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The splendour of power

Early medieval kingship and the use of gold and silver in the southern North Sea area (5th to 7th century AD)

J.A.W. Nicolay
 

Series: Groningen Archaeological Studies 28

ISBN-13: 9789491431746

Publication year: 2014

Publication type: Book

Pages: XIII, 420

Cover: Hardcover

Format: 297 x 220 x 30 mm; full colour ill.

Price excl. VAT: €90.00

Price incl. VAT: €95.40

From the 5th to the 7th century AD, the southern North Sea area functioned as an important cultural and  political bridge, linking two power blocks: the late Roman Empire and its Frankish successor kingdom to the south, and the Scandinavian kingdoms to the north. This book examines how the region's intermediary position is reflected in the jewellery and other ornaments of gold and silver found along the southern North Sea coasts, and how it relates to the formation of kingdoms and the expression of group identity after the collapse of the West-Roman Empire.

The book first discusses the history of earlier research into kingship around the southern North Sea, and this is followed by a description of the individual research regions: the northern and western Netherlands, northern Germany and southeast England. After presenting the valuables of gold and silver from graves, hoards and settlement sites with their dating and contextual evidence in an extensive catalogue, the author examines how such items circulated between and within early medieval societies, were transformed into symbols expressing regional or supraregional identities, and eventually ended up in the ground. The various research themes come together in the synthesis, in which elite networks around the southern North Sea are reconstructed, and the expression of ethnic or other group identities among the members of such networks is considered. Finally, in an epilogue, the finds from the North Sea region are confronted with the nature and composition of the Staffordshire hoard.

For the first time not only presenting, but also interpreting the superb collection of valuables from the southern North Sea area as a whole, this book makes compulsive reading for anyone interested in the fascinating world of early medieval Europe.

Extra information

The first print edition of this book was produced by off set in 2014, and had a text-block format of 23 x 29.7 cm.

The current version is a reprint, containing small corrections. It has been produced by printing on demand, and has a different format: 22 x 29.7 cm. The printing and binding quality is somehwat less than that of the first print.

Contents (shortened)

1 Introduction: early medieval kingship & gift exchange 2

2 History of research into early medieval kingship around the southern North Sea 20

3 Research regions: landscape, nuclear regions and site types 36

4 Valuable items from the coastal area of the northern Netherlands 62

5 Valuable items from the coastal area of the western Netherlands and the central river area around Utrecht and Dorestad 102

6 Valuable items from the coastal areas of Nieder sachsen and western Schleswig-Holstein 40

7 Valuable items from south east England: East Anglia, Essex and Kent 170

8 Origin and interregional exchange of early medieval gold and silver 210

9 Reshaping imported precious metals: the creation of regional and supraregional style groups 234

10 The circulation of gold and silver within early medieval societies 264

11 The deposition of valuables in hoards and graves 296

12 The geographical distribution of valuable items: the effect of depositional and post-depositional factors 328

13 The reconstruction of elite networks: a comparative approach 346

Epilogue

A comparison with the Staffordshire hoard 368

Bibliography 378

General index 412

Index of place-names 414

About the author 418

Reviews

"Juweel van een boek. In de eerste 3 hoofdstukken besteedt Nicolay aandacht aan eerder onderzoek naar gift exchange, de vorming van koninkrijken in de Vroege Middeleeuwen en de onderzoeksgebieden. In hoofdstuk 4 t/m 7 beschrijft en toont hij de kostbaarheden uit de verschillende onderzoeksregio's: Noord-Nederland, het Nederlandse kust- en rivierengebied, Noord-Duitsland en Zuidoost-Engeland. In de daaropvolgende hoofdstukken (8 t/m 13 en de epiloog) interpreteert hij de vondsten. Door de regio's met elkaar te vergelijken zijn verschillen en overeenkomsten tussen de regio's te zien. Ook laat het zien hoe waardevol archeologische vondsten zijn om sociaal-politieke ontwikkelingen inzichtelijk te maken, zeker in een periode wanneer er geen overvloed is aan geschreven bronnen. De vorm waarin dit onderzoek is gegoten, maakt het zelf tot een kostbaar voorwerp. In het stevig gebonden boek staan tal van foto's van gouden en zilveren voorwerpen. Kaartjes en schema's verduidelijken de tekst. De subtiele vormgeving zorgt ervoor dat alle aandacht naar de vondsten uitgaat. Het onderzoek is geschreven in het Engels. Nicolay strooit niet met vaktermen waardoor met een goede basiskennis van het Engels The splendour of powerprima toegankelijk is." Leon Mijderwijk in Historiën, http://www.historien.nl/de-pracht-van-de-zuidelijke-noordzeekoninkrijken/

Leon Mijderwijk in  Detector Magazine 139, maart 2015, pp. 14-15

 

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