Article

Archaeology of Southampton

David A. Hinton

in Medieval Studies

ISBN: 9780195396584
Published online December 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0081
Archaeology of Southampton

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
  • Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400)
  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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Because of its location in the middle of the south coast of England, Southampton illustrates not only the development of a town in general but also of a port in particular. Some of its medieval buildings survive, and its medieval topography still affects the modern town. Excavations have produced a wide range of artifacts, many of them imported. Although it is not a rural site, Southampton opens the issue of relationships between an urban place and the hinterland that supplied it with food and other commodities and (usually) people. Town and country were subject to comparable pressures of population expansion and decline. Another aspect is Southampton’s relationship with other towns, notably the cathedral city of Winchester to the north. As a port, Southampton had to provide facilities that ships needed, which varied according to their size, their cargo, their loading and unloading methods, their crews, their provisioning, and their need for repairs. Southampton’s changing foci make it unusual and raise issues about responses to slightly differing needs at different times for defense, housing, landing places, and storage space. The wealth of some of its citizens raises the issue of their potential threat to established social structures, but they also created internal conflicts between different groups in the town. No single site or place can be used to examine all the issues and questions relating to the medieval period, but Southampton illustrates how archaeological and historical research has developed, influenced by social and economic pressures.

Article.  11153 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy ; Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400) ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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