About our staff
Dr Sam Leggett
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow; (Early) Medieval Archaeology and History, Bioarchaeology, Isotopic Analysis
Affiliated research centres
I graduated from the University of Sydney (Australia) with a double degree BA (Hons I) degree in Archaeology and Medieval Studies, and BSc in Immunobiology (2010-2014). My honours thesis on early medieval funerary archaeology won the Maureen A. Byrne Prize for best Archaeology IV thesis. I obtained a MA in History (Medieval) from the University of New England (Aus) and a Commonwealth Government funded research MPhil in Archaeology from the University of Sydney which focussed on early medieval urbanisation in southern Britain. My Cambridge Trust funded PhD at the University of Cambridge utilised isotopic data (C, N, O and Sr) alongside osteological and funerary evidence to investigate diet and mobility at multiple scales across western Europe in the first millennium AD, with a particular regional focus on early medieval England. This work won the 2020 European Association of Archaeologists Student Prize. I have worked in higher education teaching across a variety of archaeology, history and biology courses at the University of Sydney and University of Cambridge. I have most recently been a postdoctoral research assistant on the “Women of the Conversion Period – a Biomolecular Investigation” project with Professor Helena Hamerow at the University of Oxford, investigating female mobility in early medieval England during the seventh century AD, before starting my role as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in Edinburgh in January 2022. Previously I also worked in visitor and educational roles in the museum sector (University of Sydney Museums and Sydney Living Museums), commercial pathology, and as an anatomical prosector in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney (title of prosector awarded 2012).
- Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
- Early Career Research Associate, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford
- Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
- Member of the Scottish Society for Northern Research
- Membership secretary 2022
- Member of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO)
- Member of the BABAO Trading and Sale of Human Remains Sub-group
- Member of the BABAO Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Sub-group
- Member of the Association for Environmental Archaeology
- Member of the Society for Archaeological Sciences
- Member of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
- Member of the European Association of Archaeologists
- Member of the International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England (ISSEME)
- ISSEME Advisory Board
- Member of the Viking Society for Northern Research
- Member of the IsoArch Association
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Britain & Ireland
- Ancient Civilisations
- Bioarchaeology & Human Origins
- Early Historic
- Medieval & Renaissance
My research interests are centred around the early medieval period in Europe, and utilising biomolecular/bioarchaeological techniques to understand the period and the people holistically.
- Early medieval archaeology
- Funerary archaeology
- Mobility and migration
- Diet and health
- Computational archaeology
- Archaeology of identity
- Socio-environmental transitions
- Isotopic analyses
- Biomolecular archaeology
Current research activities
Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship project: ArchaeoFINS - medieval archaeology of fishing around the Irish and North Seas.
ArchaeoFINS is centred around an old and still unresolved archaeological question of when, where, how and why people began to eat fish again after the introduction of farming in Europe, which brought about a decline in fish consumption c. 5-10,000 years ago in favour of cereal crops and dairying. Tackling this question is timely and given recent debate over European fisheries and the important role fish have in modern foodways and economies in Europe. I have identified Scotland and its islands as a watershed region for the Medieval reintroduction of fish consumption to Europe. By combining multiple lines of evidence (isotopes, pottery residues, traditional archaeo-historical data) for the first time at scale (both geographically and chronologically) in the region ArchaeoFINS will show the nature and speed of change in fish consumption around the Irish and North Seas. It will demonstrate the mechanisms behind these shifts, re-centring the Atlantic Archipelago in the narratives of migration and changing foodways in the Middle Ages. ArchaeoFINS will scientifically confirm debates over the Fish Event Horizon in Europe and challenge perceptions of its catalyst, which can now be achieved due to the advances in biomolecular archaeology.
In addition to my current Leverhulme Trust funded project ArchaeoFINS I am involved in these collaborative projects focused on early medieval communities using biomolecular archaeology:
- Ketton Quarry, Rutland, Early Medieval Cemetery project with MOLA Northampton. Partially funded through a Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society grant.
- Priory Orchard Godalming, Surrey, cemetery project with the University of Roehampton, Surrey County Archaeological Unit with NERC/NEIF radiocarbon funding.
- Understanding Iberian Transitions - Diet and Mobility in Azuqueca de Henares through the first millennium AD (BABAO grant funded).
- Women of the Conversion Period: A Biomolecular Investigation. John Fell Fund, University of Oxford. PI: Professor Helena Hamerow.
- Collaborator on Viking Age isotopic analyses in Norway with Lisa Strand, NTNU.
