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Towns in the dark? Urban transformations from late roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England (AD 300-600)

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posted on 11.11.2013, 10:49 authored by Gavin Speed
What became of towns following the official end of ‘Roman Britain’ at the beginning of the 5th century AD? Did towns fail? Were these ruinous sites really neglected by early Anglo-Saxon settlers and leaders? Developed new archaeologies are starting to offer alternative pictures to the traditional images of urban decay and loss revealing diverse modes of material expression, of usage of space, and of structural change. The focus of this thesis is to draw together still scattered data to chart and interpret the changing nature of life in towns from the late Roman period through to the mid-Anglo-Saxon period (broadly AD 300 to 600). The research centres on towns that have received sufficient archaeological intervention so that meaningful patterns can be traced. The case studies are arranged into three regional areas: the South-East, South-West, and Midlands. Individually each town contains varying levels of archaeological data, but analysed together these illustrate more clearly patterns of evolution. Much of the data exists as accessible but largely unpublished reports, or isolated within regional discussions. Detailed analysis, review and comparisons generate significant scope for modelling ‘urban’ change in England from AD 300-600. The research demonstrates complicated and variable degrees of continuity and discontinuity, dispelling the simplistic myth of outright urban decline and failure after Rome.



Christie, Neil; Buckley, Richard

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University of Leicester

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Due to copyright restrictions a number of images have been removed from the electronic version of this thesis. The unabridged version can be consulted, on request, at the University of Leicester’s David Wilson Library.



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