The Emporia and the Re-birth of Towns in Anglo-Saxon England

Evidence from Ipswich

Pam Crabtree

ISAW Visiting Research Scholar

The problem of the origins of early medieval towns has been of interest to scholars since the days of Henri Pirenne. While much of the early research was based on historical records, archaeology has played an increasingly important role since the 1960s and 1970s. The emporia or ‘wic’ sites appear to be some of the earliest towns in post-Roman northwest Europe. Excavations at a number of these sites have revealed evidence for urban planning, crafts specialization, and regional and long distance trade. The Origins of Ipswich Project (1974-1990) was designed to carry out excavations at areas within the town that were subject to urban redevelopment. This presentation will present some of the results of this program, with a particular focus on the faunal remains that can reveal how the residents of Ipswich were provisioned with meat and other animal products. The role of the ‘wic’ sites in the development of medieval towns will also be examined.

Pam Crabtree is an anthropologically-trained archaeologist who specializes in zooarchaeology and early medieval archaeology. She received her BA from Barnard College (1972) and her MA (1975) and PhD (1982) from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a member of the Anthropology Department at NYU since 1990. Before coming to NYU, she was an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University (1985-1990) and a Research Fellow at the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology (MASCA) from 1982 to 1984.  During fall 2015, Crabtree will be a Visiting Research Scholar at ISAW.

Admission to lecture closes 10 minutes after scheduled start time.

Reception to follow.

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