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Links to Late Antiquity

Ceramic exchange and contacts on the Atlantic Seaboard in the 5th to 7th centuries AD

Maria Duggan
Publication Year:
236 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 17 tables, 76 figures (19 in colour)
BAR number:


This publication began as an AHRC-funded doctoral thesis, ‘Links to Late Antiquity: Understanding Contacts on the Western Seaboard in the 5th to 7th Centuries’, completed at Newcastle University in 2016. This revised version presents a broad-scale discussion of the evidence for contacts and connections in the Atlantic Seaboard region, based principally on ceramics. It extends knowledge of a category of material with a long history of scholarship in Britain and Ireland: amphorae and fineware vessels of East Mediterranean origin. The presence of this imported pottery at sites in western Britain, such as Tintagel in Cornwall, has frequently been used to suggest direct links between post-Roman Britain and the Byzantine World. This work offers an alternative position - that the wares reflect active and evolving networks of trans-shipment and exchange operating in the Atlantic Seaboard region between the fifth and seventh century. This first examination of parallel French, Spanish and Portuguese publications provides a fresh perspective on this important group of artefacts for understanding early medieval Britain.

Maria Duggan obtained her PhD in Archaeology in 2016 at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University. Since then she has taken up a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Newcastle, with a project entitled ‘Tintagel: Trans-European Connections in the Post-Roman World’. Focusing on this important site in Cornwall, this new project will extend research on the imported pottery found in Britain and advance understandings of connections between the Mediterranean and Atlantic during the 5th to 7th centuries.

‘…arguably the most detailed, informed and indispensable account of this material to date…this monograph is certain to become a staple for future research into many key themes, like trade and exchange, connections with the wider late antique world, elite culture and vectors of religious and social change…this volume details the evidence in a clear, authoritative and engaging style, and forms a landmark in the study of imported ceramics in the archaeology of early medieval Britain and Ireland, with far-reaching implications for multiple questions that have been of long-standing interest to medievalists, both within and outside archaeology.’ Patrick Gleeson, Medieval Archaeology, Volume 63.2, 2019

‘La obra de Duggan se incorpora al listado de trabajos de obligada consulta para acercarse a la realidad económica y comercial de este período, cubriendo así un vacío existente en la bibliogra¬fía anglosajona desde la publicación de Campbell en 2007.’ Translation: ‘Duggan's work is essential reading to approach the economic and commercial reality of this period, thus covering a void in the Anglo-Saxon literature since the publication of Campbell in 2007.’ Adolfo Fernández Fernández, Zephyrvs Revista De Prehistoria y Arqueología, LXXXIII, enero-junio 2019

‘This major study is the first in decades to reevaluate the ceramic evidence for links between the eastern Mediterranean and sites in western Britain between the fifth to seventh centuries AD…a volume,…that transforms our understanding of post-Roman continental trade with western Britain.’ Imogen Morris, Cornish Archaeology, Volume 57, 2018

‘Presenting a page-turning synthesis and useful ceramic data … this is an essential volume that transforms our understanding of post-Roman continental trade with western Britain.’ Edward Biddulph, Current Archaeology 345, November 2018

‘It is, above all, the analysis of the evidence from the Atlantic seaboard, from France, Portugal and Spain, which makes this work an essential point of reference for its field of research. Future researchers cannot afford to ignore this work.’ Prof. Michael Fulford, University of Reading

‘This is the first major study of Mediterranean material culture in early medieval Britain since Campbell’s 2007 study, and is unique in that it situates British finds within a wider Atlantic coast context. Doing so allows the author to present an original thesis which challenges the received wisdom in this area and presents an alternative model of coastal trade in the period.’ Dr Ben Jervis, Cardiff University

Table of Contents (B639_9781407316390_ToC.pdf, 157 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (B639_9781407316390_Introduction.pdf, 761 Kb) [Download]