Anglo-Saxon law codes speak of facial mutilation as a punishment for certain crimes, but until recently no archaeological evidence had been found for it in England. Now the skull of a young woman discovered in Oakridge, Basingstoke, has been identified as the first possible example. It also suggests that this brutal practice had a longer history than had been previously thought.
The grave of a 6th-century man – a possible warrior – has been uncovered on a hilltop near Marlow, overlooking the Thames Valley. Its location within the borderlands of prominent neighbouring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms – at different times Wessex, Kent, and Mercia – will hopefully shed new light on this often-overlooked region, which was previously viewed as an obscure backwater during this period of history.
This is a comprehensive report on archaeological investigations that occurred at Guiting Power, Gloucestershire, in the 1990s. It highlights the medieval finds of the excavations, while two other recent Archaeopress publications focus on the prehistoric and Roman discoveries.
Matthew BlakeBAR Publishing, £35ISBN 978-1407316697Review John Blair Early medieval Staffordshire was very important, but its importance must be reconstructed from the slightest of clues. This study of Pirehill Hundred applies a multidisciplinary approach (archaeology, topography, place-names, occasional documents) to four thematic strands. First, barrows: it is shown not only that the number of Anglo- Saxon […]
Few archaeological discoveries have generated the same level of public interest as the Staffordshire Hoard. Its discovery in 2009 created a worldwide sensation and, 11 years later, it retains its appeal, giving the appearance of this report an importance beyond that of most academic publications. Now we have it: does it live up to our hopes and expectations?
A recent study has detected a previously unknown ancient clade of the variola virus (VARV) – the causative agent of smallpox – which appears to have been widespread in Britain and Scandinavia during the early medieval period.
A lack of sources regarding the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia has often led to it being overshadowed by other contemporary kingdoms, such as Wessex, in discussions of the Heptarchy, but in this book Annie Whitehead has gathered all of the available historical references to tell the story of the kingdom and the people who shaped it.
Grave AX at Yeavering remains one of the most-extraordinary discoveries in Anglo-Saxon archaeology. Its occupant lay in a slightly flexed posture, with a goat’s head at the feet, a broken spear laid diagonally across the torso, and, running down the central axis of the grave, above the body, a Roman-style groma.
Our cover feature takes us to the lofty attic spaces of a grand country house: Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, where ambitious conservation work has revealed a wealth of fragile finds spanning 500 years, including the astonishing illuminated manuscript page that appears on the front of this issue. Some 200 miles from Oxburgh’s red-brick splendour stands […]
Review – The Role of Anglo-Saxon Great Hall Complexes in Kingdom Formation, in Comparison and in Context AD 500-750
The site of Yeavering, Northumberland, identified in 1949 and excavated with some precision by Brian Hope-Taylor, remains the most comprehensively excavated great hall complex in Britain, and justifiably takes pride of place in any research on the subject. Yet the importance of this site and its research history has somewhat dominated the subsequent investigations on early medieval palatial complexes, sometimes to the detriment of understanding other sites and landscapes.