Eckweek, Peasedown St John, Somerset : Survey and Excavations at a Shrunken Medieval Hamlet 1988–90 book cover
1st Edition

Eckweek, Peasedown St John, Somerset
Survey and Excavations at a Shrunken Medieval Hamlet 1988–90

ISBN 9780367860318
Published May 12, 2020 by Routledge
324 Pages 6 Color & 200 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume presents the results of archaeological survey and excavation at Eckweek, Somerset, which yielded one of the most important medieval rural settlement sequences yet excavated from south-west England.

At the centre of the narrative is a succession of well-preserved buildings spanning the late 10th to the 14th centuries A.D. forming the nucleus of a Domesday manor and its Late Saxon precursor. Detailed analysis of the structural sequence offers a new regional perspective on pre-Conquest earthfast timber architecture and its subsequent (12th-century) replacement by masonry traditions. Culminating in a richly preserved 14th-century farmhouse, including a very complete assemblage of structural and domestic objects, the structural archaeology provides an unusually refined picture of the internal organisation of later medieval domestic space within a rural farming setting. Detailed analytical attention is given to the abundant artefactual and environmental datasets recovered from the excavations (including prolific assemblages of medieval pottery and palaeonvironmental data) with a nuanced appraisal of their interpretative implications.

Anyone with an interest in the dynamics and regional complexity of medieval rural communities will find this a stimulating and enlightening read.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


Summaries (English/French/German/Spanish)


1 Introduction

1.1 Background to the project

1.2 Geology, topography and landuse

2 Documentary and Archaeological


2.1 Documentary, archaeological and landscape

evidence (by Dr Nick Corcos, 2013)

2.2 The placename Eckweek (by Dr Michael


2.3 Eckweek in Domesday Book (by Dr Frank


3 Surveys

3.1 Preliminary surveys

3.2 Geophysical survey (by Andrew Payne of

Historic England, 1989, updated 2015)

4 Excavations

4.1 Excavation areas and methodologies

4.2 Summary of structural phasing

4.3 The excavated evidence

4.4 Watching brief

5 Artefacts and Environmental Evidence

5.1 Prehistoric ceramics – pottery, briquetage

and a bronze-working crucible (by Dr Elaine

Morris, 1992, updated 2015)

5.2 Romano-British pottery (by Dr Jane Timby,


5.3 The late Saxon, Saxo-Norman, medieval and

post-medieval pottery (by Andrew Young and

Alexander Kidd, 1990–1991, updated 2015)

5.3.1 The petrology of medieval pottery (by

D F Williams PhD FSA - Department of

Archaeology, University of Southampton, 1991)

5.4 Coins (by Sarah Newns, 2015)

5.5 Iron and lead objects (by Ann Thompson,


5.6 Copper alloy objects (by Sarah Newns, 2015)

5.7 Flint (by Vince Russett, 1991)

5.8 Worked stone objects (by Alexander Kidd

and Andrew Young, 1991)

5.8.1 The petrology of medieval whetstones of sandstone

from Eckweek (by Professor Gilbert Kelling -

Department of Geology, University of Keele, 1991)

5.9 Clay tobacco pipe (by Sarah Newns, 2014)

5.10 The composition of a group of later medieval

copper alloy ‘ingots’ and other objects (by

Nigel Blades, 1991)

5.11 Worked bone objects (by Sarah Newns, 2015)

5.12 The jet bead SF627 (by Sarah Newns, 2015)

5.13 Faunal remains (by Dr Simon Davis, 1992,

updated 2015)

5.14 Charred plant remains (by Wendy

Carruthers, 1995, updated 2015)

5.15 Molluscs (by Dr Matt Law, 2014)

6 Independent Dating

6.1 Radiocarbon dating (Queens University

Belfast, 1991, reviewed and updated by

Dr Peter Marshall, 2015)

6.2 Comment on the 1991 radiocarbon dates (by

Andrew Young, 1991, revised 2015)

7 Reconstructing Late Saxon and Medieval

Eckweek (2015)

7.1 The medieval buildings and structures

7.2 Artefacts: the character and distribution of

Late Saxon and medieval finds

7.3 Artefactual evidence for settlement

development – continuity and change

7.4 Artefacts and ecofacts – general conclusions

7.5 The agricultural and domestic economy

8 Synthesis

8.1 Prehistoric activity

8.2 Late Saxon and medieval settlement




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Andrew Young was born in Gloucestershire, is a graduate of the University of Bristol and a former student of the late Mick Aston. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and has worked as a commercial archaeologist since 1987 and as Principal Archaeologist with Avon Archaeological Unit in Bristol, which he founded in 1991. He and his wife Donna live in Highland Scotland but he remains a Director of Avon Archaeology and also works part-time as Senior Archaeologist with Highland Archaeology Services.