The latest volume of Medieval Archaeology was published at the end of last year and subscribers should have their print copies soon if not already. The volume contains a number of articles of relevance to the interests of the Royal Residences Network.
In Duncan Wright‘s paper it is argued that early medieval kings shifted power from tribute-orientated regimes to ones rooted in agricultural exploitation. He views the Church as central to this transformation and uses three case studies to chart the creation of ‘home farms’, settlements of unprecedented spatial organisation from which agricultural surplus was drawn.
Perhaps most interesting for our purposes is his reinterpretation of the ‘great-hall complex’ at Cowage Farm, Wiltshire. This site, identified from aerial photography and excavated by Hinchliffe in 1983, is typically interpreted as a royal or elite residence.
Wright instead argues, based on comparisons with the settlement sites at Soham and Fordham (both in Cambridgeshire), that the site is a ‘home farm’ for the abbey at Malmesbury.
His argument is set out on pages 39-42 of the article:
Taking a broader perspective, Martin Carver’s paper uses four case studies to consider the spiritual ideologies, trade mentalities and the development of towns in sixth- to ninth-century Europe:
Other articles relating to the early medieval period include:
Let us know your thoughts on the volume and its papers in the comments below.