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The Early Medieval Period

Mick Aston, Bruce Eagles, David Evans, Keith Gardner, Moira and Brian Gittos, Teresa Hall, Bill Horner, Susan Pearce, Sam Turner, Howard Williams and Barbara Yorke

The Archaeology of South West England (2008)

The South West of England, and in particular the three western counties of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, has a long history of study of the Early Medieval period. This has concentrated on the perceived “gap” between the end of the Roman period and the influence of Anglo-Saxon culture; a gap of several hundred years in the west of the region. There has been less emphasis on the eastern parts of the region, perhaps as they are seen as peripheral to Anglo-Saxon studies focused on the east of England. The region identified as the kingdom of Dumnonia has received detailed treatment in most recent work on the subject, for example Pearce (1978; 2004), KR Dark (1994) and Somerset has been covered by Costen (1992) with recent work reviewed by Webster (2000b). The area that became Wessex has been discussed from a historical viewpoint by Yorke (1995) and its later archae- ology by Hinton (1977; 1994a). Wiltshire has been reviewed by Eagles (2001), Gloucestershire is covered by Hooke (1985), Heighway (1987) and has also been the subject of two recent conferences (Ecclestone et al. 2004). There is a short review of the Dorset evidence by Hinton (1998) aimed at the non-specialist. The collection of papers edited by Aston and Lewis (1994) covers much of the region.

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