Transformations of identity and society in Essex, c.AD 400-1066

Mirrington, Alexander (2013) Transformations of identity and society in Essex, c.AD 400-1066. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This study examines the archaeological reflections of group identity and socio-economic networks in the region of Essex and London in the Anglo-Saxon period, between c.400 and 1066. Given its location in the south-east of England, Essex was a key zone of socio-political interaction during the early medieval period. This doctoral research has brought together the stray and excavated archaeological material from the region for the first time. The thesis presented here is centred on diachronic, quantified distributional analyses of three key material culture classes: dress accessories, pottery, and coinage. The discussion synthesises the results of these analyses, examining the observed patterns within their broader archaeological context.

The thesis reveals the emergence of a hybrid dress style in the 5th and 6th centuries. This appears to have been actively created in Essex to reflect a diverse cultural inheritance, but not a specific ethnic identity. However, from the mid-7th century these styles were rejected in favour of dynamic fashions, reflecting the maritime focus of the region, and especially links with the Merovingian/Carolingian Continent. From the later 9th century, Scandinavian dress and cultural practice are also apparent, particularly in north Essex

This Continental orientation reflects the emergence and transformation of the North Sea network. The engagement of Essex communities with this network is studied in detail in this thesis. The coinage and pottery analyses reveal the emergence of several exchange hubs along the North Sea coast, as well as a generalized engagement with long-distance exchange among coastal communities. This system was disrupted, but not destroyed, by the Vikings, who linked Essex with wider Scandinavian networks. However, the long-term pattern shows the decline of coastal sites in favour of urban centres from the later 9th century.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Loveluck, C.P.
Sykes, N.J.
Laing, L.
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 13443
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2013 12:54
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2018 19:55

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