Essex c.700 – 1066
By Stephen Rippon
The archaeology of Essex: proceedings of the 1993 Writtle Conference, edited Owen Benson (Chelmsford, 1996)
Introduction: This paper will consider Essex from c.700 to 1066. Though there is a wide range of evidence, and a number of important excavations on Middle to Late Saxon sites in the County, this is the first synthesis of the available material. Spatially, this paper will consider the old County of Essex, corresponding to the Late Saxon shire. London, the seat of the East Saxon Bishopric, will be referred to in passing, but its archaeology and history are adequately dealt with elsewhere.
The sevcnth century saw a number of important changes in Anglo-Saxon England including thc crystallisation of stable kingdoms, increased social stratification reflected in the burial record , and the gradual conversion to Christianity. There were also changes in the rural landscape, with fairly widespread evidence for a dislocation of settlement. Thc other chronological limit of this paper, the Norman conquest, was of great significance in terms of political history and landowning, but with regard to the wider landscape, forms a rather arbitrary division.