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Transformations in North-Western Europe (AD 300-1000)
Transformations in North-Western
Europe (AD 300-1000)
Transformations in North-Western Europe (AD 300-1000) Neue Studien zur Sachsenforschung 3

Transformations in North-Western Europe (AD 300-1000)

Proceedings of the 60 th Sachsensymposion 19.-23. September 2009 Maastricht

Neue Studien zur Sachsenforschung Band 3

herausgegeben vom Niedersächsischen Landesmuseum Hannover

in Verbindung mit dem Internationalen Sachsensymposion

durch

Babette Ludowici

Transformations in North-Western Europe (AD 300-1000)

Proceedings of the 60 th Sachsensymposion 19.-23. September 2009 Maastricht

herausgegeben von

Titus A.S.M. Panhuysen

Umschlaggestaltung: Karl-Heinz Perschall Satz und Layout: Karl-Heinz Perschall

Redaktion: Titus A.S.M. Panhuysen, Babette Ludowici

Bibliografische Information der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek:

Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über http://dnb.d-nb.de abrufbar.

© 2011 Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover Alle Rechte vorbehalten In Kommission bei Konrad Theiss Verlag GmbH, Stuttgart

Abbildungsnachweise liegen in der Verantwortung der Autoren

Druck:

BWH GmbH - Die Publishing Company, D 30457 Hannover

ISBN 978-3-8062-2576-1

Gedruckt mit Unterstützung von:

Autoren Druck: BWH GmbH - Die Publishing Company, D 30457 Hannover ISBN 978-3-8062-2576-1 Gedruckt mit Unterstützung

Vorwort

Der vorliegende Band führt die gemeinsam vom Niedersäch- sischen Landesmuseum Hannover und dem Internationalen Sachsensymposion herausgegebene Reihe „Neue Studien zur Sachsenforschung“ fort. Er umfasst die Beiträge zum 60. In- ternationalen Sachsensymposion, das vom 19. bis 23. Sep- tember 2009 in Maastricht stattfand. Im Mittelpunkt der Zusammenkunft stand das Thema „Transformations in North- Western Europe (AD 300-1000)“. In dieser Zeit vollzog sich in Europa ein tiefgreifender Wandel: Auf der Grundlage der Kul- tur der Spätantike formierte sich die Welt des Mittelalters. Die hier in deutscher, englischer und französischer Sprache vor- gelegten Konferenzbeiträge gewähren breiten Einblick in die aktuelle archäologische Forschung zu diesem Thema. Dabei wird vor allem die enorme Vielschichtigkeit und regionale Va- riabilität der Jahrhunderte andauernden Transformation im Nordwesten Europas deutlich. Die 24 Studien zeigen auf, dass die sehr unterschiedlich geprägten Kulturlandschaften Nord- westeuropas und ihre Bevölkerung jeweils ganz eigene, kon- textspezifische Veränderungsprozesse durchliefen.

Für das mehrtägige Symposion waren in Maastricht mehr als 100 Teilnehmer aus Belgien, Dänemark, Deutschland, Frank- reich, Großbritannien, Niederlande, Norwegen, Schweden und den USA zusammengetroffen. Die Organisation der Konferenz wurde von der Universität von Amsterdam und der Stadt Maas- tricht betreut (Prof. Dr. Frans Theuws und Dr. Titus Panhuysen). In seinem Festvortrag hat Frans Theuws auf die zentrale Be- deutung Maastrichts für die frühmittelalterliche Landschaft an der mittleren Maas hingewiesen, aus der heraus sich in karo- lingischer Zeit ein neues europäisches Imperium formiert hat. Fragen nach der Rolle der weltlichen und der klerikalen Elite, der Bedeutung von Bestattungsritualen sowie der Funktion von Machtzentren, Siedlungen und des Warenverkehrs in diesem Prozess waren der Ausgangspunkt von mehreren Forschungs- projekten der Universität von Amsterdam, so beispielsweise dem "Sankt Servatius Projekt Maastricht" und dem "Anastasis Grä- berfeldprojekt der südlichen Niederlande". Am Beispiel ver- schiedener Studien zu Maastricht, Aachen, Tongeren und Lüttich konnten im Rahmen der Konferenz aktuelle Erkenntnisse der Frühgeschichtsforschung in der „Euregio Maas-Rhein“ präsen- tiert werden. Die Gegenüberstellung dieser Forschungen mit ver- gleichbaren Vorhaben in anderen Ländern und Landschaften Nordwest-Europas, die in ganz unterschiedlichen historischen Entwicklungs- und auch Forschungstraditionen stehen, hat sich

