Medieval Archaeological Research Books

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Medieval Town Plans

Hindle P   Medieval Town Plans
37 ills. Most English and Welsh towns were founded or grew rapidly in the later medieval period, in particular between the mid twelfth and early fourteenth centuries. This book begins by giving a brief outline of the great growth in the number and size of towns and outlines the archaeological, documentary and cartographic evidence that is available. It then goes on to relate that evidence to surviving and lost features in the townscape, with the aim of providing enough background material for the reader to be able to see why, when, where and how any medieval town grew. Particular topics covered include town sites, their overall layout, street patterns, defences (castles, walls and gates), markets, trades, churches, chapels, monasteries, suburbs, property boundaries and houses. Above all, this is a practical guide to the study of medieval town plans. Dr Paul Hindle took early retirement in 2000; he was previously a Senior Lecturer in Geography. He is Honorary Secretary of Manchester Geographical Society. He has written widely on roads, maps and the Lake District.


Deserted Villages

Rowley T & Wood J   Deserted Villages
72 pp, 37 ills. There are more than three thousand known sites of deserted villages in England alone. Many of these desertions date from the fifteenth century, when the wool trade was at its height and landowners grew wealthy by evicting villagers and converting arable land to sheep pasture, but the abandonment of villages has been a continuous process of the centuries. The authors explains this and describes what a deserted village site may look like today, with earthworks and field systems still identifiable and perhaps even a surviving church. The book details the role of the archaeologist in recovering and interpreting the evidence from a site and sets out the methods by which unknown sites may be discovered and recorded. Trevor Rowley is Deputy Director of the Department for Continuing Education of Oxford University. John Wood is Regional Archaeologist for the Scottish Highlands.



Hallett A   Almshouses
64 pp, 119 colour and 12 b/w ills. There are around 2500 groups of almshouses in Great Britain, most of which were founded centuries ago. Some of them can trace their origins to the early Middle Ages when religious institutions were among the first to offer shelter to needy elderly people. Many others were initiated by individuals who left money for the erection of sometimes splendid buildings. Often picturesque, they can be found in towns, villages and remote country areas. Almshouses come in a variety of architectural styles and often have interesting features, including coats of arms, inscriptions, dedications, statues, clock-towers and sundials. Many have chapels and gardens. Anna Hallett has lectured for a wide range of educational institutions. Her interest in almshouses started in the Netherlands, where she was born, and has continued in Britain where she has enjoyed discovering the many fascinating examples to be found in the most unlikely places.


Clay and Cob Buildings

McCann J   Clay and Cob Buildings
48 pp, colour ills. Buildings made of unfired earth are of great antiquity; in Britain they continued to be built until the middle of the nineteenth century. Consequently much of the traditional architecture that gives each region its distinctive character is of these materials. In this book John McCann describes the various processes of building with earth, quotes contemporary descriptions from past centuries, examines the regional patterns and illustrates standing buildings of clay and cob in many parts of Britain. For twenty-five years John McCann photographed modern architecture for architects and the architectural journals. Since 1975 he has studied the traditional buildings of the English countryside and their historic origins.


Medieval Bridges

Cook M   Medieval Bridges
64 pp, 37 ills. This book examines the Roman, Saxon and Norman origins of the medieval bridge, including its broader national and international context, and considers the engineering techniques and social background that led to its development during the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. A final chapter considers the survival of medieval bridges into the twentieth century. Martin Cook works for the Archaeological Services of Worcestershire County Council.


Medieval Castles

Creighton O & Higham R   Medieval Castles
72 pp, 30 colour and 28 b/w ills. Castles were among the most dramatic features of the medieval landscapes of Europe and are still often dominant elements of our surroundings. This book offers an accessible and portable guide to the archaeology and architecture of castles in England and Wales, an area whose castles had some common developments in the medieval period and which now provides numerous and rich sites for both study and visit. In this book the authors explore many recent and exciting developments in the field of castle studies. Dr Oliver Creighton is a Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Exeter, working in both the Departments of Lifelong Learning and of Archaeology. Dr Robert Higham is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Exeter. He was a founder member and the first Secretary of the Castle Studies Group.


Medieval Masons

Hislop H   Medieval Masons
64 pp, 46 ills. Monastic chronicles, building contracts and accounts and other contemporary documents have revealed a good deal of information about the practice of masoncraft in the Middle Ages. Studies of architectural style have identified schools of masons or attributed particular buildings to individual craftsmen, in addition to providing clues to the diffusion of style. This book emphasises the information to be gleaned from the interpretation of the archaeology, and provides a practical guide to pursuing the study of medieval masoncraft. Malcolm Hislop studied History and Archaeology at the University of Nottingham, where he developed a special interest in medieval buildings. He lives in Shropshire and teaches courses on historic buildings.


