My latest journal article is a reinterpretation of the ‘West Kirby hogback’. As such, it is my third publication on hogbacks, the first out in my 2015 co-edited book on Early Medieval Stone Monuments, and following my second in a special issue of the European Journal of Archaeology out this summer. Called ‘Clumsy and Illogical’? Reconsidering the West Kirby Hogback, it is now out in the latest volume of The Antiquaries Journal (vol. 96). Here is the abstract:
This paper presents a fresh reading of a significant early medieval recumbent stone monument from West Kirby, Merseyside (formerly Cheshire). Rather than being a single-phased hogback, later subject to damage, it is argued that West Kirby 4 might have been carved in successive phases, possibly by different hands. It is suggested that the carvers had different abilities and/or adapted their work in response to the time pressures of a funeral or a shift in the location or function of the stone. While a single explanation for the character of the West Kirby monument remains elusive, the article proposes that, rather than ‘clumsy and illogical’, the stone was more likely a coherent but experimental, distinctive and asymmetrical, multi-phased and/or multi-authored creation. Through a review of the monument’s historiography and a reappraisal of the details and parallels of its form, ornament and material composition, the paper reconsiders the commemorative significance of this recumbent stone monument for the locality, region and understanding of Viking Age sculpture across the British Isles. As a result, West Kirby’s importance as an ecclesiastical locale in the Viking Age is reappraised.
If you don’t have access to the journal, you can at least read about my preliminary ideas on this blog here:
- Visiting the West Kirby Hogback 2014
- West Kirby Hogback – Merseyside Archaeological Society Talk 2015
- Inside the West Kirby Hogback