Exploring the rich and fascinating past of the historic counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. We uncover the history of the people, ideas and events that shaped the West Midlands and the world beyond.
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Issue 6 Autumn 2014

The Anglo-Saxons and Mercia

The discovery of the Staffordshire Saxon Hoard has drawn attention to the rich culture of the so-called Dark Ages between the end of Roman Britain and the time of King Alfred.

The articles focus on the kingdom of Mercia and explore the ways in which historians and archaeologists are revealing the origins of the kingdom and local place names, features in the landscape and the political and religious legacies of the British and Anglo-Saxon inhabitants who created the English shires and church. Material culture forms a special feature of this issue, culminating in an exploration of the latest thinking about the Hoard.


Editorial
Malcolm Dick reflects on the Anglo-Saxons and the contents of this issue

Timeline
John Hunt
Key events in Anglo-Saxon and Mercian History

The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom of Mercia
John Hunt
The first Mercians, their kings and the impact of the Vikings

Locating Another Age: Place-Names in the West Midlands
Della Hooke
The survival of Anglo-Saxon names in the modern landscape

Religion and Politics in the Kingdom of Mercia: The Lands of St Chad
Andrew Sargent
The beginnings of Christianity in the West Midlands

Saints, Structures and Spirituality: Churches and Society in Anglo-Saxon Mercia
John Hunt
Making sense of Anglo-Saxon churches

The Anglo-Saxon Origins of the West Midlands Shires
Sheila Waddington
The creation of local counties and boroughs

Places to Visit
Guy Sjögren
Anglo-Saxon sites in the region

Offa’s Dyke: A Symbol of Kingship?
Damien Tyler
Defensive boundary or imperialist monument

Grave Goods, Gospels and Carvings
John Hunt
The rich material culture of Mercian civilisation

Unearthing the Staffordshire Hoard
Malcolm Dick
Introducing this discovery of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver

Digging Deeper: Unlocking the Secrets of the Staffordshire Hoard
Ellen McAdam & Keith Bloor
Conservation and research by local museums

Beowulf’s Mirror: Reflections on the Staffordshire Hoard
Deb Klemperer, Jenni Butterworth & Pieta Greaves
Revealing the hidden secrets of the hoard

Opening the Treasure Chest: A Personal View of the Staffordshire Hoard
David Symons
A curator’s investigative discovery

Book Reviews
John Hunt
Four key publications

Websites
Guy Sjögren
Finding out about the Anglo-Saxons on the web


In the History West Midlands Shop


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Issue 6 Autumn 2014