Monument record WSW 002 - West Stow Country Park; West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village

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Anglo-Saxon settlement, dating from circa AD 380 to circa AD 650.


Grid reference Centred TL 7969 7133 (239m by 99m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TL77SE


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Multi-period site, Mesolithic to Medieval. See arttype for full artefact list.
Anglo-Saxon settlement, dating from circa AD 380 to circa AD 650. First recognised by Basil Brown in 1940. Close to ESax cemetery (WSW 003) discovered in 1849 (S1).
Threatened destruction by sand extraction led to excavations by Miss V I Evison (for Ministry of Works) from 1957-1961 (R1) and Stanley West (for Department of Environment) from 1965-1972 (S1).
As a result the site has been almost totally excavated, barring a belt of trees (S1). Subsequently indications of further sunken-featured buildings have been located immediately to E and W of excavated area by A Armer (S2). Two further sunken-featured buildings and various features were also excavated by L Elmhirst (for SAU) 500m to the W of this site in 1978-1979 (WSW 030).
The extensive excavations, together with analysis of the cemetery material, have allowed a relatively complete basis for interpretation of the Sax settlement, which appears to be typical of those in NW Suffolk, and its relationship to late Rom settlement in the Lark Valley (S1). The site is situated on a small hill, approximately 15 feet high and 4.5 acres (1.8 hectares) in extent, which rises from the flood plain of the River Lark to the S. It was completely covered by up to three feet of windblown sand in the C14 which protected the underlying Med ridge and furrow and up to fourteen inches of black soil, the 'general cultural layer' of the site, from later agriculture. From this layer (layer 2) came considerable quantities of Sax pottery, food bones and artefacts, although most was removed by machine. Underlying layer 2 and cut into the sand subsoil were various ditches, pits, post holes etc., including 67 sunken featured buildings on the hill itself, over 2,000 post holes, some from post built halls, and 87 ESax pits.
Since the conclusion of the main excavations experimental reconstructions of various buildings have been erected in an attempt to elucidate some of the problems of interpretation (S1).
Experiments to investigate the insect fauna which may have inhabited this viallge during the Anglo-Saxon period have also been carried out using the reconstructed houses (S4)
For Rom material in Sax contexts, see Rom.
For artefact locations see (S1).
See also Mes, Neo, BA, IA, Rom and Med.

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <S1> Article in serial: West, S.. 1985. West Stow, The Anglo-Saxon Village Volume 1: Text.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Basil Brown archive: volume, card index, map.
  • <R1> (No record type): Evison V I, Interim notes, Med Arch, 2, 1958, 189; 3, 1959, 300; 4, 1960, 137; 5, 1961, 310.
  • <R2> (No record type): West S E, Interim report, Med Arch, 13.
  • <M2> (No record type): Photographs: (PW) CRR 2-8.
  • <S2> (No record type): Armer A, pers comm, 1987.
  • <R3> (No record type): BSEMH, card 1984-89, 1984.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Brown B, LXXXVI, 4, (BFP cutting 10/6/1966); card index 456; map 39.
  • <S4> Article in serial: Harry Kenward and Jess Tipper. 2008. Insect invaders of reconstructed Anglo-Saxon houses at West Stow, Suffolk, England.

Finds (79)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Nov 7 2019 3:03PM

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