By Christine Mahany and David Roffe
Anglo-Norman Studies 5: Proceedings of Battle Conference 1982 (Bury St. Edmund’s, 1983)
Introduction: The main purpose of this paper is to illustrate those ways in which a detailed study of what is now a small market town may be illuminated by the results of both historical and archaeological analysis. Either approach, undertaken in isolation, would leave serious gaps in our knowledge. On the historical side, the paucity of written evidence in the two centuries before Domesday would bequeath but a sketchy insight into the nature and topography of the early settlement. In archaeological terms, the physical evidence which has emerged from excavation and topographical analysis would be impossible to interpret taken alone. The integration of both disciplines, however, makes it possible to present a fairly convincing picture of the development of a Scandinavian and pre-Scandinavian settlement into the Norman borough which it became. This is not to say that there are no problems of interpretation, far from it, but that the questions become, by this approach, easier to define, even if the answers remain stubbornly elusive.