Janet E. Kay
Janet Kay holds a B.A. in Archaeology and History from Boston University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Boston College, which was funded in its last year by an ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Her interdisciplinary work uses archaeological methods and data to study the history of early medieval Britain. Janet’s fellowship at the Society is co-sponsored by the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, and she will be affiliated with the History Department and Program in Medieval Studies. Her first book, Norse in Newfoundland, explored the relationship between the Vinland Sagas and archaeological evidence for Norse exploration in the North Atlantic. Her work can also be found in Childhood in the Past (2016) and The Welsh and the World in the Middle Ages (ed. P. Skinner, 2018). Janet’s current book project, provisionally entitled “Burying the Past and Building the Future,” looks at burial practices to study how individuals and communities negotiated their relationships with the past and with their newly-arrived neighbors in Britain’s post-Roman fifth century – a period for which there are no surviving texts. She employs ArcGIS and stable isotope analyses to focus on the uses of funerary landscapes and material culture, and argues that “ethnicity” was not a defining concept in how people from different places interacted in Britain after the end of Roman rule. Other projects she will work on as a postdoctoral fellow examine the creation of a common funerary culture along trade routes in the early medieval Irish Sea, changes in the burials of infants and dogs across the fifth century, and the relationship between chronic disease and social identity in burial. At Princeton, Janet will teach courses that combine archaeological and textual sources to study the past. In the fall of 2017, she will precept for “Civilization of the Early Middle Ages” (Helmut Reimitz), and in the spring of 2018, she will teach a course on the Viking Age.