Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 September 2008
The traditional image of the stable Anglo-Saxon village as the direct ancestor of the medieval village is no longer tenable in view of growing evidence for settlement mobility in the early and middle Saxon periods. Indeed, it now appears that most ‘nucleated’ medieval villages are not the direct successors of early, or even middle Saxon settlements, and that nucleation itself appears to be a remarkably late phenomenon.
2 The high profile of archaeology within the wider spectrum of settlement studies is apparent in Anglo-Saxon Settlements, ed. Hooke, D. (Oxford, 1988)Google Scholar, the contributors to which evaluate the results of archaeological excavation and survey within the same topographical context as place-name and charter evidence. The present study owes a considerable debt to this book, as will be apparent.
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11 During the early years of the excavations, it was suggested that a substantial settlement of barbarian mercenaries – foederati – had been stationed at Mucking in the late fourth or early fifth century, to protect London and reinforce the strained defences of the civitates. While the hypothesis is historically plausible, it rests upon rather tenuous assumptions regarding the early date and supposed military affiliations of certain types of late Roman metalwork, so-called ‘Romano-Saxon pottery’ and other pottery types. Many of these assumptions have since come under serious criticism. In short, while the hypothesis that Anglo-Saxon Mucking originated as a federate settlement cannot be dismissed, the archaeological evidence is insufficient to prove it. See Morris, J., review of Myres, J.N.L. and Green, B., The Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries of Caistor-by-Normich and Marksball, Norfolk, in MA 18 (1974), 225–32Google Scholar; Hawkes, S., ‘Some Recent Finds of Late Roman Buckles’, Britannia 5 (1974), 386–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Roberts, W., Romano-Saxon Pottery, BAR, Brit. Ser. 106 (Oxford, 1982).Google Scholar
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16 The fact that so few post-hole buildings are recorded from phase ‘A’ is almost certainly due to necessarily incomplete excavation in advance of quarrying which took place in this part of the site.
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19 The settlements of Cowdery's Down and Catholme, for example, appear to have been relatively stable. Cowdery's Down, however, was not founded until the sixth century, and appears to have been both short-lived and of high status. A t Catholme, it may be that the planned layout of the settlement orginated at a later phase of occupation.
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21 This sort of demographic analysis is fraught with ambiguity, however. For example, it seems certain that there may originally have been many more post-hole buildings at Mucking than were recorded, and some of those recorded may not have functioned as living quarters; estimates of the life spans of people and houses in early Anglo-Saxon England remain, furthermore, little more than educated guesses. A more detailed demographic analysis is attempted in Hamerow, Mucking.
22 An elaborate silver-inlaid bronze belt-set or cingulum, several sword burials and imported glass vessels excavated from the cemeteries are among the grave-goods illustrated in Jones, and Jones, , ‘The Crop-Mark Sites at Mucking, Essex’, pls. xxvii–xxviii and figs. 58–62.Google Scholar
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25 Statistical evaluation of the Mucking cemeteries is in progress (S. Hirst and D. Clarke, forthcoming).
26 West, West Stow. It seems unlikely, however, that the whole of the settlement was excavated.
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