Anglo‐Saxon Timber Buildings and their Social Context

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

 Anglo‐Saxon Timber Buildings and their Social Context

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Despite the great progress made in the fifty years since Radford described the study of timber buildings as ‘one of the most intractable problems in the whole range of early medieval studies’, key issues remain unresolved regarding their origins, construction, and function, and consideration of the relationship between buildings and the social life of Anglo-Saxon communities has scarcely begun. Apart from churches and a handful of high-status late Saxon buildings, timber construction — mostly using oak — continued to dominate during the mid and late Saxon periods. Convincing examples of halls, kitchens, bakehouses, barns, granaries and latrines have all been identified in Anglo-Saxon buildings. If most Grubenhäuser possessed suspended floors and could have been as substantial as earthfast buildings, then this has enormous implications for the interpretations of Anglo-Saxon settlements. The distinction between earthfast timber buildings and Grubenhäuser may yet prove to have been less rigid than archaeologists have tended to assume.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon buildings; timber buildings; Grubenhäuser; social life; Anglo-Saxon communities; halls; kitchens; latrines

Article.  9482 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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