Offa's Dyke: Landscape & Hegemony in Eighth-Century Britain [Paperback]

Keith Ray(Author); Ian Bapty(Author)

$46.00
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ISBN: 9781905119356 | Published by: Windgather Press | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 464p, H9.7 x W7.3, 200 illus
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Offa's Dyke

Details

The massive ancient linear earthwork that provides the sole commemoration of an extraordinary Anglo-Saxon king and that gives its name to one of our most popular contemporary walking trails remains an enigma. Despite over a century of study, we still do not fully understand how or when Britain’s largest linear monument was built, and in recent years the views of those who have studied the Dyke have diverged even about such basic questions as its physical extent and purpose.
This book offers a fresh perspective on Offa’s Dyke arising from over a decade of study and of conservation practice by its two authors. It explores the specifically Mercian and English context for its creation, and identifies ‘political places’ along its route that may have preexisted it. As well as reviewing past studies of the Dyke and debates about its character, the authors identify build practices not previously noted. They demonstrate the fundamental uniformity of the design of the earthwork, including in Gloucestershire, and show how it facilitated surveillance of the landscape at key locations. Offa’s Dyke is explained as the most dramatic among several devices of hegemony deployed by the Mercian regime of the late eighth/early ninth century, and as the key element in an early Welsh Marches frontier paralleled in Charlemagne’s contemporary European empire.

Table of Contents

On Offa’s Dyke (Gladys Mary Coles) vi
Acknowledgements vii
Preface ix
Foreword: Christopher Catling (Secretary, Royal Commission on
the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales) xi
Prefatory notes xiii
Introduction: Landscape and hegemony: Offa’s Dyke in dual perspective 1
PART ONE: THE BACKGROUND REVIEWED
1 Offa’s Dyke in profile: character, course and controversies 10
2 Studying Offa’s Dyke: a cumulative inheritance 55
3 The Mercians: a border history 93
PART TWO: THE EVIDENCE EXPLORED
4 Placing the Dyke in the landscape 122
5 The structure of the Dyke 164
6 Building and operating the Dyke 214
PART THREE: THE CONTEXT RE-APPRAISED
7 In a frontier landscape 254
8 The material of Mercian hegemony 298
9 Offa’s Dyke: power in the landscape 334
Epilogue: Reconnecting Offa’s Dyke in the twenty-first century 365
Appendix: Selected Offa’s Dyke profiles 377
Notes 381
List of Figures 427
Bibliography 430
Index 439

Reviews & Quotes

"“This is a book which represents a meticulous yet engaging study of an important and imposing field monument in which the archaeological details of its design and its historical context, its local and regional landscape setting, as well as its historical context are all combined in a way which decidedly raises the bar for landscape and other historians — of any period.”"

Landscape History ()

""...this is an important contribution to the ongoing study on Offa’s Dyke, a valuable successor to Cyril Fox’s British Academy Volume… [ the authors] have certainly provided us with considerably more to think about.”"
Bob Silvester
(MSRG31)

"“This is a book which represents a meticulous yet engaging study of an important and imposing field monument in which the archaeological details of its design and its historical context, its local and regional landscape setting, as well as its historical context are all combined in a way which decidedly raises the bar for landscape and other historians — of any period.” "
Jeremy Haslam
()

"“…the book’s value lies not only in the synthesis of past work it offers, the new field observations it identifies, and the ideological context it explores, but in providing a foundation for a new generation of scholars…” "
Howard Willliams
(Volume 166 (2017))

" “…a landmark in Anglo-Saxon archaeology and field survey… [Offa’s Dyke] was an impressive achievement for its time, and so is this book.” "
John Blair
()

"Engaging, erudite, and excellent, it is a book that every putative walker of the dyke should read and, in so doing, lift their eyes from the path to take in the landscape surrounding the dyke and the figures of old who lived, fought, and died along its length."

Brycheiniog ()

"“This book is a welcome and substantial addition to the literature on Offa’s Dyke… The book is attractively designed with numerous excellent maps and with a large number of photographs (many of them colour), the majority of high quality; it is clearly written and very reasonably priced.” "
Michel Hare
()

"“This book is a welcome and substantial addition to the literature on Offa’s Dyke… The book is attractively designed with numerous excellent maps and with a large number of photographs (many of them colour), the majority of high quality; it is clearly written and very reasonably priced. There are topographical and subject indexes. The book should be read by anyone planning to explore the Dyke…” "

Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society ()

"“[an] opulent and extremely informative volume about Offa’s Dyke, and in the conclusions the authors’ offer this sensible remark: ‘We view this book, not in any sense as the last word on the subject, but rather as a point of departure’ (p.373). A humble comment from those who have contributed such a valuable addition to the study of this great monument.” "

Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society ()

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