als äußerst ertragreich erwiesen. Eine Reihe internationaler archäologischer Fundorte von überregionaler Relevanz wie Spong Hill, Ipswich, Dunum, Krefeld-Gellep, Sorte Muld, Stavnsager, Uppåkra, Broechem und Bossut-Gottechain bilde- ten den weiteren Bezugsrahmen. Die Exkursion schließlich führte die Konferenzteilnehmer zu einigen archäologischen Spitzenfundorten im belgischen Maastal: Lüttich, Amay, Thier d'Olne und Namur.

Den Druck des Konferenzbandes haben die Koninklijke Neder- landse Akademie van Wetenschappen (Königliche Niederlän- dische Akademie der Wissenschaften) in Amsterdam, die Uni- versität von Amsterdam und die Gemeinde Maastricht finanziell unterstützt, wofür wir herzlich danken. Unser Dank gilt außer- dem unseren Kollegen Barry Ager (London), Diana Briscoe (Lon- don), Samantha Lucy (Cambridge), Leslie Webster (London) und Martin Welch (†) für die Durchsicht und sprachliche Betreuung der englischen Beiträge. Den Bibliographien liegen die in den Niederlanden üblichen Zitierregeln zu Grunde. Wir möchten die Aufsatzsammlung dem Andenken an Martin Welch widmen, der im Februar 2011 verstorben ist. Sein zusammen mit Sue Harrington verfasster Beitrag zum 60. Internationalen Sachsensymposion ist seine letzte Veröf- fentlichung.

Titus A.S.M. Panhuysen

Universität von Amsterdam

Babette Ludowici

Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover, Arbeitsbereich „Sachsenforschung“

Claus von Carnap-Bornheim

Leitender Direktor der Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, Vorsitzender des Internationalen Sachsensymposions

Contents

Frans Theuws

Introduction: Transformations in North-Western Europe (AD 300-1000)

9

Part one: Transformations

11

Menno Dijkstra and Henk Van der Velde

House plots, pots and pins. Transformations in the Rhine estuary during the Early Middle Ages

13

Charlotte Fabech

War and rituals. Changes in rituals and transformations of power

27

Julia Gräf

Die Entwicklung der Gerberei am Übergang von der Spätantike zum Frühen Mittelalter

37

Denis Henrard et Jean-Marc Léotard

Liège au Haut Moyen Âge: un état de la question

47

Annet Nieuwhof

Discontinuity in the Northern-Netherlands coastal area at the end of the Roman Period

55

Titus Panhuysen

Wendepunkte in der Frühgeschichte der Maastrichter Servatiusabtei

67

Alexandra Pesch

Die schwedischen Goldhalskragen. Germanische Bildersprache in antiker Techniktradition. Ein Vorbericht

90

Christoph Reichmann

Die Anfänge des Kirchenbaus im Umfeld des fränkischen Fürstensitzes von Krefeld-Gellep

101

Andreas Schaub

Zur Siedlungskontinuität in Aachen zwischen römischer und karolingischer Zeit

119

Alain Vanderhoeven

Changing urban topography in late Roman and early medieval Tongeren

128

Margrethe Watt

Sorte Muld, Bornholm, an example of transformation and regional contacts during the 5 th to 7 th centuries in the Baltic Sea area

139

Sue Harrington and Martin Welch

The archaeological evidence for state formation in southern England: a comparison of the early kingdoms of Kent, Sussex and Wessex

149

Part two: Central Places

159

Reno Fiedel, Karen Høilund Nielsen and Christopher Loveluck

From hamlet, to central place, to manor. Social transformation of the settlement at Stavnsager, eastern Jutland, and its networks, AD 400-1100

161

Lars Larsson

Power by fire. Transitions and continuity during the Migration and Merovingian periods at Uppåkra, southernmost part of Sweden

