3. Settlement Patterns and Material Culture in 8th-11th century England

This section presents the early medieval evidence from the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Early Medieval Corpus of single coin finds, providing a detailed examination of the data at a national scale. This is undertaken within the framework of interpretation for the overall distribution of portable antiquities of all periods provided in Section 2. The data are explored regionally and chronologically, with reference to other archaeological and historical evidence. Quantitative analysis is designed to highlight aspects of the dataset, including the composition of the dataset by metal type or artefact type. From these analyses, the changing nature of the data can be clearly seen both through time and on the regional scale. The section charts the social and economic development of early medieval England on a national scale and contributes to a new understanding of mid-late Saxon settlement and artefact and coin usage.

Section 3 commences with a discussion of the VASLE early medieval 'National dataset', including its cleaning and enhancement. The broad differences between the artefact data, derived from the PAS, and the coin data, derived from the EMC, are discussed.

In Section 3.2 the character of the 'National dataset' is discussed in greater detail, and the overall numbers of artefact and coin types are presented. These charts provide a context for the site-based 'fingerprints' of proportions of coins and artefacts that will feature in Section 4.

A region-by-region analysis is then undertaken in Section 3.3. This follows the same six English regions described in Section 2.4. Wales has been omitted because the number of early medieval finds is too small to form a reasonable sample. The results in this section can be compared to the figures for portable antiquities of all periods as these provide control datasets for the recovery of metal objects within each region. Divergence from the overall charts must therefore reflect factors specific to settlement and the use of coins and other metal artefacts in the early medieval period.

Finally, in Section 3.4 we highlight some differences in the national distributions of selected artefact types, drawing upon the interactive mapping. These reflect the changing use of coinage and also regional differences in artefact fashions, which may themselves relate to ethnicity and cultural display.


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Last updated: Tues Apr 21 2009