History Professor Presents at Symposium

Bailey Young, Distinguished Professor of History, was one of five international scholars invited to present a paper on October 10, 2015 a Memorial Symposium for Fredric L. Cheyette: “Land, Law and Lordship in Medieval France” held at Amherst College (Amherst, MA), co-sponsored by the Trustees of Amherst College, the History Department, and the Harvard Interdisciplinary Committee on Medieval Studies.

symposium amherst

Professor Young’s presentation, entitled “Fred and Archaeology” was focused on Fred’s last scholarly project, an investigation of the possible role of climate change into the fall of the Roman Empire and the development of a distinctive landscape and economy in Medieval Europe that foreshadowed the emergence of the modern world.  One of America’s most distinguished medieval scholars, a Fellow of the Medieval Academy and Professor of History at Amherst 1963-2005, Cheyette had invited Young’s collaboration in assessing recent archaeological evidence in France over the past decade and, when too weakened by cancer to continue, turned over to him his notes with an invitation to carry it on.

The Medieval Academy of America has accepted Dr. Young’s proposal to include a session featuring three prominent French medieval archaeologists presenting recent developments in environmental archaeology at the its upcoming Annual Meeting to be held in Boston in February, 2016.

History Faculty Present at EurHo Rural History Conference in Girona, Spain

From the desk of Bailey Young:
Among the roughly 450 participants in the bi-annual EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain last week (September 7-10, 2015) were not one but two dauntless members of the EIU History Department, Drs. Deb Reid and B.K. Young, taking the scholarly partnership they launched with a successful Presidential Fund for Research and Creative Activity (PFRCA) in 2014 to a new level.  Though the Eur (for Europe) in EurHo accurately reflects its origins and continuing leadership, the scope of this prestigious meeting of  scholars of rural studies is truly global, with scholars attending from all over, and case studies from every continent featured.  

Dr. Deb Reid and Dr. B.K. Young at the EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain.

Dr. Deb Reid and Dr. B.K. Young at the EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain.

Dr. Reid was particularly active at this, her third EurHo conference:  presenting a paper on Race in a terrific panel devoted to the American South and West in the 19th and 20th centuries, and serving as one of three museum experts (the other two were from Spain and England) invited to offer, as the very last event of the conference, a keynote on the problems and potential of museums in preserving the rural heritage in the 21st century.  It was also at her initiative that an entire panel devoted the Walhain project was organized, with Dr. Young sketching the preliminary conclusions to be drawn from the first 15 years of excavation, while she drew attention to their implications for the long-term study of rural landscape, economy and social history in the heart of northwest Europe’s fertile farmlands.  

Finally Adam and Annie Tock Morrissette, both recent EIU MA  here making their international scholarly debut, presented a paper discussing the exciting new perspectives GIS can bring to this study.  An unexpected bonus: our visit to this very picturesque medieval Catalan town (narrow winding cobblestone streets, soaring Gothic cathedral, the old town huddled within lofty ramparts) coincided with the filming of Game of Thrones, the
absolute favorite of our student excavators at Walhain!

EIU History Professor Featured in Medieval Cathedral Exhibit

Dr. Bailey K. Young is one of the experts (the only one from North America) featured in a special exhibition opening this month in Tournai Cathedral (Belgium), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The exhibition presents to the general public, for the first time, the results of fifteen years (1996-2011) of archaeological study and excavation of one of Europe’s most celebrated medieval cathedrals, in its present form a mixed Romanesque (nave) and Gothic (choir) monument.

The outside of Tournai Cathedral with its Romanesque nave and soaring transept towers (dating to the 12th century), from the busy marketplace

The outside of Tournai Cathedral with its Romanesque nave and soaring transept towers (dating to the 12th century), from the busy marketplace

The excavations by the CRAN (National Archaeological Research Center) of the Université catholique de Louvain  have revealed that it was preceded on the site by six major earlier cathedrals and churches over some eight centuries, the first –an Early Christian basilica– built upon a Late Roman elite residence.  Among the particularly exciting discoveries are a step-in baptismal pool dating to the Carolingian era (ca. 800 A.D.) and the intact tombs of two 11th century bishops, who are well-known in written sources, wearing episcopal garb.

The inside of the Gothic choir (13th century)—this part has been closed to the general public since an earthquake in 2001 led to an ongoing stabilization program, as the scaffolds attest.