177

Ulf Näsman

Central Places in South Scandinavia – A Transformation Twenty Years After

185

Martin Rundkvist

Transformations in the elite settlements of Östergötland, Sweden, 375-1000

194

Christopher Scull

Ipswich – Transformations of Community and Settlement in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries

200

Part three: Burial Customs

205

Rica Annaert, Koen Deforce and Marit Vandenbruaene

The cremation graves at the Broechem cemetery (prov. of Antwerp, Belgium)

207

Egge Knol

The first early medieval cemeteries along the northern Dutch coasts and their significance for Anglo-Saxon migration

218

Daniel Peters

Am Vorabend der Sachsenkriege: Aufkommen und Abbruch der sogenannten sächsischen Gräber in Westfalen am Beispiel von Soest

228

Annette Siegmüller

Leichentücher und Federstreuungen. Das frühmittelalterliche Gräberfeld von Dunum als Spiegel politisch-religiöser Wandlungen des 7.-10. Jahrhunderts im Küstenraum

239

Anne Birgitte Sørensen

Changes in Burial Custom seen from Østergård, Southern Jutland in the period from the Early Roman Iron Age to the Late Roman/Early Germanic Iron Age

251

Olivier Vrielynck

The Merovingian cemetery of Bossut-Gottechain (Grez-Doiceau, Belgium)

259

Leslie Webster

The Prittlewell (Essex) burial: a comparison with other Anglo-Saxon princely graves

266

Liste der Teilnehmer

273

Discontinuity in the Northern-Netherlands coastal area at the end of the Roman Period

Annet Nieuwhof

coastal area at the end of the Roman Period Annet Nieuwhof Figure 1. Palaeogeographical map of

Figure 1. Palaeogeographical map of the coastal area of the northern Netherlands, AD 800 (after Vos/Knol 2005). Place-names mentioned in the text:

1 Driesumerterp; 2 Dronrijp; 3 Englum; 4 Ezinge; 5 Midlaren; 6 Wijnaldum.

There are indications that inhabitation of the coastal area of the northern Netherlands (Figure 1) came to an end during the late Roman Period, and that immigrants from the north- east (‘Anglo-Saxons’) came to occupy the salt marsh area from the end of the fourth century AD onwards. This has already been discussed in various publications. 1 However, as yet these ideas have not reached a wide audience beyond the small cir- cle of archaeologists who work in the Dutch coastal area. Moreover, discontinuity is hard to prove from archaeological evidence, while migration is not a popular model to explain change in archaeology, so discontinuity and immigration are still not widely accepted as an explanation of the changes which occurred in this area at the time. This article means to rekindle the discussion on the subject. By presenting it to an international audience, it will hopefully become part of the discussion and research on the changes that occurred in many parts of the North Sea coastal area at the end of the Roman Period and the early Middle Ages, and contribute to a better understanding of these changes. The arguments from the discussion thus far will be sum- marised. The arguments for discontinuity are supported by new evidence from research of the pottery from the inland set-

tlement of Midlaren-De Bloemert. Thereby, it is possible to show what continuity in this area might look like, implicitly showing how we may recognise discontinuity. Finally, the rea- sons for the break in habitation in this area will be discussed.

Arguments for discontinuity and immigration

The idea of an invasion of new Anglo-Saxon inhabitants had already been brought forward by one of the leading experts of early ‘terp’ archaeology, P.C.J.A. Boeles, as early as 1906. 2 Boeles did not think that the original Frisian population had left the area prior to the invasion. He assumed that the origi- nal population had suffered from an aggressive Anglo-Saxon invasion and that the remaining population was absorbed by the immigrants, thus forming a new Anglo-Frisian population. His ideas were based on the new material culture (in particu- lar pottery and cruciform brooches) found in mixed cremation and inhumation cemeteries during commercial levelling of terps. The new pottery and the cruciform brooches were recog- nised by him as coming from the lower Elbe region. Boeles’ ideas were not received well at all in Friesland. 3

1 See Gerrets 1995; Gerrets 1996; Taayke 1996; Gerrets/Koning 1999; Taayke 1999; Bazelmans 2000; Bazelmans 2001; Taayke 2003; Koning 2003; Bos/Brouwer 2005; Nicolay 2005; Nicolay 2006; Taayke 2008; Knol 2009.

