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Department of Archaeology



I completed my BA in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in 2014, and my MA in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Sheffield in 2015. My Master's dissertation focused on the effect of the Christian conversion on perceptions of physical impairment in Anglo-Saxon England, combining information from osteology, funerary archaeology, and the historical sources.

My current research focuses on the changes in burial practices that occur across early medieval Europe in the 7th-8th century, the transition from furnished to unfurnished burial, with a particular emphasis on Anglo-Saxon England, Frankia and Alamannia. I use GIS and statistical analysis, combined with historical and anthropological theory to investigate processes of globalisation in early medieval Europe, and changing relationships between the living and the dead.

I was awarded the EAA student award at their 2017 annual meeting, for a paper which considered how perceptions of the corpse may provide an alternative means for understanding the abandonment of grave goods

Additionally, I am a site supervisor for ongoing excavations at the Viking Great army Camp at Repton, led by Dr Cat Jarman.


  • Funerary practices
  • Early Medieval Europe

My research focuses on the changes in burial practices that occur across early medieval Europe in the 7th-8th century, from furnished mixed-rite cemeteries to unfurnished inhumations around churches, with a particular emphasis on England, France, and Germany. Themes of study include Christianisation, the evolution of burial rituals, and the cultural cohesion of early medieval Europe.


Key publications: 

Brownlee, E. (2017) “In the resurrection, no weakness will remain”: perceptions of disability in Christian Anglo-Saxon England. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 32.1, 53-71

Other publications: 

Brownlee, E. (2018). Book Review, Life on the Edge: Social, Political and Religious Frontiers in Early Medieval Europe by S. Semple, C. Orsini, and S. Mui (eds). Archaeological Review from Cambridge 32.2

Teaching and Supervisions


I supervise Part IIA and IIB students for ARC26 - The North Sea in the Early Middle Ages

Research supervision: 

Supervisor: Dr Susanne Hakenbeck


Other Professional Activities

  • Co-convenor of the Medieval Archaeology Group seminars

Job Titles

PhD Student in Early Medieval Archaeology

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Archaeological Theory

Contact Details

Pembroke College


Material Culture
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: