2.5 Period-specific control sets: portable antiquities, Iron Age to Late Medieval (c. 800 BC-AD 1500)

The constraints and biases on data collection have been outlined, analysed and interpreted previously. This showed the complexities inherent in the assessment of the PAS database. Modern constraints on recovery are varied in their nature and the extent of their effect on finds recovery varies regionally. However, it was also noted that proportions of artefacts across periods varied by region, and that aspects of the distribution could not be interpreted with recourse to modern constraints alone, and must have been affected by the historic landscape.

This section will draw out trends and patterns in the data from each period, providing a basis for comparative discussion in areas where aspects of the evolution of the landscape can be clearly seen from portable antiquities. Additionally, the analysis of these 'control' datasets is imperative for the interpretations of the enhanced Early Medieval data in Section 3, providing a background into which this dataset can be placed.

Section 2.5.1 provides an overview of period-specific datasets, at both the national level and on a local scale. The varied presentation of the data illustrates how the quantification and distributions of data can be discussed within the remit of our archaeological understanding of each period. It also shows how the evolution of settlement can, in some areas, be traced with confidence.

Finally, Section 2.5.2 explores some of these areas in more detail, namely in the fenland around the Wash, the Weald of south-east England and the Solent region. This places the portable antiquities data within the remit of broader research, to show how it can aid our understanding of varied environments in the past.


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Last updated: Tues Apr 21 2009