'Archaeology, Common Rights and Anglo-Saxon Identity'

Paper by Dr Susan Oosthuizen, in Early Medieval Europe Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 153-181.

Published May 2011.

It is generally accepted that rights over land, especially rights of pasture, played a formative role in establishing the identity of early Anglo-Saxon ‘folk groups’, the predecessors of the middle Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. This speculative paper sets early medieval and medieval common rights in the context of the archaeological longue durée of the period before 400 AD.

It argues that ancient traditions of common governance, integral to Anglo-Saxon identity, might have offered an attractive legitimacy to middle Anglo-Saxon kingdom-builders, and formed part of a long-enduring tradition of collective governance through rights over agricultural resources that persists into the modern day.

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