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An original and approachable account of how archaeology can tell the story of the English village. Shapwick lies in the middle of Somerset, next to the important monastic centre of Glastonbury: the abbey owned the manor for 800 years from the 8th to the 16th century and its abbots and officials had a great influence on the lives of the peasants who lived there. It is possible that abbot Dunstan, one of the great reformers of tenth century monasticism directed the planning of the village. The Shapwick Project examined the development and history of an English parish and village over a ten thousand-year period. This was a truly multi-disciplinary project. Not only were a battery of archaeological and historical techniques explored - such as field walking, test-pitting, archaeological excavation, aerial reconnaissance, documentary research and cartographic analysis - but numerous other techniques such as building analysis, dendrochronological dating and soil analysis were undertaken on a large scale. The result is a fascinating study about how the community lived and prospered in Shapwick. In addition we learn how a group of enthusiastic and dedicated scholars unravelled this story. As such there is much here to inspire and enthuse others who might want to embark on a landscape study of a parish or village area. Seven of the ten chapters begin with a fictional vignette to bring the story of the village to life. Text-boxes elucidate re-occurring themes and techniques. Extensively illustrated in colour including 100 full page images.
The Middle Ages are all around us in Britain. The Tower of London and the castles of Scotland and Wales are mainstays of cultural tourism and an inspiring cross-section of later medieval finds can now be seen on display in museums across England, Scotland, and Wales. Medieval institutions from Parliament and monarchy to universities are familiar to us and we come into contact with the later Middle Ages every day when we drive through a village or town, look up at the castle on the hill, visit a local church or wonder about the earthworks in the fields we see from the window of a train. The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain provides an overview of the archaeology of the later Middle Ages in Britain between AD 1066 and 1550. 61 entries, divided into 10 thematic sections, cover topics ranging from later medieval objects, human remains, archaeological science, standing buildings, and sites such as castles and monasteries, to the well-preserved relict landscapes which still survive. This is a rich and exciting period of the past and most of what we have learnt about the material culture of our medieval past has been discovered in the past two generations. This volume provides comprehensive coverage of the latest research and describes the major projects and concepts that are changing our understanding of our medieval heritage.
In the Middle Ages monasteries were among the greatest owners of land in Britain; today their influence on the landscape can be seen not only in the magnificent monastic ruins, but also in earthworks, patterns of landholding and even industrial remains.
For Professor and Channel 4 personality Mick Aston, landscape archaeology remains his first love, because it provides so much information about how ordinary communities lived in the past. Environmental archaeology, experimental archaeology, the archaeology of buildings, and his great project at the village of Shapwick in Somerset are just some of the other subjects brought excitingly to life in Mick's colourful and action-packed pages. Reading this book, it is easy to share the author's basic conviction that "Archaeology is fun."
The Fens of eastern England form a very distinct environment which has produced particular patterns of prehistoric occupation. Dr Francis Pryor, the Director of the Flag Fen Archaeological Trust, gives his own personal account of his discovery and excavation of this now-famous Bronze Age site near Peterborough. In addition to the Bronze Age ditched field systems, the massive timber platform and the avenue of posts with votive deposits, Dr Pryor describes the Neolithic pit grave on the site and the later Iron Age village. This is an updated, expanded and re-illustrated edition of a book first published over 10 years ago.
Most places in Britain have had a local history written about them. Up until this century these histories have addressed more parochial issues, such as the life of the manor, rather than explaining the features and changes in the landscape in a factual manner. Much of what is visible today in Britain's landscape is the result of a chain of social and natural processes, and can be interpreted through fieldwork as well as from old maps and documents. Michael Aston uses a wide range of source material to study the complex and dynamic history of the countryside, illustrating his points with aerial photographs, maps, plans and charts. He shows how to understand the surviving remains as well as offering his own explanations for how our landscape has evolved.
Bringing history to life in full-colour

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