This is a quick shout-out post to celebrate the graduation at Chester Cathedral earlier this week of Dr Abigail C. Górkiewicz Downer. I was pleased and proud to see her graduate after the huge amount of work that went into her studies from 2016 to 2021.

Supervised by Dr Amy Gray Jones and myself, Abbie’s thesis was titled: Assemblages within Assemblages: Understanding Mortuary Practice through Compact Contained Assemblages. The study explores three early medieval regions’ mortuary practices, focusing on female-gendered furnished graves of the 7th century AD. Looking across Anglo-Saxon and Merovingian archaeology was a distinctive feature of the thesis, as was her focus on micro-assemblages of items found in bags, other containers and tied/suspended together when placed in graves.

I won’t attempt to summarise Abbie’s work here, but instead I will provide all the necessary links so you can explore her own work which took a distinctive and original and methodological approach to understanding early medieval grave-goods and social identities in early medieval North West Europe.

Congratulations to Abbie – especially after waiting so long for graduation to take place – and best wishes for your future!

My Archaeodeath YouTube video discussing Abbie’s thesis is here:

Also, follow and access Abbie’s work on

Also, follow Abbie on Twitter:

Here are my two TikToks from earlier this week including a brief glimpse of Abbie gowned up after graduation.