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Title: Monks, myths and multi-vocality : presenting the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey
Author: Smith, Rhianedd
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the complex significance of Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, and puts forward a new interpretation strategy for the site. It sits alongside the Glastonbury Abbey Archaeological Excavation Archive Project, which is reinterpreting the unpublished records 0137 seasons of fieldwork at the site (Gilchrist and Green to be published 2013). In this thesis I explore the ways in which the site's intangible cultural heritage has influenced the interpretation of archaeological data. Since the medieval period Glastonbury Abbey has been the focal point for a complex nexus of myths e.g. it is famed as the burial place of King Arthur and the site of the first church in England, built by Joseph of Arimathea. The revival of these myths in the late 19th century by the 'Avalonians' reignited spiritual interest in the site and the town. Glastonbury has continued to 'call' people who connect to its spiritual energy, and today it is a haven of alternative culture and spirituality. , This research explores the potential for the wider application of'multi-vocal' archaeological techniques used at contested prehistoric ites such as c;atalh6yuk and Stonehenge (Hodder 2000; Bender 1998). It represents an example of ' hybrid fieldwork', using ethnographic and heritage techniques to examine the social impact of archaeological research (Meske11201 0). This kind of research has largely been championed outside of the UK, and is rarely applied to medieval and/or Christian sites. Using ethnographic interviews, this thesis examines the contemporary significance of the site, and explores the ethical challenges that this presents for archaeologists and heritage professionals. It concludes by interrogating the academic and public representations of medieval monasteries and asks how we might innervate practice whilst respecting the views of spiritual stakeholders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available