A survey of late Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age strap-ends from Britain
This thesis presents a national survey of the Late Anglo-Saxon and Viking-age strap-end, one of the commonest manifestations of ornamental metalwork from the period. This survey is based on approximately 1,400 strap-ends, enabling, for the first time, a detailed investigation of various themes concerning their manufacture, circulation, and use. The introduction (1) describes the organisation and contents of the thesis in light of past work on the subject. A background chapter (2) sets out a methodological framework for the study and then introduces some relevant theoretical considerations. A classification of Late Saxon and Viking-age strap-ends (3) presents the defining characteristics of morphology and decoration relating to a sub-division of the corpus into typological groups. Chapter (4) discusses the variety of contexts in which Late Saxon strap-ends are discovered - highlighting the limitations and implications of each for subsequent interpretation. Evidence of their manufacture and associated technology is evaluated in Chapter (5). Extended analysis and interpretation then proceeds in the following three chapters. The chronology and distribution of Late Saxon strap-ends are discussed in (6) and (7) respectively. Chapter (8) is primarily contextual, exploring the possible function/s of these artefacts, and the production systems involved in their manufacture. Chapter (9) offers general conclusions and suggestions for refining the present study and strategies for future research. Appendices include a comprehensive checklist of individual strap-ends recorded in the survey (1), a preliminary checklist of examples recorded outside the survey area (2), and contextual information relating to strap-ends discovered in stratified, archaeological contexts (3). These are intended to provide the principle source of reference for the classificatory and thematic discussions which form the main text.