Towns in the Dark? Urban Transformation from late Roman Britian to Anglo-Saxon England
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 book 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. 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 Much of the data exists as accessible but largely unpublished reports, or isolated within regional discussions.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. ‘Towns in the Dark’ dispels the simplistic myth of outright urban decline and failure after Rome, and demonstrates that life in towns often did continue with variable degrees of continuity and discontinuity.
Printed price: £34. EPublication price: £29 available here
Leicester Abbey: Medieval History, Archaeology and Manuscript Studies
Joanna Story, Jill Bourne & Richard Buckley (eds.)
The Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society (2006)
Leicester Abbey was founded in 1138 and became one of the most important Augustinian monasteries in medieval England. But it is one of the least known of the Midland monasteries because of the almost total destruction of its buildings and archives after its Dissolution in 1538. This is the first volume on Leicester Abbey for more than 50 years, produced to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society. The book presents eleven papers by leading scholars and local historians on the social, political and landscape history of the abbey as wells as its archaeology, manuscripts, charters, urban rentals and library. Newly discovered charters and manuscripts from the abbey’s archive and extensive library are published here for the first time, as well as accounts of recent excavations in the abbey and gatehouse that formed the core of a post-Dissolution mansion known as Cavendish House.
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The Origins of a Leicester Suburb: Roman, Anglo-Saxon, medieval and post-medieval occupation on Bonners Lane
British Archaeological Reports (BAR) British Series vol. 372 (2004)
Between 1993 and 1997 excavations were carried out on the south side of Bonners Lane, Leicester. The excavation preceded construction on the site of a new De Montfort University building. This report presents a detailed account of the findings of the excavation and attempts to integrate this information with the results of four other excavations undertaken in the same general area. The excavation site (National Grid Reference: SK 5852 0395) encompassed an area of c. 0.16 hectares on the south side of Bonners Lane, at its junction with Oxford Street (the medieval Southgates), approximately 250m south of the Roman and medieval walled town. The excavation area was dictated by the footprint of the planned new building and excluded an area in the south of the site and the eastern part of the Oxford Street frontage. This eastern area was subsequently excavated, in order to fully investigate the remains of an Anglo-Saxon building discovered in this part of the site. The total area excavated archaeologically amounted to c. 0.1 hectare. The range of finds included Prehistoric (of particular note was a Neolithic polished stone axe), Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Post-Medieval, Post-Civil War, and Modern material.
Price: £32 available here