For my Society for Church Archaeology talk of 3 June 2021 (which you can VIEW HERE), I presented a talk about the intriguing 10th/early 11th-century recumbent carved stone monuments known traditionally as ‘hogbacks’. Titled ‘Viking-Age Hogback Stones: Citations and Exceptions, I tackled the variability and significance of these much studied yet still-enigmatic monuments.
Those familiar with this blog may know my past posts about these monuments, discussing specific monuments, their significance and functions in the early medieval period and their legacies for church heritage today. For example, check out my posts on Brompton, You’ll also be aware I’ve 3 publications dedicated to these hogbacks, and a few more in preparation.
Williams, H. 2015. Hogbacks: the materiality of solid spaces, in H. Williams, J. Kirton and M. Gondek (eds) Early Medieval Stone Monuments: Materiality, Biography, Landscape. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, pp. 241-68 http://www.boydellandbrewer.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=14947
Williams, H. 2016. Citations in stone: the material world of hogbacks, European Journal of Archaeology 19(3) 497-518. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14619571.2016.1186910
Williams, H. 2016. “Clumsy and illogical”? Reconsidering the West Kirby hogback, The Antiquaries Journal 96, 69–100 https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003581516000664
My hogback YouTube video can be viewed here.
Yet, I’ve only presented occasionally about hogbacks at conferences in recent years. The SCA presentation gave me an opportunity to briefly review my published work and identify a series of further themes as yet still in preparation.
I introduced hogbacks by reviewing my work on their materiality as ‘solid spaces’. I then discussed hogbacks’ significance in a Viking world of material citations.
I then explored the distinctive nature of the West Kirby and Heysham hogbacks before turning to Brompton to discuss how hogbacks cited each other via their form and ornamentation: a genealogy for burial sites where multiple examples co-occur.
I then presented a discussion of the bears from Brompton and elsewhere and concluded by reflecting on how hogbacks are being deployed in church public archaeology and heritage from Govan to West Kirby.
Thanks to the Society for Church Archaeology for the invitation to speak and to Dr Hugh Willmott for introducing me as a ‘leading light’ in my field and a ‘notorious TikToker’! Apparently 162 folks tuned in for my talk!