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The Anglo-Saxons in Leicestershire

Richard Knox

The Anglo-Saxons in Leicestershire, pp. 95-104 (2004)


This book is largely made up of the papers presented to the 25th anniversary conference of the Leicestershire Museums Archaeological Fieldwork Group held on 7th and 8th September 2001 at the University of Leicester, which was well supported by the local archaeological community. The papers attempt to synthesise the most recent knowledge of Leicestershire and Rutland’s archaeology. It is some twenty years since the last attempt to do this in the publication of ‘Leicestershire Archaeology – The Present State of Knowledge’ (Liddle 1982). It is the membership of the Fieldwork Group, along with the Museums’ Survey Team and Archaeological Unit and, in more recent years, the University of Leicester Archaeological Services and other contracting units, that have expanded our body of knowledge so dramatically in this time.

Like much of the prehistoric period the study of the early Anglo-Saxons in Leicestershire has, until recently, been almost entirely artefactual and based around burials, with very few occupation sites known. The social and political background to the period remains uncertain, with many theories as to the nature of the Anglo-Saxon take-over being discussed. There are many more questions to be asked than answers given and it will take many more years of research before our understanding can be significantly improved.

Early 20th century researchers into Anglo-Saxon Leicestershire could at least find some information on the period thanks to the work of John Nichols at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries (Nichols 1795-1815) and the early foundation of Leicester Museum.The variety of objects found in graves had been well recorded although the methods of retrieval were always far from scientific.

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