Three wine jugs recovered from a stone-lined cess pit on the High Street. Right: "The brilliantly conceived polychrome jug so characteristic of the vineyard regions north of Bordeaux". Centre: "The robuster wines of the north were served in the broad vessels of Rouen". Left: "Local potters attempting to keep in step with each new fashion might ape the styles of the prized imported pieces". All contemporary, probably second quarter of the 13th century.
T HE magnificent natural inlet that today makes Southamp ton the main deep water port of the south of England, offers such a variety of landing places that it is not surprising that the position of the settlement of Southampton has varied. Four main sites are known from four different periods. In Roman times a site known as Clausentum (modern Bitterne) was occupied on the eastern side of the eastern arm of the inlet, and here around 360 a fort of the Saxon shore was constructed to take the place of Portchester which was silting up. The Saxons, however, moved on to the central peninsu
la, between the two main arms of the inlet, which has been the centre of habitation ever since. A settlement known as Hamwih was on the eastern side of the peninsula. This was built over in the 19th century and is today a slum area which is in process of being redeveloped and thus extensive excavations took place there last winter, directed by Peter Addyman and Bob Thompson on behalf of the Ministry of Public Building and Works. A rich assortment of finds was made, including rare imported pottery and coins of the 7th and 8th centuries, but unfortunately no definite structures could be determined. However, redevelopment continues and better results are expected from future excavations.
The growth and decline of a medieval town
Southampton lived and lives for foreign trade and the shifting political fortunes of Medieval England are reflected in the results and finds of the recent excavations.
Hamwih suffered severely in the Viking raids and by the year 1000, a new town had sprung up on the western side of the peninsula, and it is in this Medieval town that for the last four years Dr. Colin Piatt has been excavating, and this account is drawn largely from the