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Shaping Rural Settlements: The Early Medieval Legacy to the English Village

Shaping Rural Settlements: The Early Medieval Legacy to the English Village AbstractSome researchers seeking to establish the origins of the medieval village in England see a beginning in the seventh or eighth centuries as part of a Middle Saxon ‘Great Re-Planning’, but most currently argue that villages were founded as part of a process beginning in the tenth century. The organisers of England's most extensive test-pitting scheme inside currently-occupied rural settlements have suggested that there is little evidence for roots before the tenth century. This paper demonstrates, however, that test pits are not an appropriate way to detect ephemeral Middle Saxon remains, that the ability of such methods to accurately reconstruct early medieval settlement sequences has been overemphasised and that occupation pre-dating the ninth century is only likely to be located through more extensive excavation. It is further suggested in the paper that medieval villages often emerged through a two-stage process, as from the tenth century existing Middle Saxon centres were shifted short distances and restructured into their more lasting historic forms. The seventh, eighth and ninth centuries can therefore be seen as having left an important legacy in the landscape of England. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Landscapes Taylor & Francis

Shaping Rural Settlements: The Early Medieval Legacy to the English Village

Landscapes , Volume 16 (2): 21 – Nov 1, 2015

Shaping Rural Settlements: The Early Medieval Legacy to the English Village

Landscapes , Volume 16 (2): 21 – Nov 1, 2015

Abstract

AbstractSome researchers seeking to establish the origins of the medieval village in England see a beginning in the seventh or eighth centuries as part of a Middle Saxon ‘Great Re-Planning’, but most currently argue that villages were founded as part of a process beginning in the tenth century. The organisers of England's most extensive test-pitting scheme inside currently-occupied rural settlements have suggested that there is little evidence for roots before the tenth century. This paper demonstrates, however, that test pits are not an appropriate way to detect ephemeral Middle Saxon remains, that the ability of such methods to accurately reconstruct early medieval settlement sequences has been overemphasised and that occupation pre-dating the ninth century is only likely to be located through more extensive excavation. It is further suggested in the paper that medieval villages often emerged through a two-stage process, as from the tenth century existing Middle Saxon centres were shifted short distances and restructured into their more lasting historic forms. The seventh, eighth and ninth centuries can therefore be seen as having left an important legacy in the landscape of England.

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Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2015
ISSN
2040-8153
eISSN
1466-2035
DOI
10.1179/1466203515Z.00000000045
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractSome researchers seeking to establish the origins of the medieval village in England see a beginning in the seventh or eighth centuries as part of a Middle Saxon ‘Great Re-Planning’, but most currently argue that villages were founded as part of a process beginning in the tenth century. The organisers of England's most extensive test-pitting scheme inside currently-occupied rural settlements have suggested that there is little evidence for roots before the tenth century. This paper demonstrates, however, that test pits are not an appropriate way to detect ephemeral Middle Saxon remains, that the ability of such methods to accurately reconstruct early medieval settlement sequences has been overemphasised and that occupation pre-dating the ninth century is only likely to be located through more extensive excavation. It is further suggested in the paper that medieval villages often emerged through a two-stage process, as from the tenth century existing Middle Saxon centres were shifted short distances and restructured into their more lasting historic forms. The seventh, eighth and ninth centuries can therefore be seen as having left an important legacy in the landscape of England.

Journal

LandscapesTaylor & Francis

Published: Nov 1, 2015

Keywords: villages; origins; settlements; test pits; place-names

References