The Glass Vessels of Anglo-Saxon England: c. AD 650-1100 [Paperback]

Rose Broadley(Author)

ISBN: 9781789253726 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 224p, H11 x W8.5, b/w and color
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The Glass Vessels of Anglo-Saxon England


This volume combines a comprehensive exploration of all vessel glass from middle and late Anglo-Saxon England and a review of the early glass with detailed interpretation of its meaning and place in Anglo-Saxon society. Analysis of a comprehensive dataset of all known Anglo-Saxon vessel glass of middle Anglo-Saxon date as a group has enabled the first quantification of form, color, and decoration, and provided the structure for a new typological, chronological and geographical framework. The quantification and comparison of the vessel glass fragments and their attributes, and the mapping of the national distribution of these characteristics (forms, colors and decoration types), both represent significant developments and create rich opportunities for the future. The geographical scope is dictated by the glass fragments, which are from settlements located along the coast from Northumbria to Kent and along the south coast to Southampton. Seven case studies of intra-site glass distribution reveal that the anticipated pattern of peripheral disposal alongside dining waste is widespread, although exceptions exist at the monastic sites at Lyminge, Kent, and Jarrow, Tyne and Wear. Overall, the research themes addressed are the glass corpus and its typology; glass vessels in Anglo-Saxon society; and glass vessels as an economic indicator of trade and exchange. Analysis reveals new understandings of both the glass itself and the role of glass vessels in the social and economic mechanisms of early medieval England.

There is currently no comprehensive work examining early medieval vessel glass, particularly the post sixth-century fragmentary material from settlements, and my monograph will fill that gap. The space is particularly noticeable when considering books on archaeological glass from England: the early medieval period is the only one with no reference volume; no recent, through and accessible source of information. The British Museum published a monograph entitled ‘Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Glass in the British Museum’ in 2008, but as the title suggests it is a catalogue at heart, and of a collection of fifth and sixth century grave goods in a single museum. Chronologically, a volume on the subject would fill the space between various books on Roman glass from Britain and ‘Medieval glass vessels found in England c. AD 1200-1500’ by Rachel Tyson. This book on early medieval vessel glass and the contexts from which it came will also make a significant contribution to early medieval settlement studies and the archaeology of trade in this period: both are growth areas of scholarship and interest and vessel glass provides a new tool to address key debates in the field.

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables

Chapter 1: Introduction
Glass in early medieval England
Contextualising glass vessels as a container type
Vessel types and chronology
Glass from the emporia and from settlements in western Britain
Characterisation of site assemblages and the national corpus
Site types and intra-site distribution

Chapter 2: Middle and Late Anglo-Saxon vessel glass: form, colour and decoration
Vessel glass fragments from England c. 650–1100
The national corpus
Correspondence analysis
Geographical distribution

Chapter 3: The site assemblages: profiles and comparisons
Assemblages from emporia
Ecclesiastical site assemblages
Comparing emporia and ecclesiastical averages

Chapter 4: Consumption: vessel glass in context
Minsters or palaces: the site-type debate
Landscape locations of sites with glass vessel assemblages
Review of associated imported pottery and other material culture categories
Intra-site consumption of glass: case studies

Chapter 5: The wider context: site types, social identities and networks of exchange
Vessel glass meets settlement studies
Social identities
Networks of exchange
International comparisons


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