Medieval images, especially manuscript illuminations, have long been treated independently of the contexts in which they were created. These beautiful miniature paintings, frequently valued as keepers of documentary evidence or as curious artistic commodities, have only recently become the focus of art historians concerned with new questions related to artistic working methods, audience and the status of the visual in the Middle Ages and the modern era. 'Excavating the Medieval Image' argues that the illuminated image is best understood as thoroughly integrated in the material context of the manuscript - and thus, integrated in a cultural context of production and reception. Seen in this way, the illuminated manuscript becomes a kind of archaeological site, which must be carefully unearthed layer by layer. The fourteen essays gathered here are written by scholars of both medieval and Renaissance art history, and demonstrate varied methodological approaches that combine the pursuits of traditional connoisseurship and iconography with those of critical theory and historiography. In addition, the authors contribute more broadly to important interdisciplinary issues such as the study of gender, text and image, and the history of literacy and the book.