Bodiam Castle: Lived Experience and Political Ecology

Author(s): Matthew Johnson

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "The State of the Art in Medieval European Archaeology: New Discoveries, Future Directions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This paper discussed the results of buildings and landscape survey at Bodiam Castle, SE England, 2010-2015. Bodiam is a much discussed site, a classic case study in the 'defense versus status' debate in castle studies. Our project moved beyond this false and misleading binary framing of a tired 'controversy' to engage with more meaningful anthropological issues. It focused on understanding the lived experience and political ecology of Bodiam. We sought to place Bodiam in its landscape context, and understand its importance as a place over the very long term, from prehistory to the present. We worked at a series of scales, for example: building survey and digital reconstruction of the appearance, details and furnishings of the interior; tracing the landscape of work and daily routines that surrounded the castle through topographical and geophysical survey; to identifying flows of goods, animals and humans around the regional and maritime context of SE England and beyond. The theoretical framing of the project thus linked the immediacy of lived experience on the one hand to the long-term political ecology of the site in its landscape context on the other.

Cite this Record

Bodiam Castle: Lived Experience and Political Ecology. Matthew Johnson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451286)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -13.711; min lat: 35.747 ; max long: 8.965; max lat: 59.086 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22917