The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology

Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress 2018

23 March — 25 March 2018

University of Bristol and SS Great Britain, Bristol

SPMA is following its now annual Congresses in Sheffield (2016) and Hull (2017) with the Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress at the University of Bristol and SS Great Britain on Friday 23 – Sunday 25 March 2018.

Bristol has long formed part of global networks of maritime trade and industry. The city has operated as a regional and international trading port for more than 1000 years, developing trade with North America and the Caribbean from the 17th century and playing a major role in the transatlantic slave trade. Bristol’s place in global networks continues to shape the city’s identity into the 21st century.

This congress is open to all researchers at any stage of their career, whether academics, students, commercial or community archaeologists, to report recent research on any aspect of post-medieval/later historical archaeology.

Conference Documents

The Paper sessions timetable can be downloaded here

The full Paper and Poster abstracts can be downloaded here. In order to save paper, we will not be providing physical copies at the congress. Please download a copy to print off at home or view on your tablet or smartphone. 

A map of congress venues is available here

Conference Registration

Registration is available online here. Delegate registration fees are below (inclusive of lunch, morning & afternoon refreshments, and free access to the SS Great Britain ship, dockyard, dry dock, and Dockyard Museum. Eventbrite booking fees are extra). Delegates may avoid Eventbrite booking fees by paying by bank transfer before 28 February - please download and complete this form and email to secretary@spma.org.uk .

  • Ordinary SPMA Member £65
  • Young SPMA Member £45
  • Non-member (waged) £90
  • Non-member (student/unwaged) £65

The reduced rates are also available to members of Bristol's local archaeology and history societies. Information about places to stay in Bristol and things to do while staying in the city is available here.

Conference Programme

Friday 23 March

2.30pm: Optional walking tour of Bristol (£10). Meet at the M Shed, Princes Wharf, Bristol. Led by Prof Mark Horton, visiting notable sites and buildings from 16th -19th centuries. The walk will end at the University of Bristol at 4.30pm.

5.00pm: Lecture by Prof Chris Gerrard (Durham University) at the University of Bristol. 'Lost Lives, New Worlds. Unlocking the story of the 1650 Scottish soldiers buried on Palace Green in Durham. A lecture in memory of Mick Aston'.

In November 2013 archaeologists observing building work near Durham Cathedral made an unexpected and unusual discovery when disordered tumbles of articulated skeletons were uncovered in two mass graves. Over the next two years, a complex jigsaw of evidence was pieced together by a team of researchers in order to establish the identity of the human remains. Today we know them to be some of the Scottish prisoners who died in terrible circumstances in Durham Cathedral and Castle following the Battle of Dunbar on the south-east coast of Scotland on 3rd September 1650. Using the latest techniques of archaeological science, it has been possible to reconstruct how and why these men vanished off the historical radar. This lecture follows the controversies as researchers sought to solve a 350 year old mystery.

Chris Gerrard is a Professor of Archaeology at Durham and the team leader for the Scottish Soldiers Project. An alumnus of the Bristol Archaeology Department, Chris collaborated with Mick Aston over many years and wrote two books with him about their work on the Shapwick Project.

The lecture is OPEN TO ALL (no booking required if you are just attending the lecture). Lecture takes place at:

Powell Lecture Theatre
HH Wills Physics Laboratory
Tyndall Avenue
Bristol BS8 1TL

Map available here

6.30pm: Drinks reception and unveiling of the Mick Aston bust, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Bristol, 43 Woodland Road. 

Saturday 24 March 

9.00am - 5.00pm: Conference paper sessions and poster displays in the Great Eastern Hall and Viridor Theatre at SS Great Britain.

5.00pm - 7.00pm: Viewing of the Matthew and drinks reception on the MV Balmoral (please note: access is via a ramp and steps, and surfaces are uneven).

Sunday 25 March

9.00am - 3.00pm: Conference paper sessions and poster displays in the Great Eastern Hall and Viridor Theatre at SS Great Britain.

Monday 26 March

Optional coach tour of the Severn Vale, led by Mark Horton (£20)

Acton Court

Meet at SS Great Britain Car Park at 9.30am

10.00am - 10.30am: Acton Court.

10.30am - 11.30am: Visit to Thornbury Castle (unfinished 16th century castle, built by the Duke of Buckingham, with early gardens and Henrican architecture). Coffee in the Hotel.

12.00pm - 1.00pm: Visit to Berkeley Castle - 11th century castle converted to country house in the 18th century, with good interiors and collections.

1.00pm - 2.00pm: Lunch (at own expense) at the Yurt, Berkeley Castle.

3.00pm: Visit to Stanley Mills - the most elaborate of the Stroud Woollen Mills, shortly to be converted to flats so last opportunity to see its interiors.

4.00pm: Return to Bristol (via railway station) arriving around 5.00pm.

Registration is now open and available online here. Delegates may avoid Eventbrite booking fees by paying by bank transfer before 28 February - please download and complete this form and email to secretary@spma.org.uk . Information about places to stay in Bristol and things to do while staying in the city is available here