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Evidence for Anglian York is buried deep beneath the city. But the evidence is buried not only in the soils but in the surviving street pattern and the urban topography. Putting together a map of Anglian York for the now complete York Historic Town Atlas was like doing the most challenging jigsaw, piecing together the very sparse and incomplete evidence from archaeological, antiquarian and historical sources. Questions rather than answers dominated the process. How much of the Roman defences survived? When did new streets become established cutting across the Roman thoroughfares? How early are the earliest churches? Documents give scant information about the appearance of York but where were the buildings that are mentioned? How great was the population? And what role did the rivers and the river banks play? The Anglian period covers almost four and half centuries and charts York’s decline in the immediate post-Roman period to its rise as a centre for Christianity and international commerce, emerging in the 9th century as a target worthy of attack by the Viking Great army. But what did it look like?
Ailsa Mainman worked for York Archaeological Trust for many years, researching and publishing archaeological material. Now freelance she is focusing research on the Anglian period of York’s history.
Using an authentic Anglo-Saxon recipe, Leeds Brewery is brewing some beer – Eoforwic Ale – for York Festival of Ideas. It will be on sale throughout the Festival at the Duke of York pub on King’s Square, York, and will also be available at the Back to the Beer-Hall: More Anglo-Saxon Poetry evening taking place in the pub on Thursday 11 June.
Guerilla Signs: In search of Anglian York
Eoforwic was the name for York during the four and a half centuries between Roman York and the Viking city. This period, the Anglian (or Anglo-Saxon) era was long, yet there are few visible reminders of it in the modern city. Guerilla signs made by the Friends of York’s Anglian Era will appear along the city walls and elsewhere near the city centre, to highlight the buried evidence and lost treasures of that time.