Introducing Samantha Leggett

helllloooo internets!

Another one! Who on earth are you?

I’m the baby of the group – my name’s Samantha (Sam) Leggett and after a long double degree I’m finally finishing my undergrad and beginning to embark upon the wide world of academia. I’m currently writing up my honours thesis and have completed a BSc in Immunobiology and a BA in archaeology and medieval studies. I’m also a coeliac who is attempting to write another blog (thesis procrastination) about my GF travels with pretty medieval sites included too. Primarily though I’m a medieval archaeologist with specialty training in molecular techniques and anatomy – woooo sciencey stuff!

What’s a medieval archaeologist doing in Australia?

Well…. good question! I’m Australian, Sydney-sider born and bred. And I couldn’t pay international student fees/Sydney Uni is just so gosh darn pretty, so I stayed in Aus for my undergrad after high school. To be honest I planned to be far more sensible and just do medieval studies as an indulgence major, and then they pulled me in, I married it with my archaeology and have never looked back.

Where did you study?

I’ve completed both my degrees at the University of Sydney, like Amy and Kiera, and its been a blast. However, I did do something which I would recommend to any aspiring Australian Medievalist – I went on exchange to the UK. I studied for a semester at the University of Sheffield which gave me amazing insight into the archaeology of the region on a first-hand basis and could bounce my ideas off specialists, which is invaluable. And don’t ask me where I’m going to study next year – my brain hurts too much from my current thesis to choose.

What’s your research area?

Well my honours thesis is currently titled (and this may change between now and October) – ‘Mucking it up’: The Influence of church, kingship and trade on the Conversion-Period cemeteries in Anglo-Saxon England c. 597-800 A.D.

Essentially I’m comparing Anglo-Saxon cemeteries from the conversion period that are from different kingdoms and different settlement types to investigate secular versus ecclesiastical power in the early medieval period. I’m finding some cool stuff, just saying… but you’ll have to wait until its finished for more.

Early medieval socio-political and religious relations and change is my focus on a very broad scale. BUT I also do love issues of ethnicity in late antiquity and the early middles ages… let’s avoid going down the rabbit hole for now though.

So that science degree of yours… what’s that all about?

Ah that old thing! (not really, I only finished it last year) Well I was always pegged as the science girl back in high-school, and don’t get me wrong it fascinates me – but to be honest this was only because science education initiatives had more money thrown at them, and hence I got to go on a bunch of fun camps like Forensic Camp (yes that’s a thing) and the National Youth Science Forum. What these camps did show me was that unlike at high-school real world science is very inter-disciplinary and at NYSF the then director suggested that I do a double degree so that I could incorporate the two together.

Immunobiology you say – what the heck is that? Well its a very broad major that involved a lot of cross-listing. Essentially I did a bunch of genetics (but hated biochem so I couldn’t get a Molecular Bio and Genetics major) and studied human disease – yum! But yes its true I did a genetic engineering subject and made a very pretty mutant tobacco plant – that’s medieval right?

I also did fun dead body anatomy stuff – which I included for archaeology. But I can use it ALL to study medieval populations, I think I’ve ended up with a holistic tool kit to investigate the literature, material culture, genetics and health of medieval peoples.

Do you exist outside of academia?

Why yes I do! I love sport, and whilst I don’t play at the moment, I still coach netball and T-ball. I have recently taken up recreational pole-dancing, its a challenge! And above all I LOVE to travel, and I blame the travel bug for my perpetual lack of monies for sensible things like a car or a house.

Got any gluten free cooking tips? 

SO MANY. You’ll have to check out my other blog when it finally gets up and running. Major tip – xanthan gum for baking is a must. I also make a mean risotto. I’ve also recently acquired some medieval recipes and plan to try them out GF-style, it’ll probably be a disaster.

Wanna stalk me?

I am yet to get twitter… heathen I know! But here’s my other blog (with nothing on there at the moment) – Gluten Free Europe and my academic page.  Stalk away!