Knowledge Exchange and Impact
Some recent talks/events/interviews can be found here:
- GIS for Archaeologists (ARCA10086)
- Mariners, Monks and Mobility: the archaeology of the early medieval Atlantic Archipelago (ARCA10096)
- GIS and Spatial Analysis for Archaeologists (PGHC11460)
- Mariners, Monks and Mobility: the archaeology of the early medieval Atlantic Archipelago (PGHC11546)
|Name||Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Link|
|Edgson, Geoffrey||PhD||The Behaviours of Culture: A Behavioural Archaeology assessment via the Regularities and Adaptations of a culture present in their remains.||Secondary|
Currently accepting research student applications : Yes
Areas accepting Research Students in:
- (Early) medieval archaeology
- Biomolecular archaeology
- Computational archaeology (Bayesian methods and meta-analysis especially)
My full publication and research record can be viewed at: https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/en/persons/sam-leggett
Leggett S. (2022) A hierarchical meta-analytical approach to western European dietary transitions in the first millennium AD. European Journal of Archaeology. https://doi.org/10.1017/eaa.2022.23
Leggett S. and Lambert T.B. (2022) Food and Power in Early Medieval England: a lack of (isotopic) enrichment. Anglo-Saxon England. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0263675122000072.
Lambert T.B. and Leggett S. (2022) Food and Power in Early Medieval England: Rethinking Feorm. Anglo-Saxon England. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0263675122000084.
Leggett S. (2021) Migration and cultural integration in the early medieval cemetery of Finglesham, Kent through stable isotopes. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 13:171. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01429-7.
Leggett S., Rose A., Praet E., Le Roux P. (2021) Multi-tissue and Multi-isotope (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87/86Sr) data for Early Medieval Human Palaeoecology. Ecology 102(6): e03349. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3349.
Leggett S. (Pre-print) Tackling Early Medieval Dietary Transitions Using a Hierarchical and Multi-isotope Approach. https://osf.io/vktnc
Leggett S. and Praet E. (2022). “Carbon, nitrogen and oxygen isotope analysis of human and animal remains.” In: C. Chinnock (ed.) A Bronze Age barrow and Anglo-Saxon cemetery: Archaeological excavations on land adjacent to Upthorpe Road, Stanton, Suffolk. Northampton: MOLA Monograph Series.
Leggett S. (2021) Review: Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries: Kinship, community and identity. By Duncan Sayer. Current Archaeology 374(May): 57.
Leggett S. (2021) Grey Literature report for MOLA Northampton (full publication in prep): Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Strontium Isotope Analysis of Human and Animal Bone Collagen, Dentine and Tooth Enamel from the Early Medieval Cemetery at Ketton Quarry, Rutland.
Leggett S. (2020) Grey Literature report for CLASProject: Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Analysis of Human Bone and Dentine from the Early Medieval Cemetery at Whitehall Farm, Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire.
Leggett S. (2019) Review: Anglo-Saxon Literary Landscapes: Ecotheory and the Environmental Imagination. By Heide Estes. Early Medieval Europe 27(4): 594-5.
Leggett S. (2019) Review: Burial, Landscape and Identity in Early Medieval Wessex. By Kate Mees. Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association 15: 141-142.
Leggett S. (2019) Saints of North-East England, 600-1500 ed. by Margaret Coombe, Anne Mouron and Christiana Whitehead (review). Parergon 36(1): 194-195.
Leggett S. (2019) Grey Literature report for Archaeology South-East and RPS Group: Carbon, Nitrogen, Strontium and Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Human Bone Collagen, Dentine and Tooth Enamel from the Anglo-Saxon Burial at Lower Luton Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire.
Leggett S. (2019) Grey Literature report for MOLA Northampton: Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Human Bone Collagen, Dentine and Tooth Enamel from the Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Southam, Warwickshire.
Leggett S. (2019) Grey Literature report for MOLA Northampton: Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Human Bone Collagen, Dentine and Tooth Enamel from the Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at A5M1 site H, Bedfordshire.
Damman, L and Leggett S. (eds.) (2018) The Others: Deviants, Outcasts and Outsiders in Archaeology Archaeological Review from Cambridge 33(2).
Leggett, S. and Damman, L. (2018) Introduction. In: Damman, L and Leggett S. (eds.) The Others: Deviants, Outcasts and Outsiders in Archaeology Archaeological Review from Cambridge 33(2): 3-10.
Leggett, S. (2017) The Power of Place – Colonisation of the Anglo-Saxon Landscape by Royal and Religious Ideologies (An Archaeological Perspective). Journal of Literary Onomastics 6(1): Article 7.
Leggett, S. (2016) Churches and Social Power in Early Medieval Europe: Integrating Archaeological and Historical Approaches by ed. José C. Sánchez-Pardo (Review). Parergon 33(2): 167-168.
Leggett, S. (2015) Review: Tomb Treasure of the Late Middle Kingdom. The Archaeology of Female Burials. By Wolfram Grajetzki. Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association 11: 101.
Leggett, S. (2015) Review: Center and Periphery. Studies on Power in the Medieval World in Honor of William Chester Jordan. Eds: Katherine L. Jansen, G. Geltner and Anne E. Lester. Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association 11: 105.
Leggett S. (2012) Celticity: Migration or Fashion? Vexillum: The Undergraduate Journal of Classical and Medieval Studies 2.