Review – Castles, Siegeworks and Settlements: Surveying the Archaeology of the Twelfth Century

1 min read
Edited by Duncan W Wright and Oliver H Creighton
Archaeopress, £45.00
ISBN 978-1784914769
Review James Wright

This volume is one of the outcomes of the University of Exeter’s project on the mid- 12th century Anarchy of Stephen. Essentially a collection of 12 site reports, the book is an accompaniment to a thematic synthesis of the project by the same authors, The Anarchy: War and Status in 12th-Century Landscapes of Conflict.

Taking sites as disparate as the potentially unfinished Burwell Castle (Cambridgeshire), the siege castle of Crowmarsh Gifford (Oxfordshire), and the enclosed settlement of Wellow (Nottinghamshire), this study offers a fine appraisal of topographic and geophysical survey techniques used for military landscapes. The survey work demonstrated that, during the Anarchy, there was often a complex sequence of reuse of earlier sites. The landscape survey methodology worked especially well for a conflict that largely eschewed pitched battles in favour of dominating landscapes with castles, many of which were besieged repeatedly.

The study was limited to 12 carefully picked sites and did not involve excavation, but the authors credibly signpost the way for future archaeological fieldwork.

This review appeared in CA 333.

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