Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A persistence of place : a study of continuity and regionality in the Roman and early medieval rural settlement patterns of Norfolk, Kent and Somerset
Author: Fleming, Fiona Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 0347
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The debate over the continuity, or discontinuity, of the late Roman settlement landscape has reigned long over studies of settlement and landscape transition between the Roman and early medieval periods. Traditionally, these studies have been confined to their period of research, typically taking a site-based perspective and neglecting the wider social and physical context. Since the development of ‘landscape archaeology’, the importance of the wider physical and social landscape, both as a source of evidence in its own right and the arena in which the processes of settlement change during the Roman and early medieval periods took place, has come to the forefront of settlement and landscape studies for these periods. Much of the research, however, remains qualitative in nature, rich in contextualisation and historical reflection, but lacking in systematic and spatial analysis. This thesis addresses that gap through a broad-scale, quantitative, study of Roman and early medieval settlement, to determine how far patterns of late Roman settlement appear to continue into the 5th to 11th centuries, and to what extent they influenced settlement processes during that period. The results have been systematically assessed across a range of distinctive and adjacent character regions, or pays, over three regional study areas, Norfolk, Kent and Somerset, to determine whether trends in Roman and early medieval settlement relationships, relative to their physical landscape context, demonstrate regional, or sub-regional, variation. The results reinforce the current understanding of settlement processes for these two periods: that the river valleys were predominantly the favoured areas for Roman settlement, particularly higher status Roman settlement, and that the lighter valley soils potentially saw a greater stability and continuity of settlement during the 5th to 11th centuries. This contrasts with the heavier clay soils and interfluvial areas which more typically saw lower status Roman occupation and were more prone to phases of settlement contraction and expansion during the 5th to 11th centuries. This rather simplistic distinction between areas of potential ‘continuity’ and ‘discontinuity’, however, inevitably embraces more nuanced variation in Roman and early medieval settlement relationships at a regional and sub regional level, as demonstrated in the individual discussion for each study area through the concept of ‘pays’.
Supervisor: Rippon, Stephen Sponsor: Leverhulme Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Landscape Archaeology ; Roman settlement ; Early medieval settlement ; Settlement Continuity ; Pays ; Somerset ; Norfolk ; Kent