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BRITARCH  February 2005

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Subject:

Re: Anglo Saxon period question

From:

rob <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 27 Feb 2005 19:49:41 -0000

Content-Type:

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Mike said
"I can see how some people have found this whole
question so confusing in the past. But it really isn't, just so
long as you stick to the evidence, and forget the fantasy
of post-modernist revisonism :o)"

And what evidence is there Mike.  Linguistic?  Nope I don't think so as we
have no archaeology to back that up unless you insist on using place name
evidence which is very subjective.  Also when did those place names get
given?
If you mean historically then do you accept all Gildas says without
exception or like me find that Gildas is in fact writing with an hatred of
the very people we are discussing and is likely to elaborate the truth
somewhat.  Or do you use the tribal Hidage which even scholars today cannot
agree on which tribe compiled it.  Personally I don't believe the Saxons to
be marauding invaders.  There is not enough evidence to support this.  The
early AS period is devoid of written history save Gildas so we are left with
archaeology.  What of that do we have to go on - Burial custom alone which
in the south is strikingly similar to the RB people yet in the North it is
strikingly resembling the Germanic people.  So does that suggest the North
of England ie the Mercians and the Northumbrians were more allied to the
Germanic homeland and the Southern Germanics more aligned to the RB people?

Personally apart from dismissing Gildas somewhat I have a very open mind on
the subject and was hoping to get a response in the way you have Mike.  I
will get back to the rest when I have had time to digest what you say and
make a coherent response something I cannot do after a long day trekking
across AS sites in the Peak District

Rob


----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Weatherley" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2005 1:03 PM
Subject: Re: Anglo Saxon period question


> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "rob" <[log in to unmask]>
>
> > Andy,
> >
> > No, we know that sites such as Silchester and Wroxeter were not
> > occupied by the Germanic people.
> >
> That's true. Sellected Romano-British cities were not reoccupied
> by the Germanic immigrants. But Andy is also correct that the
> majority of the most favoured river-valley sites are indeed still
> the preferred places to be, as they were in Roman and A/S times.
> >
> > I was trying to suggest that maybe sites that were
> > fertile and excellent for arable farming were not colonised by the
> > Germanics until the mid 7th early 8th Centuries.
> >
> I think most of the serious Westward expansion was completed
> a century before. From a century after the Adventus (arrival of
> the Germanic peoples) British resistance seems to have held
> them in 'check' in the Eastern quarter/half of the island. But by
> the mid-6th century, we see a steady Westwards expansion.
> Not due to a search for more fertile land; but a search for
> more land. Period. Due to a probable mixture of continued
> immigration and rising of the 'native' A/S population.
> >
> >What is the reasoning behind this? (The suggestion that some
> > sites were not colonised by the Germanics.) Could it as I was
> > alluding to have been because Romano British people were
> > still farming them?
> >
> Absolutely it could.
> >
> > It would seem from the limited works I have read that
> > the Germanic influx wasn't as great as I believed and in fact in
> > some way continued on from the DNA debate that lasted for
> > a lengthy period of time. Gildas gives us an impression that the
> > Saxon incomers were a bunch of war happy people yet the
> > archaeology seems not to bear this out.
> >
> But according to the frequency of spear and shield inhumation
> burials among the early Germanics, it would. According to the
> need to build the Saxon-Shore-Forts it would. According to
> the ASC it would. According to the HB it would. According
> to the Gallic Chronicle it would. According to the linguistic
> evidence it would. As far as I can see, it is only the Genetic
> evidence which suggests otherwise - and even then, there are
> Genetic studies which say completely the opposite, and agree
> with the Archaeology, recorded History and the Linguistics.
> Give it up, people. Roman-Britain was destroyed by a
> pernicious and attenuated campaign of attrition by Anglo-
> Saxon-Jutish piratical raiders - who eventually decided to
> stay, like all other conquerors, both before and since.
>
> We seem to have no qualms about accepting the veracity of
> the Danish Viking raiding which subsequently plagued the
> now established Saxon Kingdom of England. And yet this
> was virtually a carbon-copy of the Anglo-Saxon-Jutish
> raiding of centuries before, not only in the geographical
> origin of those doing the invading, but in their invasion
> routes and their initial targets. And I find it amusing that
> the now established Saxon Kingdom seemed to fare
> worse against the Vikings than the Romano-Britons had
> against their Germanic ancestors.
> >
> > Using Wroxetter as an example we can see that there was sufficient
> > peace for a substantial wooden building to have been built on the site
> > of the old Basilica.
> >
> Okay, I think we need a little clarification, here. By 'peace',
> are you suggestiing a total absence of conflict between the
> Britons in the West and the Germanics in the East? Because
> there is another form of peace: That earned on the point of
> a sword. And since we now have ten plumbatae (late-Roman
> lead-weighted darts/short javelins) from Wroxeter (some of
> which date to the same period as the substantial wooden
> building you mention - ie the mid 6th century) I would humbly
> suggest that it is the latter of the two forms of 'peace' that we
> are seeing this building activity being encouraged by. Because,
> although (as you pointed out) Wroxeter (alongside Silchester)
> was not reoccupied by the Germanics, we DO know that
> the region aroung Wroxeter was subsequently annexed by
> the Germanic leader, Penda (early 7th c.).
> >
> >if the Saxons were intent on killing of the Romano British as
> > Gildas suggests this just wouldn't have occurred.
> >
> What wouldn't? The rebuilding, by the Romano-Britons,
> of their own cities? It certainly would have occurred if the
> Roman-Britons were as effective as I believe they were
> in staving-off a concerted conquest of the kind which
> Gildas mentions. You seem to be in danger of compounding
> one assumption upon another, here, Rob. Firstly, you assume
> that Gildas (and all other written sources, I might add) were
> lying about the intentions of the Germanic incomers. Then,
> secondly, you seem to be assuming that - had the Germanics
> really been intent upon conquering the Romano-Britons -
> there was nothing the native popluation could have done in
> order to stop them. (Now, I'm not attacking you, personally,
> here Rob :o) It's just that you happen to have articulated the
> position which many modern scholars espouse - and it's
> one I find utterly infuriating. So I'm taking this opportunity
> you've given me to shoot it down in flames...... Bang! :o)
>
> I believe I see the origins of the Myth that there was no
> Germanic conquest in the 5th & 6th centuries, here. Firstly,
> people assume that all the existing Romano-British troops were
> stripped from this island in 410 and taken to the continent, in
> order to defend Italy (which, in any case, always presumes
> that the remaining population were utterly incapable of raising
> a fresh host to defend themselves). Secondly, they assume that
> (because of the first assumption) there cannot have been
> a Germanic conquest of Britain, since, there was evidently
> still construction work going on inside British cities as late
> as the 550s (despite the corroborating archaeological
> evidence for Romanised troops defending those cities).
> Hmmm. I can see how some people have found this whole
> question so confusing in the past. But it really isn't, just so
> long as you stick to the evidence, and forget the fantasy
> of post-modernist revisonism :o)
>
> Cheers,
>
> Mike
>

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