The archaeology of Constable Country: the crop-marks of the Stour Valley: Nigel Brown, Debbie Knopp and David Strachan
The Stour valley, which forms the boundary between the counties of Essex and Suffolk, contains a remarkable series of crop-marks. These comprise a wide variety of ring-ditches and other monuments, including two cursuses, together with extensive areas of trackways and field boundaries. The crop-marks were first systematically recorded in the late 1950s and have been subject to aerial photography, by a variety of individuals and organisations, ever since. Whilst well known locally, the extent of the Stour valley crop-marks is not widely appreciated outside the region. Following publication of a Regional Research Framework for the Eastern Counties, and building on the work of the National Mapping Programme, a GIS-based synthesis of the crop-marks has been prepared. This has clarified the variety and complexity of the crop-marks and enabled the relationship of monuments, field systems, the river, and valley topography to be explored. It is intended to use this work as a platform from which to enhance long-term management of the crop-marks and to promote further fieldwork.
Old English wīc and walh: Britons and Saxons in Post-Roman Wiltshire: Simon Draper
In the light of recent discussion concerning the ‘end of Roman Britain’, this paper uses a combination of place-names and archaeological evidence from Wiltshire to question traditional interpretations of the Roman/Saxon transition in southern England. Central to discussion are the Old English elements wīc and walh, which, it is argued, may preserve physical as well as linguistic ties with native British populations. Far from painting a picture of catastrophe in the countryside, the evidence presented below is used to suggest that large areas of Wiltshire enjoyed an essentially ‘sub-Roman’ existence well into the seventh century.
Worths in a landscape context: Judie English
The specific nature of the meanings of place-name elements is increasingly being recognised as a source of information on the way in which Anglo-Saxons saw and exploited their surroundings. This note attempts to identify the original meaning of the common element ‘worth’ from locations where it was used.
Nucleated settlement: a view from the frontier: C. C. Taylor
This paper discusses the problem of the origin of nucleated villages using a series of case studies from south Cambridgeshire. It also identifies a particular form of dispersed rural settlement which was arranged around large oval basins of meadow land and that appears to pre-date the villages. The wider implications of this are examined.
Medieval Greens and Moats in the Central Province: Evidence from the Bourn Valley, Cambridgeshire: Susan Oosthuizen
This paper considers the evidence, and some explanations, for the survival into the nineteenth century of large, apparently Anglo-Saxon, greens, commons and moated sites, traditionally associated with ‘ancient’ landscapes, in west Cambridgeshire, an area of classic two- and three-field common field arrangements.
Church building fabrics on Romney Marsh and the Marshland Fringe: a geological perspective: Andrew Pearson and John F. Potter
Romney Marsh is a region where few historic buildings now remain in the modern landscape. This paper examines the only group of historic monuments on the marsh in which stone was the principal medium, and where it was employed on a major scale – the parish church.
A fieldwork programme determined the types of stone present in eighteen churches on Romney and Walland Marsh, and a further eighteen in the immediate upland hinterland. The objectives of the study were to establish the types and provenance of the principal stones used in church building in the region, and using these data to examine the pattern of historic quarrying and supply from the Anglo-Saxon period to later medieval times.
Building stone supply was shown to vary according to several factors, including the geographical location of each building site, the date of construction, and the relation to known or surmised communication routes. The study pointed to an increasingly sophisticated quarrying industry, relying initially mainly on opportunist collection of beach boulders up to the thirteenth century, before sources of hewn stone for ashlar began to be increasingly exploited. The coast was the major resource at all times, and it is tentatively suggested that the removal of foreshore stone contributed to long-shore drift, and thus indirectly to dramatic coastal changes in the region. Most material was of local origin, although rare, high quality imports were also utilised.
Continuity and stability in past upland land uses in the western Cheviot Hills, southern Scotland: Chloe Campbell, Richard Tipping and David Cowley
Upland areas of the British Isles have frequently been seen as vulnerable to environmental stress, and because of this climatic and economic marginality, to have been colonised, abandoned and recolonised rather than to have endured and adapted. This paper presents 14C (radiocarbon)-dated palaeoecological data, supported by archaeological evidence, providing a continuous record of vegetation, settlement and land use in one upland landscape high in the western Cheviot Hills, on the Anglo-Scottish border, over the last 2000 years. The data show that grassland has dominated this landscape without change from the Romano-British period. Adaptive elements like cereal cultivation were added but then withdrawn on two occasions during this period, but without deflecting from the primary purpose of agricultural activity, which was and remains, stock raising. Reasons for the early historic establishment of intensive pastoral activity may include late Roman economic stability, but irrespective of the engine for this single change, the data show, when compared with nearby settings in the same range of hills, how divergent individual landscape histories have been.
Debate: The dating of ferruginously-cemented gravel as building material: David A. Hinton
Volume 24 (2002)