The Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of Southern Britain AD 450-650: Beneath the Tribal Hidage [Paperback]

Sue Harrington(Author); Martin Welch(Author)

ISBN: 9781785709708 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2018 | Language: English 240p, H9.7 x W7.4, b/w and col. illustrations
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The Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of Southern Britain AD 450-650


The Tribal Hidage, attributed to the 7th century, records the named groups and polities of early Anglo-Saxon England and the taxation tribute due from their lands and surpluses. Whilst providing some indication of relative wealth and its distribution, rather little can be deduced from the Hidage concerning the underlying economic and social realities of the communities documented. Sue Harrington and the late Martin Welch have adopted a new approach to these issues, based on archaeological information from 12,000 burials and 28,000 objects of the period AD 450–650. The nature, distribution and spatial relationships of settlement and burial evidence are examined over time against a background of the productive capabilities of the environment in which they are set, the availability of raw materials, evidence for metalworking and other industrial/craft activities, and communication and trade routes. This has enabled the identification of central areas of wealth that influenced places around them. Key within this period was the influence of the Franks who may have driven economic exploitation by building on the pre-existing Roman infrastructure of the south-east. Frankish material culture was as widespread as that of the Kentish people, whose wealth is evident in many well-furnished graves, but more nuanced approaches to wealth distribution are apparent further to the West, perhaps due to ongoing interaction with communities who maintained an essentially ‘Romano-British’ way of life.

Table of Contents


1: The early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern Britain: evidence and questions

2: The Early Anglo-Saxon census

3: The environmental context of southern Britain

4: Travelling and using and the land- and sea-scapes

5: Sites, locations and soils

6: Surrey: a case study

7: A common wealth in iron?

8: Community wealth in iron compared

9: A restricted wealth in copper alloys?

10: Esoteric materials: amber, amethyst, gold and silver

11: External forces? A review of the Frankish influence within southern Britain

12: The Frankish data examined

13: Synthesis: beneath the Tribal Hidage

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