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July 26, 2014


Bonnie Effros ( University of Florida

Trained as an early medieval historian, I began my career looking at burial practice in Merovingian Gaul from historical and archaeological perspective as a way of better understanding the cultural mores and rituals of the post-Roman world. This work was published as two books: Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages (University of California 2003) and Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World (Penn State 2002)I also studied feasting and fasting and their connection to the expression of gender and spirituality in late antique/early medieval communities in Gaul, published as Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul (Palgrave 2002).

Over time, however, I have become increasingly interested in the nineteenth-century circumstances that shaped antiquarian and archaeological research of the Middle Ages and how these outlooks continue to shape our work today. This larger project resulted in a book, Uncovering the Germanic Past: Merovingian Archaeology in France, 1830-1914 (Oxford 2012), and a number of journal articles and book chapters on related subjects listed on my page and on my university website at

I am currently writing a book entitled Incidental Archaeologists: French Officers and the Rediscovery of Roman North Africa, 1830-1870, which assesses the practical and ideological role of Roman archaeology – and ancient Rome more generally – during the first forty years of the French conquest and settlement of Algeria. This project brings to light the intersection between violence, archaeology, and classical narratives and how they shaped the colonial enterprise in North Africa.

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