The Development of Anglo-Saxon Village West Stow Essay examples

Decent Essays
West Stow is an area in Britain located within modern day Suffolk, which through the mid 5th century to early 7th century CE, housed a small Anglo-Saxon village. The setting for the formation of West Stow, and for Anglo-Saxon Britain in general, begins around 407 CE with the exit of Roman troops from Britain. In this paper, I will provide an overview of the circumstances that led to the Angles and the Saxons invading/migrating to Britain, what they built in West Stow, and whether/how we know what we do about this time period from archaeological findings, or from primary text sources. To begin, as stated in the introduction, the Roman empire pulled it’s armies stationed in Britain to Gaul and possibly other locations within the empire…show more content…
One of the big things from a cultural standpoint is the approximate social order of the Anglo-Saxons, as determined from references to various laws regarding them in the Salic Law. At the top of the order were the Kings in the various kingdoms within Britain, under them were freemen in the king’s service, clergy, regular freemen, freedmen (Freed slaves), and at the bottom, slaves. These texts also give us some idea of the economy and currency, especially when mentioned in relation to various fines, as evidenced here; “…if any one be summoned before the court by the king’s law and does not come, he shall be sentenced to 600 denarii, which make 15 solidi.”, and other such laws from the text. A good portion of our historical evidence also comes from archaeological excavation of various sites in West Stow. One of the most significant archaeological locations has been Sutton Hoo, grave mounds dating back to the 6th and early 7th centuries. It contains 17 different burial mounds, the most notable of which (Mound 1) contained an undisturbed ship burial containing art, jewelry, weapons, armor, textiles, and fine clothing/accessories. It’s clear from the richness of the burial that whoever was buried there was royal and extremely wealthy, there is no direct evidence of this, but one theory is that it could be Rædwald’s (an extremely powerful King in the era that Sutton Hoo was being used in, Bede writes that he was the fourth
Get Access