2 Terp is the Frisian word for the artificial dwelling mounds of the northern Netherlands; it is the term most often used in international publications by Dutch authors. The term wierde is used to describe similar mounds in the province of Groningen. In this article, terp will be used for both areas.

3 Bazelmans 2000.

55

Nationalist tendencies there were strongly inclined towards a direct descent from the Frisians mentioned by the classical au- thors, who were reported to have resisted the Romans suc- cessfully. Moreover, there were historians who rejected immigration as an explanation of changes in material culture on principle. For example, the historian Slicher van Bath re- jected the theory that objects could be equated with ethnic groups; he thought it more likely that the northern-Nether- lands area, as a part of the North Sea cultural sphere, was in- fluenced by groups that were dominant in certain periods, such as the Saxons in the fifth century. This influence had per- suaded the Frisians to accept their material culture and lan- guage. 4 The argument of Slicher van Bath is, of course, still persuasive. However, during the 1990s, new evidence was presented which supported Boeles’ ideas of an Anglo-Saxon immigration. There appeared to be indications of a break in habitation well before the arrival of the immigrants. It had not been a hostile take-over. The new evidence was provided in particular by the study of indigenous pottery by Taayke (1996) and by the results of the excavation of Wijnaldum (1991-

1993).

Arguments for discontinuity can be divided between evi- dence for the abandonment of the area c. AD 300 on the one hand (nos. 1-6), and for immigration at a later stage on the other hand (nos. 7-10):

5 There is usually a hiatus of decades (at least) between the youngest dated Roman Iron Age terp layers and the oldest layers with an early medieval (including Migration Period) date.

6 Prehistoric place and river names are entirely absent in Friesland and virtually absent in Groningen; place and river names are usually not older than the early Middle Ages. 9

7 Specific brooch types appear in the fifth century AD, in particular cruciform brooches. 10

8 While cemeteries from the pre-Roman Iron Age and the Roman Period are entirely lacking in the salt marsh area of the northern Netherlands, and only a small number of single graves and separate human bones have been found, formal cemeteries are introduced in the fifth cen- tury AD, with cremations and inhumations. 11 The new cemeteries are quite similar to cemeteries in the German Bight and in England. 12

9 In the fifth century AD, the orientation of houses and other structures in settlements change, compared to the late-Roman Period. Houses with a wooden framework are no longer found, while sod houses are introduced. 13

10 New pottery types of (Anglo-)Saxon style occur in the late fourth/fifth century in the salt marsh area.

1

There is a general and strong decline in finds from the middle-Roman Iron Age onwards (e.g. in Englum). 5

Recognition of continuity

2

In the salt marsh region, pottery of the last phase (c. AD 250 to 350, so-called Driesum-style pottery) is not found with pottery of the Migration Period. Moreover, there are no transitional forms between Driesum-style and Migra- tion Period pottery found in this area. 6

Additional evidence is provided by contemporary develop- ments in areas where a break in habitation is not assumed, in particular in northern Drenthe. There, continuity can be demonstrated from a continuous development of pottery styles. Since pottery is used as evidence here, some back-

3

Hardly any pottery from the fourth century AD has been found in the coastal area; however, regional differences do occur. In the western part of the present province of Friesland, Westergo, pottery types from the fourth century are entirely missing. In the eastern part of the province, Oostergo, Driesum-style pottery is possibly used into the early fourth century. In Groningen, a small number of pots of fourth century types known from northern Drenthe and northwestern Germany have been found. 7

ground information follows. The study of handmade pottery by Taayke revealed that the development of pottery styles in the northern Netherlands was strongly influenced from the east. 14 This trend is sometimes called ‘Germanisation’, suggesting a certain cultural, social or political influence as well. However, this influence was not a one-way affair; pottery types from the northern Netherlands (‘Frisian pottery’) have been found as far east as the Elbe- Weser area, so ‘Germanisation’ may not be the right word for it. 15

4

There are hardly any metal finds known from the fourth century AD in the salt marsh area. 8

In the first century AD, the influence from the east had spread to Groningen and northern Drenthe, while the Frisian

4

Slicher van Bath 1949.

5

Nieuwhof 2008a.