The inside of the Gothic choir (13th century)—this part has been closed to the general public since an earthquake in 2001 led to an ongoing stabilization program, as the scaffolds attest.

 

The CRAN is EIU’s partner in the excavation of Walhain Castle, and every year Dr. Young has brought cohorts of students from his Summer Archaeology Program in Belgium to see the progress of these excavations, with a tour by the leading archaeologist.

Dr. Bailey Young with two EIU students from the 2006 group: Jeremy Daly, a Junior History major and Niccole Hurley, a graduated (Honors) major then in our M.A. program.  She went on to get a law degree in St. Louis, where she currently practices.

Dr. Bailey K. Young with two EIU students from the 2006 group: Jeremy Daly, a Junior History major and Niccole Hurley, a graduated (Honors) major then in our M.A. program. She went on to get a law degree in St. Louis, where she currently practices.

Even when the cathedral was closed to the general public for restoration work we got a key for an exclusive visit—indeed, one year we were almost locked in!  Professor Young has also translated the fifteen explanatory panels and photo captions into English, and translated the English summary for the three-volume excavation report just published (2014).  The exhibition will be open throughout the year and into 2015.

EIU’s Walhain-Saint-Paul Project Study Abroad Underway in Belgium

Dr. Bailey K. Young has partnered with the Catholic University in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, since 1998, offering a one-month immersion experience in historical archaeology — The Walhain-Saint-Paul Project Study Abroad.

The students completes paperwork as Bailey K. Young looks on (Photo: Debra Reid).

The students completes paperwork as Bailey K. Young looks on (photo: Debra Reid).

The 2014 dig runs from June 28 through July 25 and includes two students from EIU (Nathanial Rees, History, and Bradley Ogilvie, Computer Science) and ten students from nine other universities (alphabetically: Colby College (Maine), Fordham University (NYC), Ohio Wesleyan University, Portland State University; two from the University of Chicago, University of Delaware; University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; University of York, England; Wittenberg University.

Laurent Verslype, director of the Centre de recherches d'archéologie  nationale (CRAN), headquartered at the Université catholique de Louvain) in Louvain-la-Neuve, orients students to the site on June 30, 2014, while his students dig on the medieval residence behind him. (photo: Debra Reid)

Laurent Verslype, director of the Centre de recherches d’archéologie nationale (CRAN), headquartered at the Université catholique de Louvain) in Louvain-la-Neuve, orients students to the site on June 30, 2014, while his students dig on the medieval residence behind him. (photo: Debra Reid)

 

The EIU students received some financial assistance to participate this year, thanks to a Presidential Research & Creative Activity Fund grant awarded to  co-investigators, Bailey K. Young, director of the Walhain project, and Debra A. Reid, to launch a three-year project focused on the rural and agricultural history of the site.

Bailey K. Young orienting students to the features in the Renaissance  portion of the Walhain Castle using a map color coded to the stone types,  prepared by Erika Weinkauf, PhD student at the CRAN and field director of  the excavation (photo: Debra Reid)

Bailey K. Young orienting students to the features in the Renaissance portion of the Walhain Castle using a map color coded to the stone types, prepared by Erika Weinkauf, PhD student at the CRAN and field director of the excavation (photo: Debra Reid)

Reid is also working with Historical Administration student Amanda Hursch to partially fulfill her internship requirement while developing a comprehensive feasibility study for the site’s interpretation and fine-tuning two grant applications).

Amanda Hursch works on clearing a foundation in preparation for future  excavation (Photo: Debra Reid).

Amanda Hursch works on clearing a foundation in preparation for future excavation (photo: Debra Reid).

History graduate program alumns Annie Tock and her husband, Adam Morrisette joined the dig to work on digital humanities components to further the dream of site interpretation. Three more weeks remain, and the future seems bright for finding new features and increasing the data about this important medieval site.

Bailey K. Young and Dana Best-Mizsak, site supervisor and field  laboratory director, conferring over a find   unearthed by Luke Bretscher, University of Chicago. (Photo: Debra Reid)

Bailey K. Young and Dana Best-Mizsak, site supervisor and field laboratory director, conferring over a find unearthed by Luke Bretscher, University of Chicago. (photo: Debra Reid)

You can follow the progress of the dig at The Walhain Saint-Paul Project’s facebook site.

