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No. 13 MARCH 1969
VOL. II, No. 2
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Like so many of my generation, I fell in love with Germany when I first went there in 1955. Having been brought up in the war, and the inevitable atmosphere of antagonism towards all things German, I was overwhelmed by the exuberance and infectious enthusiasm of a country in the middle of an Economic miracle, yet which seemed in so many ways so very like Britain. Thus on the second of our visits to see archaeology abroad (in June 1968) we went to Germany to look at its archaeology and see whether my earlier enthusiasm was still justified.
I was not disappointed. In particular, three main impressions emerged. The first was the sheer volume of work that is taking place in Germany. One must not of course exaggerate this, as so many do: after ail, the volume of work in Britain in the last 10 years is by no means negligible. Nevertheless, one could not help feeling that, despite the tendency to bureaucracy, excavations in Germany have been somewhat more extensive and rather more rapidly published than similar work in Britain.
Secondly, in Germany as in Britain it seemed that the pace in archaeology is being set by the Medievalists rather than the Prehistorians. There is however, this major difference, that whereas in Britain the Deserted Medieval Villages form the most abundant field of research, in Germany it is the huge volume of church excavations that form the bulk of the work.
Finally we should perhaps make particular reference to the excavations of the marsh village of Feddersen Wierde. Pessimists often say that archaeology can only offer interpretations in the fields of technology and economics, yet in the total excavation of this deeply stratified village it is possible to follow the evolution of their society, and the change in their political structure. Of course the site is of particular interest to us in that it was occupied by our ancestors before they emigrated to Britain in the 5th century, but it is the bold interpretation of the evidence to produce a history of the social structure of the village that will challenge all other archaeologists to go forth and do likewise.