1. Independent researcher, metal detectorist and volunteer at Hull and East Riding Museum.
2. Department of Archaeology, King's Manor, University of York, YO1 7EP, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cite this as: Haldenby, D. and Richards, J.D. (2016) The Viking Great Army and its Legacy: plotting settlement shift using metal-detected finds, Internet Archaeology 42. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.42.3
Investigation of the Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian settlement at Burrow House Farm, Cottam, East Yorkshire from 1993-95 was a pioneering collaboration between archaeologists and metal-detectorists, and led to the identification of a new form of Anglo-Scandinavian farmstead. It was also one of the first investigations ever undertaken of a 'productive site', so-called because of the large quantities of early medieval metalwork recovered by metal-detecting. The project provided an important demonstration of the effects of the reorganisation of land ownership following the Scandinavian settlement of Northumbria. Excavation demonstrated that the abandonment of an Anglian 'Butterwick-type' enclosure in the late 9th century was closely followed by the construction of the new Anglo-Scandinavian farmstead some 100m to the north, reinforced by the pattern seen in the horizontal stratigraphy of dated metalwork derived from metal-detecting (Richards 1999a; 2001a).
Subsequently, metal-detecting has continued at the site, almost doubling the quantity of artefacts. This has led to further breakthroughs in the interpretation of the chronological and spatial development of the settlement, as well as some substantial revisions to the typology and dating of early medieval artefacts, with important implications for the chronology of the period. It allows some significant new conclusions to be drawn about settlement development at Cottam, identifying the changing function of the settlements, as well as their location:
In addition, our project demonstrates that the detailed plotting of surface finds collected with a metal-detector has now been raised to a major technique of historical investigation, and has much greater potential than has hitherto been realised.
One of the initial publications of the Cottam project (Richards 2001a) was itself an early experiment in data publication, with a linked interpretation and archive. The development of e-media now allows an increasingly sophisticated presentation of data, including new means of visualisation. Here the use of Internet Archaeology shows the full potential of the new procedures. An interactive map allows others to examine our hypotheses, and to interrogate the data for themselves. In addition, the revised finds database, along with new photographs of many of the early medieval artefacts, are hosted by the Archaeology Data Service (Haldenby and Richards 2016).
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