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6. F2012 Worshiping and Living in Anglo-Saxon England
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6. F2012 Worshiping and Living in Anglo-Saxon England

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Some aspects of life for kings and commoners (farmers) in the 7th and 8th centuries,

Some aspects of life for kings and commoners (farmers) in the 7th and 8th centuries,

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  • he English word itself stems from the Anglo- Saxon stiraporstigrap (stigan- to mount; rap- a rope) and indicates, as does the French etrier(from Old High German estrifa- a strap of leather), that the early form was usually of material less permanent than metal.With the bitter and frequent conflicts between the Tsin and East Tsin dynasties and the nomadic Huns in the 4th century, and the subsequent troubles between these same peoples and eastern Europe in the 5th, it would not be surprising if the knowledge of the use and benefit of the stirrup is eventually demonstrated as having spread from China through central Asia to the boundaries of eastern Europe by the 5th century A.D.In Europe itself, the first appearance of the stirrup, as has often been repeated, is amongst the Avars who arrived in Dacia from the Don basin in 556 and were to replace the Lombards in Pannonia in 568.
  • Gold penannular armlet: the monsters have long snouts, rows of teeth, triangular hsaped eyes and long tails which interlock at the back of the hoop. The cast is solid and the decoration is chased. These bracelets can be associated either with art from the Caucasus or with the Scythian-style art of western Siberia.
Takikistan 4-5th C BC
Dimensions
Diameter: 7.9 centimetres
Weight: 140.5 grammes
  • at Yeavering, a largenumber of cattle skulls placed into a pit dug into the foundation trench of BuildingD2 (which also acted as a focus for human burials and has been interpretedby the excavator as a ‘temple’) may have been stacked up against the inner wall,immediately north of the E. entrance to the building
  • At the North German coastal sites in the Anglo-Saxon homelands, sheep are generally poorly represented. At eight of these sites, sheep form only be- tween 5.9% and 27.6% of the primary domestic mammal assemblages. At West Sow pigs very common at very early sites – perhaps because fo quick growth.A feature that does seem to distinguish the Anglo-Saxon occupation of West Stow from the Roman and Iron Age periods is the decreased use of horseflesh in the diet. Horse bones are poorly represented in all the Anglo-Saxon fea- tures at West Stow. In contrast, they are quite common at coastal sites in the Anglo-Saxon homelands. At the site of FeddersenWierde (Reichstein 1972: 144-145), a north German coastal site near Bremerhaven occupied between the 1st century B.C. and the 4th-5th centuries A.C., horse remains make up 14.6% of the identified frag- ments of the primary domestic mammals (N = 42,754) and 13.3% of the MNI (N = 1862). Horses outnumber pigs, on the basis of both NISP and MNI, at FeddersenWierde.The evidence from West Stow indicates that the Adven- tusSaxonum in the early 5th century did not result in marked changes in animal husbandry practices. The aging, measurement, and butchery data from the 5th-century SFBs at West Stow suggest broad continuities with the earlier Anglo-Saxon and Roman periods. The one clear change that can be deduced from the West Stow faunal data is the use of a larger number of pigs in the early 5th century, at the time when the Anglo-Saxon village was first established.
  • Anglo-Scandinavian sickle 8th/12th century AD part of an extensive collection from a known settlement. The length is 170.9mm, maximum width of blade is 18.9mm, the thickness of blade 3.5mm wide and the bent tang is 12.4mm in length.
  • Bishopstone and Lyminge have produced compelling archaeological evidence for ritual behaviour, in a form now being recognised on an increasing number of Anglo-Saxon settlements: so-called "special deposits", an early medieval version of votive offerings better known from prehistoric times. We need to exercise caution in assigning all potential deposits of this type to ritual action. Many of the domestic pits produced whole or semi-articulated animals, most of which probably represent butchered carcasses. Rather different in character and meaning, however, are specific depositionary "events" linked to the abandonment of buildings and structures.On both sites, ritual activity of this kind was embodied in the burial of iron artefacts, either singly, or (in the case of Bishopstone) in a hoard. At Lyminge, an iron plough coulter was carefully deposited at the base of a sunken-featured building, on the point of its abandonment in the C7th (this is the first known such coulter from Anglo-Saxon England, described in News May/Jun 2011, no 118). The hoard of iron tools and implements from Bishopstone (spanning a spectacular array of 25 objects) was discovered beneath two metres of chalk rubble dumped into the cellared foundation of a timber tower abandoned towards the end of the ninth century. The coulter's significance lies in its date and its function. The simple ard is efficient at breaking light ground. By contrast, the "heavy plough" breaks and turns the earth, and pulled by a team of up to eight oxen can cope with conditions beyond an ard's capacity. The Lyminge coulter weighs 6kg – Thomas describes it as "a substantial piece of metal" – and it would have been part of a valuable piece of farm machinery. Thomas thinks the coulter had been laid on the floor as a votive offering when the building was abandoned.Peter Fowler, a leading Anglo-Saxon archaeologist and former professor of archaeology at Newcastle University, said the find was of "huge significance"."This is the object I have been waiting for all my life," Professor Fowler said."It was known in Roman Britain but apparently then forgotten, and with a lack of evidence we believed that such a plough was unknown in England before the Late Saxon period."
