The Anglo-Saxon Agricultural Revolution in Norfolk
Time & Location
About the event
Sedgeford has emerged as a major site for investigating the agricultural revolution of ‘the long 8th century’. This period, between c. AD 650 and 850, saw the consolidation of kingdoms, the rise of the Church, the creation of great estates, an agricultural transformation based on heavy ploughs, open fields, and nucleated villages, and the development of emporia, craftwork, and long-distance trade in prestige goods.
It was a new world of wealth, power, and connections; a world of landlords and warlords, merchants and monks, free men and serfs. It represented the emergence of the medieval order from the ‘dark ages’ following the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
What is increasingly clear is that changes in eastern Britain mirrored changes in the Carolingian Empire, especially in the coastal zones of north-west Europe. The North Sea, with its ready access to other seas and to estuaries and navigable rivers, was a busy highway for military, economic, and cultural interaction between communities located around the coastal fringe or on connected waterways.
This day conference will review the results of 25 years’ work at Sedgeford in the context of new discoveries and changing ideas about the Mid Anglo-Saxon period in a) Norfolk, b) England as a whole, and c) the wider contemporary world.