The Long Eighth Century

By Inge Lyse Hansen; Chris Wickham | Go to book overview

BEFORE OR AFTER MISSION
SOCIAL RELATIONS ACROSS THE MIDDLE AND LOWER
RHINE IN THE SEVENTH AND EIGHTH CENTURIES
Ian Wood

Central to any reading of the economy of the eighth century is the history of the emporia of the Rhineland, Dorestad and Domburg,1 to which one should add other mercantile centres including the city of Cologne.2 Dorestad, in particular, is known from archaeological and numismatic evidence to have had trading links over a vast area, stretching from Mainz and the Middle Rhine, to London, York, Haithabu, Kaupang and Birka.3 The obvious arteries for this trading network are the coastlines of the North Sea and the waters of the lower Rhine. At the same time cemetery archaeology suggests that this riverine pattern was crossed by links from the Frankish heartlands, across the Rhine into Saxony. The majority of this material comes, admittedly, from the Migration period proper,4 but the evidence for the sixth and seventh centuries has also prompted questions on the extent of Frankish settlement in Westfalia.5 A subsequent decline in supposedly Frankish material has been linked to a Saxon victory over the Frankish Bructeri in the 690s, recorded by Bede.6 Archaeology might suggest a hiatus in connections in Frankish

____________________
1
R. Hodges, Dark Age Economics (London, 1982), pp. 47–65.
2
S. Schütte, “Continuity problems and authority structures in Cologne”, in G. Ausenda ed., After Empire: towards an ethnology of Europe's barbarians (Woodbridge, 1995), pp. 163–69.
3
See the map in W.A. van Es and W.A.M. Hessing eds., Romeinen, Friezen en Franken in het hart van Nederland (Bodemonderzoek, 1994), p. 95.
4
H.W. Böhme, “Ethnos und Religion der Bewohner Westfalens”, in C. Stiegemann and M. Wemhoff eds., Kunst und Kultur der Karolingerzeit, Karl der Große und Papst Leo in Paderborn, Beiträge zum Katalog der Austellung Paderborn 1999 (Mainz, 1999), pp. 237–45.
5
F. Siegmund, “Frühmittelalterliche Gräberfelder in Ostwestfalen”, Kunst und Kultur der Karolingerzeit, Karl der Große und Papst Leo in Paderborn, Beiträge zum Katalog der Austellung Paderborn 1999, pp. 256–62.
6
Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica, V 11, eds. B. Colgrave and R.A.B. Mynors, Bede: Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Oxford, 1969); C. Grünewald, “Frühmittelalterliche Gräbfelder im Münsterland”, Kunst und Kultur der Karolingerzeit, Karl der Große und Papst Leo in Paderborn, Beiträge zum Katalog der Austellung Paderborn 1999, p. 252.

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