Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World

Hardcover | November 1, 2013

EditorMichael D. J. Bintley, Michael G. Shapland

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Trees were of fundamental importance in Anglo-Saxon society. Anglo-Saxons dwelt in timber houses, relied on woodland as an economic resource, and created a material culture of wood which was at least as meaningfully-imbued, and vastly more prevalent, than the sculpture and metalwork with whichwe associate them today. Trees held a central place in Anglo-Saxon belief systems, which carried into the Christian period, not least in the figure of the cross itself. Despite this, the transience of trees and timber in comparison to metal and stone has meant that the subject has receivedcomparatively little attention from scholars. Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World constitutes the very first collection of essays written about the role of trees in early medieval England, bringing together established specialists and new voices to present an interdisciplinary insight into the complex relationship between the earlyEnglish and their woodlands. The woodlands of England were not only deeply rooted in every aspect of Anglo-Saxon material culture, as a source of heat and light, food and drink, wood and timber for the construction of tools, weapons, and materials, but also in their spiritual life, symbolicvocabulary, and sense of connection to their beliefs and heritage. These essays do not merely focus on practicalities, such as carpentry techniques and the extent of woodland coverage, but rather explore the place of trees and timber in the intellectual lives of the early medieval inhabitants ofEngland, using evidence from archaeology, place-names, landscapes, and written sources.

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Trees were of fundamental importance in Anglo-Saxon society. Anglo-Saxons dwelt in timber houses, relied on woodland as an economic resource, and created a material culture of wood which was at least as meaningfully-imbued, and vastly more prevalent, than the sculpture and metalwork with whichwe associate them today. Trees held a centr...

Michael D. J. Bintley studied a BA in English and an MA in Medieval Literature at UCL, before writing an interdisciplinary PhD thesis on Trees and Woodland in Anglo-Saxon Culture (2009). He lectured at University College London, Birkbeck College, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, before being appointed Lecturer in Medieval Literatur...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pagesPublished:November 1, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199680795

ISBN - 13:9780199680795

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations1. Michael D. J. Bintley and Michael G. Shapland: An Introduction to Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon WorldTimber in Anglo-Saxon building practice2. Michael G. Shapland: Meanings of Timber and Stone in Anglo-Saxon Building Practice3. Mark Gardiner: The Sophistication of Late Anglo-Saxon Timber Buildings4. John Baker: References to Timber Building Materials in Old English Place-NamesPerceptions of Wood and Wooden Objects5. Martin G. Comey: The Wooden Drinking Vessels in the Sutton Hoo Assemblage: Materials, Morphology and Usage6. Jennifer Neville: The Exeter Book Riddles' Precarious Insights into Wooden Artefacts7. Michael D. J. Bintley: Brungen of Bearwe: Ploughing Common Furrows in Exeter Book Riddle 21, The Dream of the Rood, and the AEcerbot Charm8. Pirkko Koppinen: Breaking the Mould: Solving the Old English Riddle 12 as Wudu 'Wood'Trees and Woodland in Anglo-Saxon Belief9. Clive Tolley: What is a 'World Tree', and Should We Expect to Find One Growing in Anglo-Saxon England?10. John Blair: Holy Beams: Anglo-Saxon Cult Sites and the Place-Name Element Beam11. Michael D. J. Bintley: Recasting the Role of Sacred Trees in Anglo-Saxon Spiritual History: the South Sandbach Cross 'Ancestors of Christ' Panel in its Cultural Contexts12. Della Hooke: Christianity and the 'Sacred Tree'