waste throughout the medieval period and extending into the post-medieval centuries, will be initiated through a pilot study of selected areas, and will be undertaken by an academic who would be able to take it forward subsequently as a major grant application. The level of grant aid for this themed study in the first year will not exceed £4000.

Short explanatory papers by Chris Dyer (ridge and furrow) and Bob Silvester (commons and greens) will appear in the next Medieval Settlement Research which is timetabled for late November. Either of them can be consulted in advance of submissions via email cd50@le.ac.uk or r.silvester@chester.ac.uk

Applications

The medieval settlement research framework study is, we believe, self-explanatory. The deadline for a formal application which should include a project design  is 1 April 2017 and should be submitted to Dr Susan Kilby via email sk565@le.ac.uk.

The approach to the thematic research themes proposed above could be entirely archaeological, or have an interdisciplinary character bringing into contact archaeologists, environmental scientists, historians or linguists, or all of these. As should be evident from what is written above, the MSRG has no specific agenda, and the Group is not issuing detailed briefs or prescribing the content of the research, rather they are anticipating that an applicant will develop an attractive research proposal.