The Viking and Anglo-Saxon Landscape and Economy (VASLE) Project

Julian D Richards, John Naylor, Caroline Holas-Clark, 2008

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Prof Julian D Richards
Department of Archaeology
University of York
King's Manor
Exhibition Square
York
YO1 7EP
England
Tel: 01904 433901
Fax: 01904 433902

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Introduction

Professor Julian Richards and a metal detectorist in the field

In the last fifteen years the role of metal-detected objects in the study of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Scandinavian England has greatly increased through reporting to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and the Early Medieval Corpus (EMC). There are now thousands more artefacts and coins known than a decade ago which, in conjunction with fieldwork, have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of the early medieval period. The Viking and Anglo-Saxon Landscape and Economy (VASLE) project was the first attempt to examine this data on a national scale. Such an approach enables the detailed analysis of the nature of portable antiquities data, the biases within such datasets and the relationship between patterns of recovery and historic settlement. In the light of these new interpretations of the overall datasets, the most artefact- and coin-rich sites, known as 'productive sites', can be analysed within a new framework of understanding. This digital archive is a major outcome of the VASLE project, funded by AHRC research grant APN18370. Access is provided to two datasets: a national database for finds dated to AD c.700-1050; and a sites database providing further information about finds recovered from over 65 so-called 'productive sites'. The archive should be used in conjunction with the report of the VASLE project, "Anglo-Saxon landscape and economy: using portable antiquities to study Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age England", published in Internet Archaeology. Our intention in making the full digital data available is to allow others to test our conclusions and to continue working within this fruitful field of research.