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The EMC and PAS datasets are generally comparable, with high numbers of both coinage and artefacts, concentrated in Norfolk and Suffolk, reflecting the long history of reporting in those counties (Fig. 81). The only major exception is in north-east Norfolk where very few coins have been found, and those are mostly Late Saxon. Similarly, the artefacts from this area are mostly, though not exclusively, dated to the 9th century and later. This may be a reflection of environmental conditions and relative lack of activity in this coastal region in the Middle Saxon period. Further south there is a loop of low finds densities, especially in relation to coinage, around Ipswich, an area in which Barham and Coddenham represent the only rural productive sites (Newman 2003). Maybe this is related to the presence of the wic at Ipswich, and its control of its hinterland. On the other hand coins are found as far inland as it is possible to get in East Anglia, more than 30km from the coast, in contrast to the situation in Yorkshire and Kent (Naylor 2004). Overall, East Anglia provides the best example of the potential of early medieval portable antiquities for understanding landscape and economy, with high finds recovery across the region. The differences seen can probably be related back to the early medieval landscape, although often require further examination and testing.

The distribution of early medieval finds in Norfolk and Suffolk is closely comparable to the overall distribution (Fig. 22), although there is not the same gap in eastern Norfolk and north-east Suffolk in all finds as is seen for the early medieval period. Compared with the overall distribution, northern Essex is comparatively sparse, although the linear trends in the overall distribution probably relate to Romano-British finds along the lines of the Roman road system. This does not appear to have continued in use into the early medieval period, as in some other regions. The same relative shortage of Middle and Late Saxon finds in Essex mirrors the distribution of Ipswich Ware. As in East Central England, many of the later finds from East Anglia are of distinctive Anglo-Scandinavian forms, despite the lower proportion of Scandinavian-influenced place-names in the region (Margeson 1996; Richards and Naylor forthcoming).

Figure 82
Figure 82: Chart showing proportion of PAS finds in East Anglia categorised by broad period

Figure 83
Figure 83: The artefact 'fingerprint' for East Anglia

Figure 84
Figure 84: The coinage 'fingerprint' for East Anglia

When the PAS data is broken down by broad period sub-divisions (Fig. 82) it is clear that the proportion of artefacts of each period is broadly in line with the national figures, although slightly more are dated to the Late Saxon period, possibly reflecting the number of Anglo-Scandinavian objects that can be assigned a 10th- or 11th-century date.

The artefact fingerprint (Fig. 83) reveals roughly equal proportions of sceattas and pennies, and a small number of stycas. The relative proportions of other artefact categories are relatively even. This may simply reflect the large number of portable antiquities recorded for Norfolk and Suffolk, and may be closer to an expected norm, given more comprehensive data recovery. On the other hand the proportions of the two most common types – strap-ends and pins – are lower than elsewhere, while other categories such as hooked tags and disc brooches are higher. The proportion of horse-related artefacts is roughly in line with other areas.

The coinage fingerprint (Fig. 84) shows the familiar increase to a peak at AD 740, but there is a second peak in the second half of the 9th century, from AD 840-870. There is then a second, even sharper, decline until coinage picks up again in the 11th century. The occurrence of sceattas on a large number of rural sites indicates the prevalence of rural markets in the region.

In conclusion, East Anglia provides a substantial regional dataset, in line with the national picture, and reflecting the high level of Middle and Late Saxon activity and the number of 'productive sites' in the region, particularly in Norfolk and Suffolk. Although coins still dominate the fingerprints there is a more even spread of other artefact types, and less emphasis on pins and strap-ends than further north.


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Last updated: Tues Apr 21 2009