6

Taayke 1996-97, 180.

7

Taayke 1996-97, 51-52, 55, Abb. 10.

8

Erdrich 1999, 177.

9

Cf. Bazelmans 2000; Bazelmans 2001.

10

Bos/Brouwer 2005.

11

A dissertation on Iron Age funerary rites in the Dutch coastal region is being prepared by the author.

12

Knol 2009; Knol, this volume.

13

Taayke 1996-97, 195; Gerrets/Koning 1999, 104; Dijkstra et al. 2008, 318.

14

Taayke 1996-97, 163 ff.

15

Schmid 2006, 78.

56

Figure 2. Midlaren-De Bloemert. A sequence of beakers from the middle-Roman Period (top rows), to

Figure 2. Midlaren-De Bloemert. A sequence of beakers from the middle-Roman Period (top rows), to the Migration Period (bottom rows). There is a gradual change in shapes and decoration.

and North-Holland areas still had their own style which had developed from earlier indigenous types. 16 From AD 100 to 250, the eastern influence expanded to the south, taking in the larger part of Drenthe; the pottery of the time in this area

belongs to the so-called nordseeküstennahen Fundgruppe.

Friesland and North-Holland still had their own, different, pot- tery style. In the third century, new shapes evolved from older ones in Groningen, Drenthe and northwestern Germany; these are also found in the eastern part of present Friesland (Oost- ergo). Taayke called this the ‘Driesum-style’, after one of the Oostergo locations. 17 Driesum-style pottery was also found in North-Holland and Westergo in several locations. 18 However, finds dating to this period were already becoming scarcer. We may conclude that the process of ‘Germanisation’ had resulted in a rather homogeneous pottery style in the third and early fourth century AD in the inland, as well as in the entire coastal, areas of the northern Netherlands, in so far as they were still occupied. These similarities between the pottery of the coastal area and the Pleistocene inland make it suitable for a comparison of the developments in both areas. Taayke argued on the basis of his sample of northern-Drenthe handmade pottery, that in northern Drenthe (as well as in northwestern Germany), the angular forms of the middle-Roman Period pottery gradually changed into S-shaped profiles. 19 The Driesum-style was part of this development. At the same time, the rather formal deco- ration on the funnel-shaped beakers of the middle-Roman Pe- riod gradually came to be replaced by the expressive decorative elements which we usually call Saxon or Anglo-

Saxon. 20

The pottery of the recently excavated settlement of Mid- laren-De Bloemert, which considerably extended the pottery sample that was available to Taayke, clearly illustrates this gradual development. 21 A small selection of the Midlaren pot- tery is depicted in figures 2, 3 and 4. 22 Figure 2 shows the de- velopment of beakers, starting with the middle-Roman Period in the top rows. Decoration consists of formal triangular en- gravings and zones with dots (nos. 1918 and 3292) or, some- what later, of horizontal formal zones (no. 1894, an exceptionally large beaker). No. 655 is a beaker of the late

third or early fourth century. The lower three rows represent fourth and fifth century beakers, with and without Anglo- Saxon style decoration. Figure 3 shows a find assemblage in Driesum-style, with a decorated sherd (no. 1539) indicating that it may be an early fourth-century assemblage. Figure 4 shows cooking pots and other vessel-types, starting with some angular middle-Roman Period rims in the upper left corner, then another Driesum-style sherd (no. 957), and the more flu- ent and rounded shapes that follow. Some of these vessels, such as the striking Buckelurne (no. 2582), may have been imported from elsewhere and influences from elsewhere may also be recognised. However, most pots were undoubtedly made locally and there is nothing to suggest that they were made by immigrants. 23 The evidence not only shows that there is probably no break in habitation in the northern-Drenthe area between the Roman Period and the early Middle Ages; it also shows how continuity might be recognised, thereby implicitly showing how we may recognise discontinuity. When we compare the pottery of the settlement of Midlaren-De Bloemert with the finds from any settlement in the coastal area, it is clear that there was no continuous development of pottery in the coastal area. The shapes and decorations of the abundant fourth-cen- tury pottery of Midlaren, which connect the funnel-shaped beakers and the Driesum-style pots with distinctive Anglo- Saxon style pots, are entirely lacking in the coastal area. A good example is the pottery of Englum, found in this Groningen terp during the excavation of 2000. 24 Here, Driesum-style pots are the last to occur at the end of the Roman Period. Figure 5 shows a find assemblage that is quite similar to the find assemblage from Midlaren shown in figure 3, with a large number of broken Driesum-style pots found to- gether. The presence of a carinated pot (no. 253) indicates that the Englum assemblage is from the early Driesum-phase, not long after the middle of the third century, while the Mid- laren assemblage may be half a century later. It is notable that in Midlaren there were dozens of similar pots from other con- texts, but in Englum there were only five contemporary sherds besides this assemblage. 25 Some Anglo-Saxon-style pottery is only found in later layers and features. 26 It seems to be some-

