Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. James Trostle

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy Landry


In recent decades, the mediaeval Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route has enjoyed a significant resurgence in popularity. Despite the route’s Christian heritage as “the way of St. James,” todays Camino-walkers present an impressive range of spiritual, physical, and personal motivations for undergoing the route. This modern twist on an ancient tradition has sparked an academic discussion surrounding what constitutes a “pilgrim” versus a “tourist,” including the ways in which people of different motivating identities experience heritage. I investigated this dichotomy by walking the Camino Frances and conducting ethnographic fieldwork from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago, Spain. In an effort to narrow the scope of my data, I focused on the material items contemporary pilgrims carried, acquired, and abandoned or deposited along the way. In this way, I tell the story of the Camino through objects. My findings suggest that while pilgrims cited walking the Camino as both a transient and internally transformative experience, it is also an essentially material one. Indeed, I conclude that materiality plays a fundamental role in constructing and recreating individual Camino narratives alongside collective experiences of pilgrim identity.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford, CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.