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Technology, ritual and Anglo-Saxon agrarian production: the biography of a seventh-century century plough coulter from Lyminge, Kent

Thomas, G., McDonnell, G., Merkel, J. and Marshall, P. (2016) Technology, ritual and Anglo-Saxon agrarian production: the biography of a seventh-century century plough coulter from Lyminge, Kent. Antiquity, 90 (351). pp. 742-758. ISSN 0003-598X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2016.73

Abstract/Summary

The discovery of an unusual early medieval plough coulter in a well-dated Anglo-Saxon settlement context in Kent suggests that continentally derived technology was in use in this powerful kingdom centuries before heavy ploughs were first depicted in Late Saxon manuscripts. The substantial investment required to manufacture the coulter, the significant damage and wear that it sustained during use and the circumstances of its ultimate ritual deposition are explored. Investigative conservation, high-resolution recording and metallographic analysis illuminate the form, function and use-life of the coulter. An examination of the deposition contexts of plough-irons in early medieval northern Europe sheds important new light on the ritual actions of plough symbolism in an age of religious hybridity and transformation.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:40487
Publisher:Antiquity Publications

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