16 The names of Dutch provinces may be confusing to foreigners. North-Holland is not the northern part of the country, but the most northern province of the western Netherlands (‘Holland’). The northern Netherlands consist of the provinces of Friesland and Groningen along the coast, and the province of Dren- the to their south. The early ‘Frisians’ supposedly lived in all these areas, including North-Holland.

17 Taayke 1996-97, 180.

18 Taayke 1996-97, 194.

19 Taayke 1996-97, 180; Taayke 1999, 199.

20 A similar, though not identical, development of pottery was recognised in the Feddersen Wierde material (Schmid 2006).

21 In the Midlaren material, there were fragments of 965 individual pots from the second and third century AD, 310 from types of the fourth century AD and 518 from ‘Anglo-Saxon’-style pottery, c. 350-550 AD (Nieuwhof 2008b, 291).

22 Pottery drawings were made by the author.

23 Nos. 2873, 2874, 2877 and 2878 (Figure 4), as well as no. 2875 (Figure 2) were found associated; so where no. 2931 (Figure 4) and no. 2930 (Figure 2); and nos. 3608, 3611 and 3612 (Figure 4). Nos. 2581, 2582 (Figure 4) and no. 2583 (Figure 2) were found in a mixed cemetery, as either cremation urns (2581 and 2582) or grave gifts in an inhumation grave (2583).

24 Nieuwhof 2008a.

25 In Englum, the fragments of 639 individual pots from the first century AD, 75 from the second and third century AD and only 13 from the third and possi- bly early fourth century were found (Nieuwhof 2008a, 63).

26 N = 12.

58

Figure 3. Midlaren-De Bloemert. A find assemblage consisting of Driesum-style pottery. Sherd no.1539 indicates an

Figure 3. Midlaren-De Bloemert. A find assemblage consisting of Driesum-style pottery. Sherd no.1539 indicates an early fourth century date for the assemblage.

59

thing entirely new and different in the area. The most con- spicuous find (Figure 6) is a large fragment from a Schalenurne found in a well, together with a scabbard slide. The scabbard slide is a unique find in the Netherlands; its shape and deco- ration suggest an eastern origin (possibly the Elbe or Weser area); both finds are dated to the 5th century. 27

When and where?

On the basis of this and similar evidence, it can be safely as- sumed that discontinuity in pottery production is an indica- tion of discontinuity in the habitation of the coastal area. So when and where exactly did this break in habitation occur? The western part of Friesland, Westergo, was almost en- tirely abandoned. The find of a cremation burial together with a terra nigra-like pot, presumably from the fourth century, in Dronrijp 28 is sometimes taken to show that a very small popu- lation remained there. 29 However, a recent radiocarbon date showed that this cremation might as well be dated to the fifth century AD. 30 North-Holland was largely abandoned as well, with the exception of a small number of settlements where habitation possibly did not end completely. 31 The eastern part of Friesland, Oostergo, was the most densely populated area in the terp region in the third century, and again in the fifth century. However, a fourth-century finds horizon is absent. In Groningen, too, most terps seem to have been deserted, but there is evidence that a small population remained on some terps, for example Ezinge. 32 Groningen may not have been so devoid of people as other parts of the terp region. The abandonment of the coastal area was a process that may already have started early in the third century. It was the remaining and depleted population that adopted the Driesum- style. However, in the early fourth century, the remaining pop- ulation left as well. For example in Wijnaldum, it could be established that habitation ended in the first quarter of the fourth century. 33 In most areas, an end date cannot be estab- lished so accurately. Nevertheless, there are indications that over a thousand settlements were abandoned at the end of the Roman Period. 34 New habitation in Wijnaldum started c. AD 425, a century later. In other areas, it may have started somewhat earlier, possibly at the end of the fourth century. 35 In Germany, the picture is somewhat different. A break in habitation is assumed for parts of the coastal area of north-

