So Time Team may be on its last legs if some reports are to be believed – but then again maybe not. Either way, I’ve always wondered why when so many of their excavations discover things of “national importance” so few of them are published in print or digital journals. I’d started to worry that there was a mountain of excavation archives gathering dust in Phil’s shed or under Stewart’s bed. However, I found that all are the subject of “grey literature” reports put together by Wessex Archaeology, and that those for most of the digs from the past nine series at least can be read and downloaded for free from its website – click here.
Taking a report as both a typical example as well as of personal interest (not to mention one of those sites of national significance) is that for their excavation of part of a high-status early- to mid-Anglo-Saxon settlement near Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire (formerly Berkshire). I imagine in this will be the subject of a full report in due course; an earlier excavation targeting an outlying hall-like building in the same complex was published a few years ago (H. Hamerow, C. Hayden & G. Hey, ‘Anglo-Saxon and earlier settlement near Drayton Road, Sutton Courtenay, Berkshire’, The Archaeological Journal, 164 (2008), 109-96). You may also like to read the lovely Helen Geake’s piece on the background to the excavation and what was found.
Choosing the Sutton Courtenay dig also lets me share links to a brace of exciting-sounding research project currently being undertaken in the same area. The first, The Origins of Wessex: uncovering the kingdom of the Gewisse run under the auspices of the University of Oxford School of Archaeology, is of particular relevance to the period in which the Sutton Courtenay settlement was developing. The second, The South Oxfordshire Project, is a broader examination of another part of the Thames Valley and its surroundings, with a current focus on Benson, another important location in the Anglo-Saxon period. I’ll be keeping tabs on both, and encourage anyone interested in landscape and settlement archaeology to do likewise. Lucky Oxfordshire.