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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, Irish and Scandinavian identities in Early Medieval Britain. I am also investigating how heritage management contributes to the modern identity of regions and urban environments in Britain and the impact of heritage discoveries, interventions, preservation and representations on modern ideas of community, museums and heritage volunteering and place making.

Mercia: My research explores the negotiation, expansion, frontiers and borderlands of the Mercian kingdom and community, considering the role of metalwork in forging identity in the midlands and Welsh Marches, and how Portable Antiquities interact with the evidence of other source types. The seventh century and the later ninth century and tenth centuries were critical periods in kingdom formation, conversion to Christianity and the reformulation of English identities. My interdisciplinary research brings together objects and texts from across the Mercian midlands and neighbouring regions to examine how disparate kingdoms came together, where they embraced common markers of ‘English’ political, cultural and religious identity and where and to what extent they came to re-work their own traditions or to exclude the traditions of others.

Museums, Heritage and Public Engagement: My heritage collaborations include working with the Local Authorities, professional societies and charities, such as Castle Studies Trust and the Churches Conservation Trust around the heritage, preservation and interpretation of sites, including Shrewsbury Castle and other Medieval sites in Shrewsbury and Chester. I am also researching the lifetime and female leadership of Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, as organiser and co-editor for a conference volume on her life and legacy for the 'Aethelflaed, II00' Centennial Conference. With Diaspora's colleague Marc Scully I am also exploring the impact of archaeological discoveries such as the Staffordshire Hoard, and figures including Offa and Aethelflaed, in informing perceptions of the Anglo-Saxon past in the midlands. This research has collaborated with the Staffordshire Hoard Mercian Trail, The New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent, and Tamworth Castle Museum.

Published Work

Capper, Morn, The Shaping of Power in Anglo-Saxon England (forthcoming).

Capper Morn, 'Aethelflaed, Aethelred and Mercia: weaving widowhood and warleadership in a frontier polity', in M. Capper, C. Insley, and A. Sargent (eds) Aethelflaed Lady of the Mercians (forthcoming).

Capper, Morn, 'Treaties, frontiers and borderlands: The making and unmaking of Mercian border traditions', Offa's Dyke Journal, 5 (2023), 208-238.

Capper, Morn, 'St Guthlac and the ‘Britons’: a Mercian context', in Guthlac of Crowland: Celebrating 1300 Years (Stamford: Paul Watkins, 2020), pp. 181–213.

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).

Select Papers and Conferences:

Morn Capper (University of Chester) and Rachel Abbiss (Churches Conservation Trust), 'St Mary’s, Shrewsbury: Preserving an Historic Assemblage in the 21st Century', Church Archaeology Conference,  16 September, 2023.

Morn Capper, 'The 'Authentic' Castle Experience - Challenging Ideas of Authenticity Regarding Castles as Heritage Spaces in Ireland and Britain: Round Table', International Medieval Congress, 6 July 2023.

Morn Capper, 'People, Kin, or King?: Mercian Loyalties in the Early 10th Century', International Medieval Congress, 5 July 2022

Morn Capper, ‘Aethelflaed, the Mercians and the River Severn', Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society, January 2022

Morn Capper: 'The Hidden History of Women in Power: Conversations with Aethelflaed, Leader of the Mercians, queen, carer, coniunx', IHR Centenary, University of Chester. 7 June, 2022

Morn Capper, 'Aethelflaed, Tamworth and the heritage of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia', International Conference of Historical Geographers, 19 July 2018

Morn Capper, 'Aethelflaed, 1100'. Academic Conference, Convenor and Organising Committee, 16 July 2018

Morn Capper, 'Lost and found in Anglo-Saxon England: when do the travels of objects reflect the travels of people?'. The Impact of Diasporas, Royal Geographic Society, 17 September 2015


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