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Archaeology in the Bedford Region

Michael Dawson


This volume on the archaeology of the English county of Bedford and its environs brings together the results of five excavations over a four year period in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It includes settlement sites dating to the Iron Age and Roman period, cemeteries and craftwork centres. One of the cemeteries, Kempston, includes a significant proportion of decapitations from the Roman period and there is a detailed analysis of this phenomena. At the same site burial from the 6th century AD hints at some form of continuous settlement in the area. Kempston is also interesting for the possibility that it is a planned rural settlement dating to the earliest years of the Roman province. This volume also includes the largest finds and ceramics assemblages presently published in the county and is an essential database of artefactual material for any future work. It also contains full accounts of several pollen columns taken at Ruxox and Kempston and provides a commentary on the environmental history of the region from the late post-glacial. The additional data on palaeo-environmental evidence from the sites provides a detailed insight into the affect of the environment on later prehistoric communities and the means by which these communities changed and adapted the environment. In a small way the “Archaeology of the Bedford Region” continues the debate into the role of human agency in change and adaptation to events at a local level, moreover rather than seeing the archaeology of the region as series of dated phases it presents both qualitatively and, where appropriately, quantatively, the almost continuous changes that took place amongst the rural populations of this region during the later prehistoric and Roman periods.