The Archaeology of the House
with Edward Martin (Independent Scholar)
at Sutton Hoo, Saturday, 6th February, 2016.
West Row

The structures that we humans have erected to protect ourselves from the elements have a very long, varied and complex history. This course will explore this immense subject by looking at some of the archaeological evidence for houses from distant prehistoric days down to more recent historical times, a journey that will start with a wide European view but will focus more closely on Britain, and particularly East Anglia and Suffolk, as time progresses.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:          Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:          Prehistoric Houses. A wide-ranging exploration of the diversity of prehistoric houses in Europe, from astonishing Palaeolithic structures built of mammoth bones through Neolithic timber longhouses to Iron Age roundhouses.

11.15 – 11.40:          Coffee break

11.40 – 12.45:          Roman Houses. The ‘classical’ houses of Roman Italy, as found in places like Pompeii, and a look at the contrasting buildings found in Roman Britain.

12.45 – 14.00:          Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:          Germanic and Anglo-Saxon Houses. The houses of the continental ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons and the not immediately matching houses that are found in Anglo-Saxon England.

14.50 – 15.10:         Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:          Medieval and Tudor Houses. An outline of the development of houses in medieval and Tudor England and an exploration of the often ephemeral archaeological evidence for them.

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Edward Martin

Edward has worked for many decades as an archaeologist with Suffolk County Council, specialising in historic landscape studies. He co-edited An Historical Atlas of Suffolk (3rd edition 1999) and has written and lectured widely on this region’s archaeology, landscape and architectural heritage. He is a vice-president and a past chairman of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, and a committee member the Suffolk Historic Buildings Group.

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Most of the material for this course comes from specialist papers, but here are some books that are both more general and more accessible:

Barton, I.M. (ed.), 1996. Roman Domestic Buildings, Exeter University Press.

Bedoyere, G. de la, 2002. Architecture in Roman Britain, Shire, Princes Risborough

Brunskill, R.W., 1971. Vernacular Architecture: An Illustrated Handbook, Faber, London (4th ed. 2000).

Darvill, T. and Thomas, J. (eds) 1996, Neolithic Houses in Northwest Europe and Beyond, Oxbow Monograph 57, Oxford.

Emery, A., 2007. Discovering Medieval Houses, Shire, Princes Risborough

Grenville, J., 1998. Medieval Housing, Leicester University Press.

Hamerow, H., 2002. Early Medieval Settlements. The Archaeology of Rural Communities in North-West Europe 400-900, Oxford University Press.

Harris, R., 1978. Discovering Timber-Framed Buildings, Shire, Princes Risborough (3rd ed. 1993, reprinted 2015)

Johnson, D.E., 1979. Roman Villas. Shire, Princes Risborough (new ed. 2004)

Johnson, P. and Haynes, I. (eds), 1996. Architecture in Roman Britain, Council for British Archaeology Research Report 94, York.

Reid, M.L., 1993. Prehistoric Houses in Britain, Shire, Princes Risborough.

Tankard, D., 2012. Houses of the Weald and Downland. People and Houses of South-east England c.1300-1900, Carnegie, Lancaster.

West, S., 1985. West Stow. The Anglo-Saxon Village, East Anglian Archaeology 24.

Not yet published, but may be worth a look when they are available:

Hopkins, J. North, 2016 (Feb.). The Genesis of Roman Architecture. Yale.

O’Brien, C., 2016 (Mar.). Houses. An Architectural Guide (Pevsner Introductions). Yal