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Religion, Community and Territory, Volumes 1, 2 and 3

Defining Religion in the Severn Valley and Adjacent Hills from the Iron Age to the Early Medieval Period. Volume 1: Synthesis, Volume 2: Gazetteer A-G, Volume 3: Gazetteer H-Y

Stephen James Yeates
Publication Year:
1444 pages. Three volume set, includes black and white maps, and tabs.
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


These volumes examine what is known about the development of religion in the area of the Severn Valley and the adjacent hills from the late Bronze Age to the foundation of the minsters in the early medieval period. Roman sources attribute the area to the tribal group the Dobunni while in the 'Anglo-Saxon' period it is attributed to the Hwicce. The relationship and possible commonality between the two peoples and their territory will be explored here, together with any relationship which may appertain between religious sites and the natural world (topography, geology, and hydrology). New types of religious site will be encountered and defined and an attempt made to associate these both with nature and with social actions. The second part of the survey is concerned with the association of religion, community, and territory, and consequently deals with the ways in which these aspects were interrelated. A framework is proposed for explaining the long term development of communities in the region from late prehistory into the historical period. An important discovery has been the identification of a goddess associated with a sacred vessel, shown in a number of Roman reliefs, who seems to be a territorial deity directly associated with the Dobunni. Aspects of her cult can be recognised in the Iron Age and even in the early medieval periods. It is apparent on so many levels that there was no opposition between the deification of the natural world and the use of deities as representations of community, but that they were in reality two aspects of the same paradigm. The divinities of the pre-Christian religion, in the region, were not expunged at once with the advent of Christianity, but continue to survive in genealogies, folk-tradition, and myth. The strong implication of my thesis is that the Dobunni and the Hwicce are in fact the same people.

This is a three volume set: ISBN 9781407359373 (Volume I); ISBN 9781407359380 (Volume II); ISBN 9781407359397 (Volume III); ISBN 9781841717456 (Volume set).