Abstract and Keywords
The first part of this text reflects on an emphasis on periods of interface — between the Anglo-Saxons and Britons, Scandinavians (Vikings) and Normans — rather than on periods such as the seventh and eighth centuries when identity seems to have related less to an overall Anglo-Saxon ethnicity and more to membership of family or tribe, Christian or pagan, elite or peasant. Archaeological interpretation has undergone as drastic a phase of rethinking as historical. More anthropological awareness amongst archaeologists has cast doubt on the idea of ‘culture’ and has shown that ethnicity is a very complex concept. The identities of the peoples who lived in Britain in the past varied regionally and chronologically. The archaeological evidence does not show a change of identity: most of what has been seen as ‘Medieval England’ was in place long before the Conquest.
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