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Post-Severan Cramond: A Late Roman and Early Historic British and Anglo-Saxon Religious Centre?

Post-Severan Cramond: A Late Roman and Early Historic British and Anglo-Saxon Religious Centre?

Cessford, Craig

The Heroic Age Issue 4 Winter 2001

Abstract

The evidence for occupation at the Roman fort site of Cramond between the fourth and tenth centuries A.D. is assessed using a variety of sources of evidence including artefacts, place-names, documents and the location of later structures. It is argued that this evidence suggests both British and Anglo-Saxon occupation. Although its exact nature is unclear, a religious element is likely.

The nature of the Anglo-Saxon impact in southern Scotland has traditionally been dominated by documentary sources and to a lesser extent place-name studies. More recently archaeology has begun to influence how we understand this phenomenon. Whilst much of the impetus for this has come from recent excavations such as Whithorn (Hill 1997), Dunbar (Holdsworth 1993), and the Mote of Mark (Laing 1973, 1975; Longley 1982), a considerable amount of information can be gained from older excavations. Although the evidence from older excavations is problematical it can be of significance when critically reappraised. Until relatively recently Roman fort sites were generally excavated in a manner unlikely to aid the understanding of post-Roman phases of occupation. We are therefore forced to rely upon stray finds of artefacts and other sources such as place-names, documentary sources, and the location of later Medieval structures to attempt to understand any post-Roman occupation of such sites.

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