The Early Middle Ages (5th–11th centuries AD) are still sometimes called the ‘Dark Ages’. Yet the period between the end of Roman rule and the Norman Conquest was far from ‘dark’. Archaeology has increasingly revealed the era’s complex and diverse societies. This conference aims to explore and critique present-day uses and abuses of the ‘Dark Ages’. Talks will address a range of themes and approaches, from television shows to heritage sites, from ancestry testing to political debates over immigration and Brexit. The conference will also seek to identify new strategies by which archaeologists can engage communities in the Early Middle Ages.