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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2017 with a MA(Hons) in Ancient and Medieval history, writing a dissertation exploring gendered performances of power in Ottonian Italy, for which I was awarded a Rev AEL Paterson Prize and a Helen Philip Memorial Prize. I continued my research on early medieval Europe during my MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UCL, supported by a Baxendale Trust Award. My Master's thesis was dedicated to socio-cultural constructions of space and power within a conflict setting in twelfth-century Portugal. These themes have informed my doctoral research, alongside a focus on material culture fostered by four years of fieldwork at archaeological sites in Italy and Georgia.

Supervised by Dr Caroline Goodson, my PhD research investigates episodes of deliberate destruction of residences in Italian medieval cities, to understand how the destruction of homes and towers intersected with civic life. It aims at achieving an in-depth understanding of why certain groups or individuals in the middle ages chose to destroy their neighbours' or their rivals' residences, and of the impact these actions had on the owners of the buildings and on the urban communities which were their witnesses. It argues that this type of violent modification of the urban fabric was a strategic political tool in the cities examined. Studying these manipulations of the city gives us insights in the socio-cultural construction (and destruction) of authority and the close link between the urban fabric and the legitimacy of power. 

 Other academic interests

Anglo-Saxon history and archaeology
Burial archaeology 
Palaeography and manuscript studies 


Key publications: 

G. Bellato, 'Scribes, Kings, and a Roll Chronicle: Dating and Provenance of British Library, Add. MS. 30029', eBLJ (2019), art. 4, pp. 1-8

Department: Faculty of History
Supervisor: Dr Caroline Goodson
College: Trinity
AHRC subject area: Medieval History
Title of thesis: The Deliberate Destruction of Urban Residences in Medieval Italy, 800-1200.
 Giulia  Bellato