Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Anglo-Saxon trading-site at Garwick: a brief update

The pre-Viking, fen-edge trading site at Garwick in southern Lincolnshire—'the wīc (trading site) on a triangular piece of land' or 'belonging to *Gæra'—was discussed at length in Britons and Anglo-Saxons, especially at pp. 191–4, 197–200. As was noted there, this highly productive site has produced a very significant quantity of material, including a sixth-century 'Pressblech' Style I die and other early Anglo-Saxon artefacts, a large number of late sixth- to seventh-century continental gold coins or tremisses, and the largest non-hoarded group of Middle Saxon coins in England after that recovered from Hamwic (Southampton). In total, the site scatter covers between 17 and 32 hectares, a significantly greater extent than those associated with the pre-Viking high-status or minster sites at, for example, Brandon, Suffolk, and Flixborough, Lincolnshire—which encompass 4.75 and 2.5 hectares, respectively—and of a similar scale to those of the major Middle Saxon trading sites or wīcs, such as Ipswich and York, which cover between c. 10 and 60 hectares.


A continental gold tremissis, dated 600–675, found at this site (image: PAS LIN-B70DC6)
Needless to say, a full analysis of Garwick is beyond the scope of the present post. The site is clearly extremely significant and, as noted above, an extended discussion of it is available in Britons and Anglo-Saxons, with a standalone publication envisaged in due course. The current piece is instead simply intended to revise and update the find totals reported in Britons and Anglo-Saxons in light of new finds over the last few years. The latter publication noted that, as of 2009, around 160 late seventh- to mid-eighth-century sceattas had been found at the site, in addition to other types including a mid-seventh-century gold shilling, thirteen tremisses, and a gold blank flan. As of December 2014, these figures have increased so that approximately 195 sceattas are now known from Garwick; an additional three tremisses have come to light too, taking the total of these to 16 (plus the gold shilling and a gold blank flan). 

The sixth-century, ‘Pressblech’ Style I die from this site, used for making foil mounts (image: Britons and Anglo-Saxons, fig. 37; PAS LIN-4F6CE7)
A silver sceat from this site, series G (Quentovic), c. 710–20 (image: PAS LIN-DED9E4)

The content of this post and page, including any original illustrations, is Copyright © Caitlin R. Green, 2014, 2015, All Rights Reserved, and should not be used without permission. It also includes images from the Portable Antiquities Scheme/The Trustees of the British Museum, licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 licence.