6. Conclusions

The current consensus of opinion on both the late Roman and early medieval periods in Britain is that regionality is a key factor. What was happening in East Anglia is not necessarily what was happening to the south of the Thames Valley (for example) and any attempt to extrapolate from one region to another is fraught with danger. Of course there were trends and fashions that seem to have overcome any such barriers in both periods, but overall trade and discernible trends were local rather than countrywide. We shall never know whether an Oxfordshire Ware bowl reached its breakage moment after one journey or after two or three trading episodes across Britain. Because the die that made the stamp impressions on a late Roman bowl was very different from the one used on an Anglo-Saxon cremation urn, it is equally unwise to claim any form of 'continuity' without being able to demonstrate that the motif appears within a short distance in both periods. I only included the A 5d examples from Milton Keynes after a lot of thought as to whether the 7-mile separation was too far to be considered truly local. In Suffolk in the mid-1960s, I have heard a resident of one village describe a resident of the next-door village, less than 2 miles away, as a 'foreigner'. It might have been a joke, but I did not think so at the time, and do not now.

So where does that leave this study? It flags up nine locations where there appears to have been ongoing use of one (or in the case of Caistor St Edmund and Portchester) two specific motifs across the 4th and 5th centuries. It cannot prove that the people who used the pottery with this motif in the 4th century were of Germanic origin, or that those who used the same motif in later years, were descended from the earlier users or were themselves of Germanic origin. What this study can do is to point future researchers to sites that are worthy of special attention, when studying comparable data from the same period, because the pot stamp evidence has shown that something unusual is going on there. When joined with evidence from other studies, it may be possible one day to demonstrate conclusively that the Romano-British of the 4th century and the Anglo-Saxons of the 5th century in these particular sites were one and the same.