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6. EARLY MEDIEVAL (c. AD 410-1066): RESEARCH AGENDA #

Click here to see strategies recommended for addressing agenda themes and topics for this period.
6.1 Demography and the identification of political and social groups
  1. What may be deduced about changes in diet, mortality and other demographic variables from osteological studies of Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, and how might this have varied spatially and over time?
  2. What was the relationship between indigenous communities and Germanic populations, and how may this have varied spatially and over time?
  3. How may studies of sites yielding late Roman metalwork elucidate further the relationship between indigenous and Germanic populations?
  4. How far may studies of dress be advanced by analyses of inhumations, and how may dress accessories reflect social or political groupings?
  5. How can we refine our understanding of the chronology and process of Scandinavian immigration during the ninth and tenth centuries?
  6. What may we deduce from Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Scandinavian sculpture about ethnic and religious affiliations?
  7. Can we identify social/political boundaries (e.g. surviving linear earthworks and natural barriers) and/or estate centres?

6.2 Ritual and belief

  1. Can we shed further light upon burial practices in areas north and west of the Trent?
  2. Can 'sub-Roman' or 'British' cemeteries and cemeteries dating from the late seventh to ninth centuries be identified?
  3. Can we characterise more precisely Anglo-Saxon and Viking cemeteries and identify temporal or spatial variability in funerary traditions?
  4. How may 'princely' barrow burials relate to flat cemeteries and settlements, and what were the preferred landscape settings?
  5. What was the relationship between pagan temples and other contemporary or later sites?
  6. How can we enhance further our understanding of the development of pre-Viking churches, cathedrals and monasteries?

6.3 Roads and rivers: transport routes and cultural boundaries

  1. To what extent were Roman roads used and maintained from the fifth century, and may some have acted as social or political boundaries?
  2. Can we identify re-used or newly developed unmetalled routeways (e.g. by the identification of metalled fords or bridges)?
  3. What roles may rivers have played as corridors for the movement of goods and people, and how might these have varied over time?
  4. To what extent may rivers such as the Trent or Witham have served as major political and social boundaries during the Anglo-Saxon period?

6.4 Rural settlement patterns

  1. What impact may Germanic and Scandinavian immigration have had upon established rural settlement patterns, and how may place-name evidence contribute to studies of settlement evolution?
  2. Can we elucidate the pattern of early medieval settlement north and west of the Trent?
  3. Can spatial and temporal variations in the morphology, functions and status of settlements be defined more precisely?
  4. What factors may underlie the progression from dispersed to nucleated settlement and the growth of settlement hierarchies?
  5. May settlement have retreated from areas of heavier soils in some areas (e.g. Leicestershire and Northamptonshire)?

6.5 Inland Towns, 'central places' and burhs

  1. How may Anglo-Saxon and British communities have utilised late Roman towns and their immediate environs?
  2. Can we identify middle Anglo-Saxon defensive works, including new foundations and refurbishments of Roman walled towns?
  3. What was the impact of the Danish occupation upon urban development and what were the differences between Danish and non-Danish burhs and other urban settlements?
  4. How did Nottingham develop during the Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods?

6.6 Industry, trade and the emergence of a monetary economy

  1. Can we identify centres of seventh- and eighth-century cross-channel and North Sea trade and/or riverside trading centres?
  2. To what extent may differences in the quantity and quality of imported goods correlate with status variations between sites, and how may analyses of exotic imports in cemeteries assist this study?
  3. Can we elucidate the production and distribution of Early Medieval salt and glass, and in particular establish the date of the Lindsey salt-hills?
  4. How may the adoption of coinage reflect or have stimulated socio-economic changes and how far may its use have varied regionally?
  5. How may we enhance our understanding of the lead industry, the extraction and smelting of iron ore and the environmental impact of these activities?
  6. Can additional fabric analyses clarify further the production and distribution of Anglo-Saxon pottery, particularly that produced in Charnwood Forest?

6.7 The agricultural economy and rural landscape

  1. Is there evidence for new crops and other agricultural changes during the Roman/Saxon transition?
  2. Is there evidence for a hiatus in cultivation in the mid-sixth century and for later arable expansion?
  3. How early may crop rotation and the open-field system have developed, and how may this relate to other agricultural innovations such as mouldboard ploughs, water meadows and land-drainage?
  4. How may animal husbandry practices have developed and how were wild food resources such as fish and wild fowl utilised?
  5. To what extent did woodland regenerate in the post-Roman period and how were woodlands used and managed?

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  This page (revision-124) was last changed on 22-Jun-2017 14:06 by Tina Roushannafas