Shotton Anglo-Saxon Site - 2009 to 2010
An Anglo-Saxon settlement has been discovered at Shotton Surface Mining Site comprising of six rectangular post-built halls, two sunken-feature buildings, and a system of enclosures, fences and trackways. The site is one of a small number of Anglo-Saxon settlements to have been excavated on a scale and under conditions which allows for a detailed analysis of its layout and development over time. The development sequence is clear with an unenclosed settlement representing a de novo settlement established in the early Anglo-Saxon period probably during the sixth century. By the late seventh century the settlement had shifted slightly and become formalised with individual farmstead units defined within separate enclosures. Artefactual evidence recovered consists of Anglo-Saxon pottery, loom weights and metalworking residues.
The excavation has provided a significant boost to the study of Anglo-Saxon settlement in the North-East of England. In the early medieval period Northumbria was at the forefront of political, cultural and intellectual developments. At its greatest extent in the 7th Century the Kingdom of Bernicia, with its capital at Bamburgh, extended from Edinburgh to the Humber. Despite the importance of the early medieval period in the region little is known about settlement archaeology outside a restricted region in north Northumberland (Bamburgh, Yeavering and Thirlings) and the ecclesiastical sites to the south at Hexham, Jarrow, Monkwearmouth and Hartlepool. The Shotton site represents an isolated known instance of an extensive secular settlement plan in a 100 mile gap between the cluster of known settlements in north Northumberland and West Heslerton in North Yorkshire, although fragmentarily known settlements at sites such as Catterick indicate that more await discovery.