An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms

By C. J. Arnold | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Elusive craftspeople

The study of technology is important in its own right, but it also deepens our understanding of a society as a whole because it is intimately connected with both the way in which people are organised and the structure of the economy. We may examine the technologies applied to the basic raw materials used in early Anglo-Saxon society-wood, metal, clay, fibres and minerals-paying particular attention to aspects that are peculiar to the period and leaving the general matters of technology as understood. We must also give some consideration to composite commodities. Of equal importance are the source and nature of the raw materials and the effort and organisation that lie behind the crafts and skills described.

The most prolific source for the study of Anglo-Saxon technology is the vast array of artefacts that have survived as grave-goods in burials. An exam-ination of the results of early Anglo-Saxon industry points to the effort and organisation involved in procuring the raw materials. Detailed studies of particular artefacts direct attention to the varying complexity involved in manufacturing items, many of them designed for specific functions. Much of the variation in the items is indeed directly related to their use, but the variability in the design of objects destined for the same function may point to socio-cultural differences. There have been few detailed studies of the tech-nology of particular types of artefact, or products requiring tools in their manufacture. Rather, individual studies have been made of certain types in the reports on the excavation of cemeteries. Where such detailed studies have been made they tend towards the typological and shy away from the tech-nological aspects. Similarly the sociological aspects are rarely dealt with although there are indications that attitudes are changing (e.g. Dickinson and Härke 1992).


BROOCHES

It is not surprising that the more complex, composite artefacts are rarer than those whose production is relatively straightforward. Despite the level of organisation required to bring together the materials and expertise to produce

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An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Tables xiii
  • Preface to the First Edition xv
  • Preface to the Revised Second Edition xvi
  • Introduction xvii
  • Chapter 1 - A History of Early Anglo-Saxon Archaeology 1
  • Chapter 2 - Migration Theory 19
  • Chapter 3 - Farm and Field 33
  • Chapter 4 - Elusive Craftspeople 67
  • Chapter 5 - Exchange 101
  • Chapter 6 - The Topography of Belief 149
  • Chapter 7 - Mighty Kinfolk 176
  • Chapter 8 - Kingdoms 211
  • Bibliography 231
  • Index 251
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