As someone who loves open-access online journals (and not because I’m a cheapskate – it’s a matter of principle), I was very happy to rediscover UCL’s Papers from the Institute of Archaeology (or a defiantly lower-case pia for short) serendipitously this afternoon. It’s a treasure trove of short-ish articles collated in a postgrad-edited volume that is then made freely available via a dedicated website – http://pia-journal.co.uk/index.
I first came across pia last year when I was looking into the subject of mid Anglo-Saxon lava querns – this was in the context of a bit of absent-minded research regarding the place-name Quarrington in Lincolnshire, about which I hope to produce a short note in the coming months – and Meinrad Pohl’s stimulating summary came up in my search results. The breadth of subjects covered across all 20 back issues (with 21 on its way!) is jaw-dropping, and I no mean no disrespect to the authors of the more exotically-themed papers by choosing to focus on those with a more direct relevance to medieval Surrey.
- Duncan Wright’s fantastically-titled ‘Tasting Misery Among Snakes’, which demonstrates the positive correlation between evidence of Anglo-Saxon metalworking and high-status secular or religious centres – I intend to draw upon this for a piece about ritual metalwork deposition at Battersea I am about to start work on.
- The related papers from the year 2000 on two projects with snappy acronyms related to Kent, by Susan Harrington on the still ongoing ASKED, and Stuart Brookes on KASEP (about which I can find very little else, suggesting it died a death), make a Surrey boy jealous of the superior Anglo-Saxon archaeology of our eastern neighbour.
- Andrew Reynolds has a hat-trick of papers in successive issues: one on the settlement morphology of a duo of Wiltshire villages I intend to make use of in my ongoing research on Puttenham as a village, a second on herepaths in the same neck of the woods, and finally (in something of a change of pace) a discussion of the evidence for early Anglo-Saxon human sacrifice.
- Lastly, Michael D J Bintley’s piece on the possible connection between the Byzantine silver bowls from the Mound 1 burial at Sutton Hoo and sacred trees is a welcome addition to a subject that right now is in vogue (if medieval history can ever be said to be modish) thanks to the work of Della Hooke and Sarah Semple. I’m hoping to find the time to put together a short piece on Thursley as a place and a name, not least in order to atone for the sin of basing an earlier note on the same subject on incorrect evidence. Second time around and not only shall I be using this article, but checking everything two or three times over!
(With the exception of the last paper, all of the above links are for the downloadable pdf versions of the papers – one or two are also available to view in HTML format.)