Janet Kay holds a B.A. in Archaeology and History from Boston University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Boston College. Her interdisciplinary work uses archaeological methods and data to study the history of early medieval Britain. Kay’s fellowship at the Society is co-sponsored by the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, and she is affiliated with the History Department and Program in Medieval Studies. At Princeton, she teaches courses that combine archaeological and textual sources to study the past.
Kay's first book, Norse in Newfoundland, explored the relationship between the Vinland Sagas and archaeological evidence for Norse exploration in the North Atlantic. Her current book project, provisionally entitled “Burying the Past and Building the Future,” looks at burial practices to study how people in Britain’s post-Roman fifth century – a period for which there are no surviving texts – negotiated their relationships with the past and with their newly-arrived neighbors. She employs ArcGIS and stable isotope analyses to focus on the uses of funerary landscapes and material culture, arguing that “ethnicity” was not a defining concept in how people from different places interacted in Britain after the end of Roman rule. Kay’s secondary research project examines the concept of a cosmological and physical underworld in late Roman Britain.