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Tending the 'contested' castle garden: sowing seeds of feminist thought

Dempsey, Karen ORCID: 2021. Tending the 'contested' castle garden: sowing seeds of feminist thought. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 31 (2) , pp. 265-279. 10.1017/S0959774320000463

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Medieval women are typically portrayed as secluded, passive agents within castle studies. Although the garden is regarded as associated with women there has been little exploration of this space within medieval archaeology. In this paper, a new methodological framework is used to demonstrate how female agency can be explored in the context of the lived experience of the medieval garden. In particular, this study adopts a novel approach by focusing on relict plants at some medieval castles in Britain and Ireland. Questions are asked about the curation of these plants and the associated social practices of elite women, including their expressions of material piety, during the later medieval period. This provides a way of questioning the ‘sacrality’ of medieval gardening which noblewomen arguably used as a devotional practice and as a means to further their own bodily agency through sympathetic medicine.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0959-7743
Date of Acceptance: 9 November 2020
Last Modified: 16 May 2023 08:30

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