Iron Age Ritual, a Hillfort and Evidence for a Minster at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Farley, M., G. Jones.

Hardback. 184p, b/w and colour illustrations. Oxbow books 2012.

The excavation of an area within the grounds of the Prebendal, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, adjacent to the parish church of St Mary's, showed that the town, which lies on a slight spur, is sited within a univallate Iron Age hillfort. Early-Middle Iron Age activity included the creation of a notable ritual area contaning the burials of four children and a young woman; most accompanied by animals and a 'bone mass' containing animal and disarticulated human bone. Within a generation or so of the deposit's creation, within the first half of the 4th century BC, a univallate hillfort was constructed which did not continue into the later Iron Age.
Early in the Middle Saxon period a palisade trench was dug into the hillfort's ditch, which was replaced by a ditch in the 8th century. Both palisade and ditch were almost certainly the boundaries of an early minster church and it is very likely that the former existence of the hillfort influenced its siting here. An unusual piece of Merovingian glass with a moulded cross on its base is likely to have been one of the minster's possessions. The extensive minster cemetery and later Saxon development of the town is briefly noted. A significant Saxo-Norman grain deposit which has been radiocarbon dated to the 11th-12th centuries is described.

1.  Introduction to the excavation and to Aylesbury and its early prehistory.
2. The Iron Age Hillfort.
3. The Iron Age ritual deposit: introduction and description of human and animal remains.
4. Other finds from the ritual deposit and further environmental evidence.
5. Radiocarbon dating of the skull from the hillfort ditch and human and animal bone from the     ritual deposit.
6. Discussion of the ritual deposit.
7. The hillfort and its region.
8. Roman period evidence.
9. Early Saxon Aylesbury and a reference in the Anglo -Saxon Chronicle
10. A Minster boundary and Middle Saxon Aylesbury
11. Other Early Mid -Saxon finds from the site, apart from those from the boundary ditch
12. Aylesbury and other minsters
13. The Late Saxon period
14. Medieval and Post -Medieval us e of the sit e and an overview of the excavation
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