(Posted March 14, 2016)

Robin Fleming, professor of history at Boston College
Robin Fleming, professor of history at Boston College

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Not all history is found in the dusty pages of books. In fact, Robin Fleming, professor of history at Boston College, has revealed the life of medieval peasants by examining the physical traces of their possessions and will talk on "Who was Buried in Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries?" at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The talk is free and open to the public. The lecture is part of the Delbert McQuaide Lectureship in history and is sponsored by the history department.

Fleming's talk will rethink who were the people buried in early medieval cemeteries in England. She will cover what their lives were like, what they ate and how they lived. She will discuss how she uses the methods of historians to re-examine archaeological artifacts such as women's grave goods, skeletal remains, and the oxygen and nitrogen isotopes that remained trapped in their tooth enamel to define how medieval peasants lived their lives.

Fleming is the author of "Britain After Rome: The Fall and Rise of the Middle Ages, c. 400-c. 1050," published in 2011, as well as "Kings and Lords in Conquest England" (1991) and "Domesday Book and the Law: Society and Legal Custom in Early Medieval England" (1998).

In her studies and books, Fleming looks beyond the written records, which were mostly focused on ruling elites, and attempts to piece together how all parts of medieval society lived by studying bones, pottery fragments, buckles and other possessions unearthed by archaeologists.

Fleming looks beyond the written records and attempts to piece together how all parts of medieval society lived by studying bones, pottery fragments, buckles and other possessions unearthed by archaeologists.


By examining what people used to live, Fleming can offer insights into how people traded, worshipped and lived. Through her books and presentations, Fleming can often illuminate the daily life of the peasants and lower-class elites of the Dark Ages.


As a result of her research and books, she received a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant in 2012.


Fleming started her academic career at Boston College in 1989 as an assistant professor. She was promoted to associate professor in 1992 and to full professor in in 1998. She is currently chair of the history department at Boston College.


She earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1977 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She went on to earn a doctorate in history in 1984 from the same institution.

Fleming has published numerous scholarly papers and articles in a variety of professional journals. She is a member of the Medieval Society of America, the Charles Homer Haskins Society, the Royal Historical Society and American Historical Association.

The Delbert McQuaide Lectureship in History Series was established by Delbert McQuaide, a 1958 Juniata College graduate. He was a senior partner at McQuaide Blasko Law Offices in State College and served as general counsel for Penn State University and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. He was president of the Centre County Bar Association, and a member of the Pennsylvania, and American Bar Associations and the National Association of College and University Attorneys. McQuaide was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1994 and served as chairman from 1996 until his death in 1997.

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.