Join us this Tuesday for our next MEMSA seminar, which will feature Peter Brown (Department of Archaeology) presenting ‘The Extreme Windstorm of A.D. 1362: Contemporary Perceptions and Responses’. The seminar will take place at the World Heritage Visitors Centre at 6 pm. We interviewed Peter about medieval windstorms, his latest adventures, and more:
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I’m from Edinburgh, U.K., and I’m in the second year of study for my Ph.D. in the Archaeology Department here at Durham. I’ve been here since my undergraduate, having completed my Masters at the end of 2014.
What brought you to Durham?
I was won over at the Undergraduate Open Day and got sucked in.
What do you love most about the medieval/early Modern period?
As an archaeologist, I am particularly interested in the medieval period because (in the UK anyway) it is really the first time that the archaeological record is accompanied by a detailed documentary record. This makes the interpretations we can make of archaeological material more nuanced than would be possible in pre- or proto-historic periods.
What does your research focus on?
My research looks at how medieval society, mainly in Britain, coped with natural disasters – particularly floods, storms and other forms of bad weather. I follow an interdisciplinary approach using archaeological and historical sources to research the topic.
What do you plan to focus on with your seminar?
My seminar looks at an extreme windstorm which occurred in January 1362 in the south of England using documentary as well as structural evidence to reconstruct how this event impacted medieval society. In particular I’ll look at how people reacted in the short term, what they thought about the occurrence of such a high magnitude storm, and how the event was remembered in the years that followed.
If you were not in academia, what would you be doing?
I’m not too sure. I do fancy living abroad for a few years to escape Britain’s bad weather, so maybe I would live somewhere sunny?
Do you have a favourite medieval/early Modern text?
At the moment it’s the Chronicle of Anonymous of Canterbury, which not only provides some very useful information for my seminar, but is also written by somebody with some very clear theological views that really shine through in the way he recounts events.