Anglo-Saxon buildings: form, function, and social space

Helena Hamerow

in Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199203253
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741760 | DOI:

Series: Medieval History and Archaeology

Anglo-Saxon buildings: form, function, and social space

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter considers the origins of the early Anglo-Saxon timber building tradition, concluding that while its links with the other side of the North Sea are clear, those with late Roman Britain are more difficult to establish. The development of timber buildings is set out. The ‘life-cycle’ of these buildings is then examined, and it is concluded that the life-spans of some Mid and Late Saxon buildings were extended through repair and rebuilding; such rebuilding in the early Anglo-Saxon period was rare and houses appear to have been broadly ‘single generational’. What this may reveal about changing attitudes towards ancestors and land is discussed. The form and function of buildings are then considered, followed by a review of the evidence for Grubenhäuser, and their relationship to earth-fast timber buildings.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon buildings; timber buildings; settlement archaeology; North Sea Zone; Grubenhäuser

Chapter.  20752 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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