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Identifying outdoor assembly sites in early medieval England

Baker, J; Brookes, S; (2015) Identifying outdoor assembly sites in early medieval England. Journal of Field Archaeology , 40 (1) pp. 3-21. 10.1179/0093469014Z.000000000103. Green open access

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Abstract

Venues of outdoor assembly are an important type of archaeological site. Using the example of early medieval (Anglo-Saxon; 5th-11th centuries A.D.) meeting places in England we describe a new multidisciplinary method for identifying and characterizing such sites. This method employs place name studies, field survey, and phenomenological approaches such as viewshed, sound-mark, and landscape character recording. While each site may comprise a unique combination of landscape features, it is argued that by applying criteria of accessibility, distinctiveness, functionality, and location, important patterns in the characteristics of outdoor assembly places emerge. Our observations relating to Anglo- Saxon meeting places have relevance to other ephemeral sites. Archaeological fieldwork can benefit greatly by a rigorous application of evidence from place name studies and folklore/oral history to the question of outdoor assembly sites. Also, phenomenological approaches are important in assessing the choice of assembly places by past peoples.

Type: Article
Title: Identifying outdoor assembly sites in early medieval England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1179/0093469014Z.000000000103
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1179/0093469014Z.000000000103
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: early medieval England, hundreds, assembly places, place names, temporary sites, judicial governance, phenomenology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1501636
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