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Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England

In the course of the fifth century, the farms and villas of lowland Britain were replaced by a new, distinctive form of rural settlement: the settlements of the Anglo-Saxons. This volume presents the first major synthesis of the evidence - which has expanded enormously in recent years - for such settlements from across England and throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, and what it reveals about the communities who built and lived in them, and whose daily lives went almost wholly unrecorded. Helena Hamerow examines the appearance, function, and 'life-cycles' of their buildings; the relationship of Anglo-Saxon settlements to the Romano-British landscape and to later medieval villages; the role of ritual in daily life; and the relationship between farming regimes and settlement forms. A central theme throughout the book is the impact on rural producers of the rise of lordship and markets, and how this impact is reflected in the remains of their settlements. Hamerow provides an introduction to the wealth of information yielded by settlement archaeology, and to the enormous contribution that it makes to our understanding of Anglo-Saxon society.
Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figures ; Preface and Acknowledgements ; 1. The Study of Anglo-Saxon Rural Settlements ; 2. Anglo-Saxon Buildings: Form, Function, and Social Space ; 3. Settlement Forms and Community Structures ; 4. Ritual and Domestic Life ; 5. Farming Systems and Settlement Forms ; 6. Production, Exchange, and the Shape of Rural Communities ; References ; Index

About the Author

Following a BA in Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Helena Hamerow completed a D.Phil. at the University of Oxford in 1988. She then held the Mary Somerville Research Fellowship at Somerville College, Oxford until 1990, when she took up a Lectureship in Early Medieval Archaeology at Durham University. She returned to Oxford in 1996 where she is currently Professor or Early Medieval Archaeology and a Fellow of St Cross College. She is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.


represent[s] some of the best current research on early medieval England ... Local historians and archaeologists are strongly encouraged to explore them for themselves. * Stephen Mileson, Oxoniensia * invaluable ... There have been many academic papers, even books, which have approached settlement history in this period but few have been based upon such a thoroughly amassed body of archaeological evidence. * Della Hooke, Landscape History * An impressively constructed syntheses of the present state of knowledge, readably written, perceptive and wide-ranging. * The University of Leeds * This expert synthesis will deservedly establish itself as a standard introduction to the subject. * Chrisopher Scull, Journal of Medieval Archaeology * Helena Hamerow's follow-up volume to her work on continental settlement sites ... represents another valuable contribution to the field of early medieval settlement archaeology. ... This book will be useful for students, academics and those active in fieldwork as a summary of the current evidence, but also for clear pointers (as in the final pages) of where further research is now needed. * Sam Lucy, Medieval Settlement Research * This is an excellent book, which will rapidly become a benchmark for the subject. * Antiquity, N.J. Higham, The University of Manchester *

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