Middle Saxon London: excavations at the Royal Opera House 1989-99 - MOLA Research Repository
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Middle Saxon London: excavations at the Royal Opera House 1989-99

2003

Abstract

This publication presents new evidence of fundamental importance to understanding the Middle Saxon settlement of Lundenwic, a flourishing centre for trade and manufacture from the 7th to 9th centuries AD. The 1996 redevelopment of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden included the largest excavation yet undertaken in the area of Lundenwic, providing a wealth of information about the settlement, its inhabitants, and their occupations and daily lives. Lundenwic’s heyday was in the mid 8th century, when a main road, side streets and dozens of buildings occupied the site. Craftsmen traded year-round and enjoyed a rich material culture. The 9th century saw a decline in population and economic activity. A defensive ditch was dug across the northern part of the site, and a hoard of Northumbrian stycas buried in the berm. The ditch was probably a response to Viking attacks, and shows that the defended area was reduced. These defences failed. Lundenwic was occupied by a Viking army in AD 871 and Anglo-Saxon occupation relocated to the city of London, known as Lundenburh.

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