Hana Lewis

Pattern and process in the material culture of Anglo-Saxon rural settlements

Pattern and process in the material culture of Anglo-Saxon rural settlements

This dissertation furthers current scholarship and understanding of the material culture from Anglo-Saxon rural settlements. The purpose of my research is to collect, analyse and correlate material culture from 45 Anglo-Saxon rural settlements in England, spanning the Anglo-Saxon period (c. 5th–11th centuries), in order to gather information on artefact provenance, distribution, form and function within each settlement for cross-analysis and comparison. Such a synthesis of Anglo-Saxon material culture from rural settlement sites has previously not been undertaken. The collation of the diversified data and evidence into a single interpretive model will produce an informed reference tool for the study of material culture from Anglo-Saxon rural settlements on a national scale, a resource currently unavailable.

To date, comparative material culture studies have predominantly focused on high status settlements, such as the secular elite/monastic centre of Flixborough, Lincolnshire, emporia and ‘productive’ sites, minster settlements, and Late Anglo-Saxon urban centres such as York and Lincoln, at the expense of the examination of non-elite rural settlements. Fortunately, the finds datasets available for a detailed analysis of the material culture from Anglo-Saxon rural settlement sites are extensive. This is due to a marked rise in the number of excavations that have taken place across England, particularly in the last 30 years or so, many of which have been, or are in the process of being, published. Current accepted standards and practices for archaeological publications typically dictate that the analysis of the material culture from a site will involve the isolated examination of individual artefact types and forms, with each artefact type presented separately within the text, normally in the form of a catalogue. Such compartmentalisation of artefacts has led to calls within scholarship for more comparative and synthesised methodologies to be applied, so that an overall cohesive and culturally realistic approach can be implemented towards the study of material culture from settlements. In light of this, a synthesised approach is implemented in this dissertation, for the purpose of analysing and comparing the material culture assemblages in order to expand our knowledge of the status, functions and activities carried out across a range of rural settlements of the Anglo-Saxon period.


 Educational background

  • MA, Archaeology of London, UCL, 2004 – 2005
  • BA (Hons), Prehistoric and historic archaeology and medieval studies, University of Sydney, 1999 - 2003

Lewis, H., 2016. Excavations at Moorgate Telephone Exchange, London EC2Y. London Archaeologist 14/7, 171–7.

Lewis, H. 2013. Somers Town Goods Yard: Excavations at Brill Place, Camden NW1. London Archaeologist 13/11, 287–93.

Bull, R., Davis, S., Lewis, H. & C. Phillpotts with A. Birchenough, 2011. Holywell Priory and the development of Shoreditch to c 1600: Archaeology from the London Overground East London Line. London: Museum of London Archaeology.

Lewis, H., 2010. From prehistoric to urban Shoreditch: Excavations at Holywell Priory, Holywell Lane, London EC2. London Archaeologist 12/9, 249–54.

Lewis, H., 2009. The elusive vill: In search of Kingston's late Saxon manor. London Archaeologist 12/5, 119–26.

Birchenough, A., Dwyer, E., Elsden, N. & H. Lewis, 2009. Tracks through time: Archaeology and history from the London Overground East London line. London: Museum of London Archaeology.

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