  • Bishopstone and Lyminge have produced compelling archaeological evidence for ritual behaviour, in a form now being recognised on an increasing number of Anglo-Saxon settlements: so-called "special deposits", an early medieval version of votive offerings better known from prehistoric times. We need to exercise caution in assigning all potential deposits of this type to ritual action. Many of the domestic pits produced whole or semi-articulated animals, most of which probably represent butchered carcasses. Rather different in character and meaning, however, are specific depositionary "events" linked to the abandonment of buildings and structures.On both sites, ritual activity of this kind was embodied in the burial of iron artefacts, either singly, or (in the case of Bishopstone) in a hoard. At Lyminge, an iron plough coulter was carefully deposited at the base of a sunken-featured building, on the point of its abandonment in the C7th (this is the first known such coulter from Anglo-Saxon England, described in News May/Jun 2011, no 118). The hoard of iron tools and implements from Bishopstone (spanning a spectacular array of 25 objects) was discovered beneath two metres of chalk rubble dumped into the cellared foundation of a timber tower abandoned towards the end of the ninth century. The coulter's significance lies in its date and its function. The simple ard is efficient at breaking light ground. By contrast, the "heavy plough" breaks and turns the earth, and pulled by a team of up to eight oxen can cope with conditions beyond an ard's capacity. The Lyminge coulter weighs 6kg – Thomas describes it as "a substantial piece of metal" – and it would have been part of a valuable piece of farm machinery. Thomas thinks the coulter had been laid on the floor as a votive offering when the building was abandoned.Peter Fowler, a leading Anglo-Saxon archaeologist and former professor of archaeology at Newcastle University, said the find was of "huge significance"."This is the object I have been waiting for all my life," Professor Fowler said."It was known in Roman Britain but apparently then forgotten, and with a lack of evidence we believed that such a plough was unknown in England before the Late Saxon period."
  • Possible bias in numbers from different classes
  • Carry loads on head; carry loads before muscles fully developAdequate meat roasted in embersOne man lived to 28-30 missing left arm and shoulder as a result of a congenital defect and yet was raised to adulthood.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Worshiping and Living in Anglo- Saxon England
    • 2. Summary of Video: Work and Faith• Classes – Bretwalda: Unofficial “Britain Ruler” – Kings: Royal halls cf. Yeavering – Thegns – Ceorls – Free farmers – Slaves – War and lack of economic support• Faith – Trickle down from king – Mixture of Christian and pagan practices and symbols
    • 3. Fleming, M. P. and R. C. Clarke 1998. Physical evidence for the antiquity of Cannabissativa L. (Cannabaceae). Journal of the International Hemp Association 5(2): 80-92
    • 4. Anglo-Scandinavianstirrup10th centuryOrigins• Scythian hypothesis• Known in China 523 CE• Avars in Romania 556 CE• Franks 8th C.• Stirrup found in Vendel III grave 7th-8th century• England - 10th C.
    • 5. Scythian bracelet
    • 6. Jennifer Paxton
    • 7. Yeavering• Site of late prehistoric hill-fort• Royal ‘Palace’ – Rectangular halls – Largest 300 m2• Pagan temple• Auditorium
    • 8. Yeavering layout
    • 9. Yeavering: Great Hall - Palace
    • 10. Yeavering
    • 11. Yeavering – ‘Temple’
    • 12. Bamburgh• Earliest burials – British style (long cyst)• Later burials Christian wo grave goods 560-730• One with knife born in Iona or northern Ireland• Others from west Northumberland, Cumbria or the Borders region
    • 13. Anglo-Saxon Agriculture• How did the Anglo-Saxons adapt Germanic subsistence practices to the new British environment?• Did they introduce new breeds of animals and new animal husbandry or did they adopt local animal husbandry strategies?
    • 14. Food – Animals at West Stow, Suffolk
    • 15. Sickle
    • 16. Plough- Ard or Light
    • 17. Lyminge, Kent 7th C. (570-650)Plough – Heavy plough
    • 18. Heights of English males
    • 19. Studying the bones• Osteoarthritis Predominantly Males• Schmorl’s nodes• Low rates of tooth loss, caries• Dental attrition• One cemetery (Worthy Park) average # children/woman 2.3• Age at death (7 cemeteries) – Male 37.4 Female 35.2
    • 20. Compassionate Care Burwell, Cambridgeshire, 7th century
    • 21. Anglo-Saxons and LeprosyPagan• Beckford – 6th C. - w. spear, bucket and knife• Burwell• Barrington, Cam. – 500-650 - high status womanChristian• Norwich, St John the Baptist – 10-11th C. -35 lepers, isolated

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