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Anthropology Department
New York University
25 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003

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Katherine Mc Cullough French


Ph.D. Candidate in Archaeological Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, New York University


M.A. 2010, Anthropology, New York University
M.Phil 2008, European Archaeology, University of Oxford
B.A. 2006, Medieval Studies, Georgetown University

Contact Information:

  • E-mail: kcm317@nyu.edu

Downloadable CV

Research Interests:

I am dedicated to interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the medieval world, particularly 350-1100 A.D. in England. As a zooarchaeologist, my central focus is the changing human/animal social dynamic throughout the medieval period in the face of the Conversion to Christianity and the return of urbanism. In all cases, I try to weave together evidence from Old English literature, law codes, available histories and archaeology.

In this spirit of interdisciplinarity, I am also interested in the ways in which methods developed in the physical and forensic anthropology communities contribute to bioarchaeological studies of medieval populations. I was lucky enough to train with Dr. Christian Crowder as a visiting researcher at the Forensic Anthropology Lab at the New York Medical Examiner’s office. My concentration was the study of bone on the histological, or tissue, level of analysis.

Although medieval archaeology is my main passion, I also am a North American archaeology enthusiast and committed to the cause of cultural and historical resource preservation in the United States. I have conducted fieldwork and submitted NHPA compliance reports at Crater Lake National Park, Whiskeytown Recreation Area, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. I also spent a summer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science assisting with NAGPRA compliance and training under Dr. Chip Cowell- Chanthaphonh in the new regulations for unaffiliated human remains.

Current Research:

My dissertation research explores the roles different animal species played in early medieval cremation rites in England during the fifth to seventh centuries A.D. To date, I have reanalyzed cremains from Wasperton, Bidford-on-Avon, and Alveston Manor – all mixed rite cemetery sites in Warwickshire. Over the course of the next year, I will be reanalyzing a number of other sites in the English Midlands. Through these data, I am hoping to explore the variability or consistency of “pagan” burial practices across the English landscape by comparing my newly produced data with well-known published large cemeteries in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire.

Conference Presentations:

  • French, K.M. (Forthcoming, May 2014). “Graveside Feasting in Anglo-Saxon England: pagan tradition and Christian taboo.” 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies May 8-11, 2014. Paper accepted in Foodways Session I, organized by Dr. Valerie Allen.
  • McCullough, K. 2013. “Interspecies Cremations in the Pagan World: new evidence from the English Midlands.” Conference on Medieval Archaeology. Cortland, NY. Paper given October 5, 2013.
  • McCullough, K. 2012. “Theorizing Paganism in the Early Medieval Period.” Session: Theory in Medieval Archaeology, organized by Dr. Pam Crabtree. Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) USA. Buffalo, NY. Paper given May 24, 2012
  • McCullough, K. 2011. “Is there a single Early Anglo-Saxon Culture? Regional Differences in England c.450-600 A.D. The Culture of Early Anglo-Saxon England. Anglo-Saxon Studies Colloquium, New York, NY, New York University. Paper given April 29, 2011.
  • McCullough K. 2010. “Cattle as Wealth in Anglo-Saxon England. What is Bettre than Gold?: Economies and Values in the Middle Ages. Columbia University Medieval Guild, New York, NY, Columbia University. Paper given October 22, 2010.