Textiles in Archaeology

Wild P J   Textiles in Archaeology
72 pp, 47 ills. Growing enthusiasm for handspinning and weaving as studio crafts and increasing awareness on the part of archaeologists of the value of organic materials for reconstructing economic history have led to much wider interest in archaeological textiles. Although textiles are not common finds, textile implements are, and this book shows how both contribute to our appreciation of a skilled and universal ancient craft. Geographically this book is concerned with Britain and Europe and in time ranges from the neolithic to the medieval period. The processes of spinning and weaving are explained and illustrated and the reader is taken step by step through early textile manufacture. Unusual textile terms are explained and illustrated in a glossary. Attention is drawn to good collections of archaeological textiles and early textile apparatus and there is a reading list. John Peter Wild is an Honorary Research Fellow in Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology of the university and has written widely on many aspects of ancient textiles.


Human Bones in Archaeology

Stirland A   Human Bones in Archaeology
64 pp, 37 ills. Environmental archaeology is is the study of the physical environment in which people lived and includes the study of soils, food sources and animal bones. It also includes the study of the people themselves, from their skeletal remains. This is known as physical anthropology and, like any other aspect of environmental archaeology, is very specialised. This book describes in simple terms the various procedures used by the specialist. The effects of different burial conditions and rituals on the bones are explained, and ways of excavation and treatment are suggested. The human skeleton is described, as are methods of recording and analysis. The effects of accident and disease on the skeleton are included, and examples from various groups of skeletons are discussed. The numerous illustrations show the reader what to look for, and a comprehensive reading list is included. Dr Ann Stirland is a freelance consultant anthropologist and palaeopathologist who lectures to a wide range of audiences about her work and has studied many groups of skeletons.


Discovering Timber-framed Buildings

Harris R   Discovering Timber-framed Buildings
96 pp, 72 ills. Half-timbered houses, cottages and barns are a familiar feature of the landscape, but only rarely do we have an opportunity to see below the surface and understand how they were planned and constructed. This book looks behind the common image of 'black-and-white' houses, showing how timber buildings were built and how they vary from region to region. The best general book on (England's) timber-framed buildings. Written and beautifully illustrated by Richard Harris, the book is not just essential for those interested in the subject but, because of the detail of the drawings, is invaluable for any architect involved in repairing or moving a timber-framed building.' Architects Journal. Richard Harris spent his first day as an architectural assistant surveying a medieval timber-framed building and has been fascinated by them ever since. He is Research Director at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton, West Sussex.


Discovering Your Old House

Iredale D & Barrett J   Discovering Your Old House
176 pp, 153 b/w ills. Every house has a story to tell. In this completely new, enlarged and updated edition of a popular title, David Iredale and John Barrett describe how, step by step, the history of your old (or not so old) house may be discovered. The life story of an old house is told by the stones, bricks, timber, tiles and thatch that make up its walls, floors and roof. Its history is also discovered in manuscripts and printed books, in archives and public libraries. These crucial sources are described and explained with the help of apt quotations from old documents and reproductions of maps, plans and pictures.


Discovering Abbeys and Priories

Wright G N   Discovering Abbeys and Priories
128 pp, colour and b/w ills. Abbeys and priories are both types of monastery, and the author traces the history of monasteries in Britain from Anglo-Saxon times to the Dissolution under Henry VIII. He describes the different monastic orders, the running of the monasteries and the daily life of the monks and nuns, the layout of monastic buildings, the influence of the religious houses on life in medieval times and their effect on the landscape, all with references to examples accessible to the public. This new edition has been enlarged into the ‘Discovering Handbook’ series and is fully illustrated in colour.


Discovering Archaeology in England and Wales

Dyer J   Discovering Archaeology in England and Wales
128 pp, 78 ills. This book outlines the history of man in England and Wales from earliest times to the Norman Conquest and explains the basic terminology of archaeology, the methods used by archaeologists and the ways in which one can take part in excavations. For many, visiting the tombs and hillforts of prehistoric times, the villas of the Romans and the churches of the Saxons brings history to life and brings one face to face with the past. James Dyer is a freelance archaeologist and writer. He taught archaeology for a great many years and was a principal lecturer in archaeology at a college of education. He is general editor of the Shire Archaeology series.


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