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Department of Archaeology



Sam’s doctoral research focuses on diet and mobility in Anglo-Saxon England. Her project investigates shifts in burial practice and cultural changes from c. 500-1000 AD using stable isotope analysis on human and faunal skeletal material.

Sam studied a BSc in Immunobiology combined with a BA (1st class honours) in Archaeology and Medieval Studies at the University of Sydney. Followed by a MA in History at the University of New England and a research MPhil in Archaeology at the University of Sydney. Her previous theses all focussed on Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian Christianisation, with her BA thesis winning the Maureen A. Byrne Prize for Best Archaeology Honours Thesis (USyd).  

She was also a laboratory demonstrator and prosector in the Faculty of Science at Sydney, as well as an Education Officer at the Nicholson Museum, and Visitor Interpretation Officer for Sydney Living Museums.

Her expertise covers a variety of archaeological science and data interpretation alongside a strong track record in medieval studies.


  • Anglo-Saxon England
  • Early Medieval Europe
  • Death and Burial
  • Stable Isotope Analysis
  • Genetics
  • Christianisation
  • Palaeodiet
  • Migration and mobility

My research focuses on utilising stable isotope analysis to investigate cultural changes in 7th century Anglo-Saxon England. Themes of this research include changes in burial practice, diet, mobility and Christianisation. It aims to compare a wide geographical sample from across England and explore the impact of religious conversion with an expanding European identity during the early medieval period.



Key publications: 

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.) (2018) 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.

Leggett S. (2012) Celticity: Migration or Fashion? Vexillum: The Undergraduate Journal of Classical and Medieval Studies 2.

Leggett S. (forthcoming) Anglo-Saxon Conversion Period Burial Practices, Ceredigion, UK: Mellen Press.

Other publications: 

Leggett S. (Forthcoming) Review of Estes, H. Anglo-Saxon Literary Landscapes: Ecotheory and the Environmental Imagination Early Medieval Europe.

Leggett S. (Forthcoming) Review of Coombe, M., Mouron, A., and Whitehead, C. (eds.), Saints of North-East England, 600-1500 Paregon.

Leggett S. (2016) Review of Sánchez-Pardo, J.C. and Shapland, M.G. (eds.) Churches and Social Power in Early Medieval Europe: Integrating Archaeological and Historical Approaches Paregon 33(2): 167-168.

Leggett S. (2015) Review of Jansen, K.L., Geltner, G., and Lester A.E. (eds.) Centre and Periphery: Studies on Power in the Medieval World in Honor of William Chester Jordan Journal of the Australian Early Medieal Association 11.

Leggett S. (2015) Review of Grajetzki, W. Tomb treasures of the Late Middle Kingdom: The Archaeology of Female Burials Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association 11.

Teaching and Supervisions


I am involved in the teaching of the following courses:

  • B1 (Humans in Biological Perspective)
  • A11/B5/PG4 (From Data to Interpretation)
  • History Paper 2 (British political history, 380-1100)
  • History Paper 7 (British economic and social history, 380-1100)
Research supervision: 

Principal Supervisor: Dr Susanne Hakenbeck

Advisor: Dr Tamsin O'Connell


Other Professional Activities

  • Member of Newnham College
  • Member of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
  • Member of the European Association of Archaeologists
  • Member of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists
  • Member of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology
  • Member of the Viking Society for Northern Research
  • Member of the Australian Early Medieval Association
  • Member of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
  • Member of the Cambridge Philosophical Society

Job Titles

PhD Student in Archaeology

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Human Population Biology and Health
Biomolecular Archaeology

Contact Details

Newnham College
Sidgwick Avenue


Person keywords: 
Early Medieval
Science, Technology and Innovation
Material Culture
Rethinking Complexity
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: