|Paper 534-d||Conquest, Continuation, or Convenience?: Norman Castles Built on Saxon Cemetery Sites|
Therron Welstead, School of Archaeology, History & Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Index terms: Archaeology - General, Lay Piety
Abstract withheld by request.
The Hundred is a superficially familiar institution. A subdivision of the shire, it was both a body of men and a territory. It performed local judicial, policing, and witnessing functions. The template derives from 10th-century legislation, and Domesday Book reveals the Hundred in all its ubiquity across midland and southern England. The Hundred has, therefore, come to be seen as the local arm of an ordered ‘Anglo-Saxon state’. The focus on its wider significance risks making the institution itself appear better-understood than it is. This paper will examine how the hundred fitted into local society, as opposed to a national system. Who were its notional 100 freemen? What can their social and economic position reveal about the Hundred’s practical role? Detailed and sometimes overlapping evidence from eastern England can shed light on these neglected questions.
Royal vills or ‘great hall complexes’ are described in the historical sources as places of regional authority. They are depicted as offering a range of services to their territories, such as protection and legal dispensation, and were involved in the collection (and redistribution) of food rents in return. Such sites are extremely rare in the archaeological record, however, and a comparative study on a regional scale has never been attempted. In this paper five of these ‘great hall complexes’ are studied using a GIS-based approach and the complex socioeconomic networks underlying the development of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms are explored.
This interdisciplinary paper will be looking at Norman castles built on or around pre-existing cemeteries. In the past it has been argued that this phenomenon was a statement of power with the construction of a castle restricting, if not destroying, a culturally sensitive space; however, there are several other factors at play which will be explored. The findings of this research will be fed into current research of the relationship between the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons. From the 30+ examples two key case studies will be examined; Pontefract (West Yorkshire) and Trowbridge (Wiltshire).