Sara Ann, who also is known for her cheerful assistance around the History Department office, relates that her honors thesis contemplates religious conversion and the Christianizing landscape during Viking-Age Sweden.
Her work focuses on the regional patterns in the Swedish runestones, monuments which Christians created to memorialize deceased relatives. Female sponsors feature quite prominently in the Swedish runestone material, especially in the region of Uppland. Since sponsoring runestones could hardly have been cheap, what the unusually high number of female sponsors might indicate about women’s social and economic status as well as their role in Christian conversion are questions that drive her research.
The full story about the Gates award runs here.