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Shakenoak revisited: post-Roman occupation and burial at a Cotswold-edge villa in the light of new evidence and approaches

Blair, John, Hines, John ORCID:, Tait, Katherine and Madgwick, Richard ORCID: 2023. Shakenoak revisited: post-Roman occupation and burial at a Cotswold-edge villa in the light of new evidence and approaches. Archaeological Journal 180 (1) , pp. 35-81. 10.1080/00665983.2023.2267891

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Shakenoak villa (Oxfordshire) is situated at the interface of the sub-Roman Cotswolds with the Early Anglo-Saxon upper Thames region. A probable sacred site, it may have been an enduring ritual focus. Place-name and topographical evidence builds an unusually strong impression of continuity across the post-Roman period. As at other Cotswold villas, some buildings were occupied well into the fifth century. A cemetery of at least 22 inhumations, mainly male and with sharp-weapon trauma, provides radiocarbon dates which, when modelled, centre around the middle and second half of the fifth century. Multi-isotope analysis (δ13Ccoll, δ15N, 87Sr/86Sr, δ34S, δ13Ccarb, δ18O) of seven individuals indicates a northern European diet typical for this period, and suggests that most of the individuals came from south-west Britain. They may therefore have been warriors posted here by a post-Roman authority in the Cotswolds, not Germanic-speaking mercenaries from the Continent. The late- or sub-Roman military equipment, and a fifth century bow brooch, are reassessed in the light of more recent studies and new parallels. A boundary ditch contained redeposited Anglo-Saxon material in the fifth- to eighth-century range, suggesting an adjacent settlement; eighth-century sceattas were found on the villa itself. With the new perspectives, Shakenoak reemerges as a classic study in continuity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN: 0066-5983
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 December 2023
Date of Acceptance: October 2023
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2024 15:30

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