The cross-comparative study of materiality within Anglo-Saxon non-elite rural settlements is a largely neglected area of research. The consideration of material culture as a resource and the interpretation of artefacts as indicators of behavioural and cultural practices highlights the functions and consumption trends taking place at these sites. It reveals that many non-elite rural settlements were multifaceted in character and more socially and economically complex than previously understood, supporting a range of activities and livelihoods, engaging in sophisticated exchange, trade, and communication networks, and exhibiting evidence of social differentiation and hierarchy.
The practice of burying miscellaneous goods and treasures with both inhumed and cremated corpses was a common factor of Anglo-Saxon England. It has been suggested that the practice may be related to a mnemonic honouring of the dead (Williams, 2016), but the goods depleting exponentially with the advancement of Christianity may paint a different picture. We should also note that mass burials including possible human sacrifices were not uncommon. Therefore, this paper would attempt, through archaeological and textual evidence, to find alternative interpretations for such buried goods, and, especially, any connection between this practice and possible myths of an afterlife.
Metalworkers of iron and specialist non-ferrous metalworking were at the edge of the technology of their times and the backbone of production at this period which saw massive social development, technological innovation, and the emergence of church centers and estates. Ecclesiastical centers are known to have played a crucial role in the systems of production and exchange connecting the Frankish and the Anglo-Saxon world. This paper will explore the social profiles and status of dependence and patronage of secular or monastic metalworkers formed at the level of ecclesiastical hierarchies as suggested by the archaeology of such sites in the Lower Seine and Saint-Denis workshops and compare them with sites having possible monastic and ritual space phases/functions in Flixborough, Hartlepool, Cottam. Social roles, patterns of craft-working, diversity of labour organisation, possibilities for export of commodities and religious objects are discussed in the light of analysis of industrial features and technological aspects.