Overview: Rural Settlement

Helena Hamerow

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Overview: Rural Settlement

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  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology



The Anglo-Saxon rural settlement is a picture of far greater complexity and diversity than could have been imagined at the time that Philip Rahtz's pioneering survey was published. Factors affecting the recognition of settlements clearly come into play when considering their geographical distribution. Serendipity will always have a role to play in the discovery of Anglo-Saxon settlements: the impressive, high-status settlement at Cowdery's Down, Hampshire, came to light during the investigation of a complex of cropmarks dating to the Bronze Age and Civil War era. The detailed stratigraphic sequences allowed changes in the configuration of the settlement to be traced in some detail. Explaining the unfeasibly high proportion of excavated settlements of the mid to late Saxon periods that display at least some of the trappings of high status in terms of their layout and buildings and/or their material culture will require further research.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon rural settlement; Philip Rahtz; Cowdery's Down; Hampshire; Saxon periods; buildings; layouts

Article.  3812 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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