Medieval Archaeology 2015

The new volume of Medieval Archaeology (the journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology) has now been published and here is just a quick mention of things medieval settlement related…..

David Griffiths – Medieval Coastal Sand Inundation in Britain and Ireland. Medieval Archaeology 59: 103-121.

An interesting paper that looks at the impact of coastal inundations around the country including a number of examples were settlements are deserted (or drastically shrink) as a result such as Ravenserodd in Yorkshire and Dunwich in Suffolk. These two examples deserted due dramatic storm events but others were deserted from the result of sand being blown into settlements, fields and then being abandoned such as Kenfig in South Wales. It also tackles the methodology surrounding the investigation of such sites.

Ben Jervis, Chris Briggs and Matthew Tompkins – Exploring Text and Objects: Escheators’ Inventories and Material Culture in Medieval English Rural Households. Medieval Archaeology 59: 168-192.

This paper uses a range of metalwork that has been excavated across central England to explore the value and meaning of objects to a non-elite section of the population from the late 13th century to the 16th century. Many of these finds come from deserted villages such as Great Linford in Buckinghamshire, West Cotton in Northamptonshire and Seacourt in Oxfordshire.

Eric Johnson – Moated sites and the production of authority in the Eastern Weald of England. Medieval Archaeology 59: 233-254.

This paper takes a case study of moated sites in the eastern Weald to examine the role they may have played in displays of inequality in the minds of the medieval population. As well as linking through to interpretations of moats for defence or status it also directly draws on the ‘Battle for Bodiam’ which has been raging in castles studies since the 1990s.

Neil Christie and others – Medieval Britain and Ireland in 2014. Medieval Archaeology 59: 290-336.

Howes – Cambridgeshire – A short report on excavations at a small deserted medieval settlement near Cambridge which discovered ditched plots, pits, wells and other features. The area investigated declined in the 15th century and occupation stopped in the 16th century although the area was never fully deserted.

Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photograps

One of the best and earliest collections of aerial photographs is housed at Cambridge University and includes many taken by JK St Joseph at the behest of the Deserted Medieval Villages Research Group in the 1950s. There is an online catalogue where you can search for photographs by subject or place – see the previous blog on aerial photographs here. In recent weeks the website has gone through an overhaul which is improving access to many resources.

Since then, images have started to appear on the Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography website Рa great addition when studying settlement Р At the moment it is hit and miss whether the one you are looking for is available but a number of early ones are starting to appear Рat least ones from the 1960s and many showing excellent village earthworks. Currently there is no way to copy images but look at these two links and they will give you examples of what to expect РClopton in Cambridgeshire and Wharram Percy in Yorkshire.

As well as searching for specific places there is a Village theme which contains a number of excellent examples for browsing – and can be found here. Of the near 12,000 photographs listed in this theme nearly 4,000 have photos online.

Screenshot of the ‘Villages’ theme….


This is obviously still a work in progress but big steps have been made in recent months putting more and more images online – so keep going back to see what additions appear in the future.