Skip to main content
Read page text

Page Text

problems. It is obviously pointless to continue piling up investments, so the Institute has decided to launch a bold and imaginative research programme. The subject chosen for investigation is the Medieval castle, in France and in England, and by the archaeologist and the historian. The touchstone of the feudal system on the ground is the small private castle, for the more democratic Saxons are supposed to have lived in undefended houses. They hope therefore to be able to find early—possibly even pre-Norman — mottes in England, and to investigate their origin in Normandy, where the feudal system was largely 'introduced' by Duke William. William inherited the Dukedom of Normandy as a child, and his minority was a period of chaos; but as he re-established his control he evolved the feudal system by ad hoc arrangements from various elements whose origins archaeologists and historians alike are trying to trace.

For the current year, grants are being made to the excavations at Bramber in Sussex, and Hen Domen in the Welsh marches, and in 1968 the Institute will sponsor its own excavations at Sulgrave in Northamptonshire, and carry out preliminary investigations at Baile Hill, York, and on the Mini-motte at Hastings. At the same time they hope to sponsor documentary research into the early Mottes in Normandy, and to investigate the land holdings of the late Saxon nobles to try to catch those who had begun building private castles before the conquest.

This programme sounds both exciting and useful, and if it succeeds in bringing together both archaeologists and historians, English and French, then the Institute will have spent its money wisely.

Roman Society

More Archaeology Please

A NOTHER Society which is currently doing very well is the Roman Society, which last year showed a surplus of £1,237. Even if the various grants totalling £650 are discounted, this still leaves a very healthy surplus, especially as the society has investments worth over £18,000 in the balance sheet.

However, this surplus is largely because the subscriptions have just been increased from £2 to £3, making it on a par with the Hellenic Society, of which the Roman Society was originally an off-shoot, but putting it well above the other National societies, the Prehistoric, Medieval and Post-medieval societies, all at two guineas. On the present basis it looks as if the Roman Society will be making a very comfortable surplus in the future, so perhaps it is pertinent to ask what it should do with all this money.

The Society was founded to 'promote the study of the history, archaeology and art of Italy and the Roman Empire, from the earliest times down to about A.D. 700', but it has always taken a particular interest in the province of Britain, and has published the very valuable annual summary of excavations and inscriptions found in this country. Yet there is a great need for a journal of Romano-British archaeology to bring together some of the very important papers at present scattered in various county journals, and to stimulate more research. One only has to consider the great number of ad hoc publications— The Civitas Capitals, Rural Settlements, Britain and Rome—to name a few recent ones—to realise the great need for a regular journal to publish articles on Roman Britain.

Would it not therefore be possible to divide the Journal of Roman Studies into two parts, one dealing with Roman History, and the other, under a separate editor, with Roman Britain? It might then be possible to provide membership of the Society for £2 for one journal, or £3 for both, and at the same time to greatly increase the membership of the Society by including all those who are interested in Roman Britain.

Future Plans

Archaeology in Greece

A FTER we had got the May issue out, we rushed off to Greece, driving down through Jugoslavia in our dormobile. We saw the Directors of the British, American and German schools, we visited Professors Marinatos and Platon, inspected excavations and gained a lot of very valuable information. We hope therefore to report on Archaeology in Greece in the winter, but meanwhile we shall spend July and August travelling round Britain, and report in the September issue on what we find.


Skip to main content