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The EMC and PAS datasets are closely comparable for this region, with only one significant exception (Fig. 77). In the South Cambridgeshire fens virtually no artefacts have been found, although coins spread well into the Fenland area and are generally later in date. Many of these coins were reported to the EMC from 1997 or later, which indicates that this may represent a real difference with the PAS. This could possibly relate to the nature of the exploitation of the Fenland, or it might indicate the spread of drainage systems and hence settlement into southern Cambridgeshire in the Late Saxon period. A more prosaic explanation may simply relate to the proximity of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Comparison of the distribution of early medieval finds against finds of all periods (Fig. 18) reveals that they follow a largely similar pattern, although there are some minor differences in concentration. There is the same concentration of finds around Grantham and Sleaford, and the Roman road system running northwards to the Humber stands out pretty much as expected, still in evidence in the early medieval period. On the other hand the communication route from Birmingham to Leicester is less clearly delineated than when one includes finds of all periods. The importance of the Humber and the Witham is apparent, and the Trent provides a major local and inter-regional north-south route. Ulmschneider (2000a, 59) has also observed that concentrations of finds also follow the major prehistoric routes. The Jurassic Way runs north-south across Lincolnshire, and there are other concentrations following the high ground on either side of the Wolds.

The densest distribution of finds is apparently in north Lincolnshire, within what would have been the Kingdom of Lindsey. Further west in Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire levels of early medieval finds are comparatively lower than expected. South-west of Birmingham and north of London to Hertfordshire the levels of finds are comparable, but north-west of here to the Midlands finds are much sparser. In this region many of the later finds are distinctly Anglo-Scandinavian (Richards and Naylor forthcoming). Leahy and Paterson (2001) have argued that they tend to cluster in areas with place-names ending in the Scandinavian -by suffix.

Figure 78
Figure 78: Chart showing proportion of PAS finds in East Central England categorised by broad period

Figure 79
Figure 79: The artefact 'fingerprint' for East Central England

Figure 80
Figure 80: The coinage 'fingerprint' for East Central England

When the PAS data are broken down by broad period sub-divisions (Fig. 78) the proportion of finds from East Central England allocated to each period is almost identical to the national picture, with a majority of Late Saxon finds, but an equal number of finds dated broadly to the Middle/Late Saxon group and those dated as Middle Saxon.

The artefact fingerprint (Fig. 79) is also closer to the national pattern. There are fewer pennies than sceattas, and a relatively small number of stycas. Other artefacts again demonstrate a preponderance of strap-ends and pins but there is a much higher proportion of pins than further west. Proportions of other artefact types are relatively even, without great numbers of horse-related items.

The coinage fingerprint (Fig. 80) has some elements in common with further north, perhaps reflecting the influence of Northumbria on the northern parts of this region. There is a particularly steep decline in coinage after 740, a revival during 840-70, a second decline (probably reflecting Viking incursions) and then only a small recovery in the early 11th century.

In conclusion, East Central England appears to be something of a hybrid zone. In general it follows the national pattern but it also shares elements in common with Northumbria, while other aspects are closer to the Western Midlands. The higher recovery of coinage than other early medieval artefacts in Cambridgeshire is interesting and worthy of further study.


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