Dr. Young and Dr. Reid Awarded President’s Fund for Research and Creative Activity Grant

Dr. Bailey K. Young and Dr. Debra A. Reid have been awarded a PFRCA grant to support their collaborative project, “Walhain: Landscape of Domination. The Origins and Transformations of a  Medieval Lordship,”  which will expand the Walhain archaeological site into a major site for investigation into agrarian and rural history.

walhain

Dr. Bailey Young has managed an international project to document an early medieval farming estate on the south side of Walhain-Saint-Paul, Belgium since 1998. The project has involved 110 undergraduate and 8 graduate students from 62 universities, including 12 undergraduate and 6 graduate students from EIU, over these years. These students have worked on excavations led by faculty from at least four universities, but Dr. Bailey Young has provided intellectual direction as well as instruction to students through study abroad experiences for all 15 years. The international partnership has allowed students unique opportunities to engage with faculty through archaeological field work, artifact stabilization and documentation through lab work, coursework in medieval history and culture, and research into written evidence of the early middle ages. The project has continued due to Dr. Young’s commitment, diversified fundraising, and international networks, all critical to sustaining the project.

The Walhain Project, since its inception in 1998, has pursued two linked goals: to provide a unique, interdisciplinary study abroad experience in medieval archaeology, and to conduct an innovative international research program centered on the excavation of Walhain Castle (near Louvain-la-Neuve, Brabant Wallon).  It has been largely financed, through 2012, through the fees paid by the American students signed up for the Summer Archaeology Program in Belgium, administered by the School of Continuing Education at
Eastern Illinois University (EIU).  The Centre de Recherches d’Archéologie Nationale (CRAN), based at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-la-Neuve, our principal partner in this project, has contributed its infra-structure, expertise, and personnel to make the four-week excavation which is at the heart of the academic program possible. UCL students have also worked regularly alongside the American students, further enriching the Study Abroad experience.

WSP_Team_2010 (2)

The 2014 study abroad experience marks an expansion in goals that will enhance the site’s prestige by showcasing evidence of agriculture as practiced by the pre-modern peasants on an early lordship. It will also build on the local initiative to protect the property with a feasibility study to launch an interpretive center and institute to study pre-modern
agriculture.

The European Rural History Organization (Eur-Ho) began in 2010, dedicated to European rural and agricultural history. The second conference, convened in Bern, Switzerland in September 2013, provided a forum for medieval scholars to converse about diverse definitions of the uneven origins of lordships in the middle ages, and the factors that affected the ways lords and other religious or political units administered the landscape that fed the population. Dr. Reid has been involved in this organization from the beginning, and the board has selected Louvain, Belgium, as the site of the 2017 meeting. This will be the perfect opportunity to feature the by then twenty-year international partnership that preserved, documented, and interpreted what is a relatively rare early medieval site. This conference will provide the opportunity to engage in an international dialog about the history of food and politics, the consequences to the landscape and environment, and to the evolution of agricultural markets and market systems over time

Dr. Young publishes encylopedia article on Medieval Archaeology in France

Dr. Bailey Young’s article  “France, Medieval Archaeology in”  is now available online in Claire Smith (ed),  Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer Science + Business Media (New York, 2014).

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You can access the entire encyclopedia, including Professor Young’s article, through the Booth Library website. Visit the library’s Ebooks page here, click on the link for Springer eBooks: Reference Works, sign in, and then search for the encyclopedia.

Bailey Old and Young

Bailey K. Young is very familiar with the Metro system in Paris, where over the years he dug up many an old bone and brushed the dirt off many an old stone when he wasn’t attending classes on Merovingian archaeology (and later teaching them).  But put him on the London Underground, en route for the Roman and Medieval treasures stored up in the Museum of London (just up the way from St. Paul’s Cathedral), and what does he come upon but a sign that might be taken as a hint he is no longer as young as he once
was.  Egad!

Professor Young takes a hint in the London Underground

Professor Young taking a hint from London Underground signage (Spring 2013)

Professor Young, accompanied by his wife Christine (formerly of Paris, not the one in Illinois), was teaching last semester at Harlaxton College in Lincolnshire (they call it the Presentation Term there).  One of the joys of that term was being able to show his students sites like Stonehenge, as you see him doing here:

Professor Young at Stonehenge

Young at Old Monument (Stonehenge, Spring 2013)

How old?  For more information on the latest conclusions on the history and chronology of Stonehenge sign up for his Archaeology of Early Europe class!