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About Dr Morn Capper

I have worked in the heritage sector in museum education at Sheffield Museums and Galleries Trust and contributed to major gallery teams and exhibitions at the British Museum and Birmingham Museums Trust. I acted as a specialist curatorial advisor to the Staffordshire Hoard gallery at Birmingham Museums Trust, 2011-2014. I also undertake curatorial consultancy and public engagement work.

My research investigates the development of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia and relations with its neighbours (political, cultural, social and economic), while also exploring the wider impact of archaeological discoveries and relics from the Medieval past on people, places and communities in the modern day. My current research analyses how relations of power interacted with regional identity and culture during the making of Mercian hegemony over Anglo-Saxon England, and questions Mercian lordship and frontiers under the rulers Aethelred and Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians.

Prior to joining the University of Chester I was a Research Associate with ‘The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain’, a Leverhulme-funded, cross-disciplinary, project exploring the impact of the movement of people on the making of Britain in the first Millennium AD through evidence from archaeology to modern heritage and identity.  

My current partnership exploring the life and heritage of Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, has developed outputs including a travelling exhibition and public conference re-evaluating her legacy in 2018 at Tamworth Castle Museum, working with partners at the Universities of Manchester and Keele. I am keen to develop sustainable heritage partnerships between universities, museums and other researchers, and with communities, taking a lead role in the Shrewsbury Castle Project and excavations. I am also interested in investigating the impact of museums and heritage collections, management and volunteering on heritage sustainability and in cross-disciplinary networks linking researchers with academic, professional and skilled amateur expertise.


I contribute to the following undergraduate modules:

  • The Making of Britain: From Roman Province to Modern Nation
  • Constructing Histories
  • Public History and Heritage
  • Debates in History
  • The Norman Conquest – A Statement in Stone
  • Professional Practice (Experiential Learning)
  • History Dissertation
  • History, Heritage and the Media
  • The Making of Anglo-Saxon England, c.757-975

I contribute to teaching on the following postgraduate modules:

  • The Theory and History of Western Warfare
  • Research Skills in History
  • Research Skills in Heritage
  • Heritage and the Built Environment
  • Heritage Practice
  • Collections Management
  • Interpretation Practice
  • Research Projects (Museums Practice) (Heritage Practice)
  • Research Dissertation


I am interested in the interaction between regions and between Anglo-Saxon, British and Irish identities in Early Medieval Britain. I am also investigating how heritage contributes to modern identity in Britain.

My recent research has explored the role of metalwork in forging identity in the midlands and how this intersects with the evidence of other sources. The seventh century was a critical time in kingdom formation, the conversion to Christianity and the making of English identity. This research brings together objects from across the region to examine how disparate kingdoms came to embrace common markers of ‘English’ political and religious identity and where and to what extent they came to exclude the traditions of others.

With Diaspora's colleague Marc Scully I have been exploring the impact of archaeological discoveries such as the Staffordshire Hoard on perceptions of the Anglo-Saxon past in the midlands. This study works in collaboration with the Staffordshire Hoard Mercian Trail and in partnership with The New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent in support of their 'Hoard' festival of plays.

Areas of MRes and MPhil/PhD Supervision

  • Museum Studies / Museums Practice and Collections Management (all areas)
  • Analysis of Historic buildings, sites and collections (whether monuments, statues, churches, castles, Historic Houses, Prisons to Military Museums)
  • Sustainability, inclusion, education or wellbeing as approaches to specific Collections, Museums, Historic townscapes, Heritage Sites or Portable Antiquities
  • Early Medieval Mercia and its successors, its ideologies, institutions, borderlands, neighbours, economy and interactions (400-1200)
  • 'Anglo-Saxon' kingdoms and societies: leadership, ideology, military and gender roles, heritage and re-enactment
  • Women war leaders before 1600
  • Medieval collections and tangible/intangible heritage in relation to Modern identities (from Wales, the Midlands and Marches to International and World Heritage)

Published Work

Capper, Morn, 'St Guthlac and the ‘Britons’: a Mercian context', in Guthlac of Crowland: Celebrating 1300 Years (Stamford, United Kingdom: Paul Watkins, forthcoming 2019).

M. Capper and M. Scully, 'Ancient objects with modern meanings: museums, volunteers and the Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold as markers of 21st century regional identity', Ethnic and Racial Studies 39.02 (2016), 181-203.

Morn D. T. Capper, ‘Contested Loyalties: Regional and National Identities in the Midland Kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, c.700 – c.900’. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sheffield, 2008 (In preparation).

‘Titles and Troubles: Conceptions of Mercian Royal Authority in Eighth- and Ninth-Century Charters’, in Problems and Possibilities of Early Medieval Diplomatic, J. Jarrett and Alan Scott McKinley, eds (Turnhout, 2013).

'Prelates and Politics: Wilfrid's Influence in the Kingdoms of the East Midlands and East Anglia', in St Wilfrid: Bishop of York, Abbot of Ripon and Hexham, N.J. Higham and R.A. Hall, eds (Donnington, 2012).

‘The Practical Implications of Interdisciplinary Research in Anglo-Saxon East Anglia’ in Approaching Interdisciplinarity, Caroline Smith & Zoë Devlin, eds, British Archaeological Reports, Brit. Ser. 486 (Oxford, 2009).


BA (Sheffield), MA (Sheffield), PhD (Sheffield), Curatorial Diploma (The British Museum, London), FHEA.