western Germany as well, but there are significant regional differences. 36 Two factors complicate comparison between northwestern Germany and the northern Netherlands. In the first place, our knowledge of the break in habitation in the Dutch coastal area is based on the evidence from a small num- ber of excavations, but supported by thousands of finds from hundreds of terps which have been destroyed by quarrying the fertile soil. The German Wurten were not levelled, however, which limits the evidence to finds from excavations. In the second place, there is an important difference bet- ween the landscapes of the northern coastal areas of the Netherlands and Germany, namely the size of the salt marsh area and the vicinity and accessibility of the Pleistocene in- land (in Germany called the Geest). In the Netherlands, the Holocene terp region was an extensive landscape and the in- habited parts of the Pleistocene inland were nowhere near

most terp settlements, especially in Friesland. Moreover, it was not always easy to reach the interior; access was hindered by the extensive peat zone between the salt marshes and the Pleistocene inland. In Germany, the salt marshes often formed

a rather limited zone along the coast, with easy access to the

nearby Geest. In the Dutch part of the coastal area, inhabita- tion of the Holocene salt-marsh landscape came to an end, while it continued in the Pleistocene inland. For the German part of the coastal area, such a difference has not yet been established.

Reasons for leaving

The Dutch situation, where abandonment is related to one type of landscape only, is rather suggestive as to the causes of the abandonment of the area. However, it is not yet entirely clear what actually caused the break in habitation. Various push-and-pull factors have been mentioned: increased flood-

ing; epidemics; (political) pressure coming from the east; tribal unrest; an economic crisis caused by the collapse of the Roman Empire; or the attraction of the Roman Empire when

it collapsed. Taayke has already suggested that natural causes, in par- ticular problems with drainage, were the primary reason for leaving, with tribal unrest caused by the collapse of the Roman Empire as a secondary reason. 37 However, the results of the Wijnaldum excavation in the western part of Friesland, West-

27 I would like to thank Prof. Dr. Claus von Carnap-Bornheim and Dr. Andreas Rau (Schloss Gottorf) for their help in finding information on the scabbard slide.

28 Nieuwhof 2008c.

29 Taayke 1996-97, 195.

30 GrN-31590: 1640 ± 25 BP.

31 Koning 2003.

32 Taayke 1996-97, 195.

33 Gerrets/Koning 1999, 99.

34 Taayke 2005, 200.

35 Taayke 2005.

36 Bärenfänger 2001.

37 Taayke 1996-97, 194; Taayke 1999, 200.

60

Figure 4. Midlaren-De Bloemert. Angular, middle-Roman Period shapes (upper row left) and following late-Roman Period

Figure 4. Midlaren-De Bloemert. Angular, middle-Roman Period shapes (upper row left) and following late-Roman Period and Migration Period pottery.

Figure 5. Englum (Prov. Groningen). A find assemblage consisting of Driesum-style pottery. First half of

Figure 5. Englum (Prov. Groningen). A find assemblage consisting of Driesum-style pottery. First half of the 3rd century.

ergo, have cast some doubts on these deductions. It was clear that a high cap ridge had formed in the north of Westergo which had closed off inland watercourses (this was beautifully mapped by Vos). 38 It was argued that Wijnaldum was situated on a rather high salt marsh ridge that would not have suffered from drainage problems. Moreover, there probably were open creeks near Wijnaldum in the period that the settlement was abandoned, providing for drainage of the area north of the

38 Vos 1999, fig. 23.

39 Gerrets/Koning 1999, 99 ff.; Vos 1999; Bazelmans 2000; Bazelmans 2001.

40 Vos/Knol 2005, 128.

41 Vos/Knol 2005, 126.

62

settlement. Nevertheless, it was thought that stagnating in- land water might well have posed major difficulties to the in- habitants of the lower, older salt marshes, more to the south. 39 Vos and Knol still share this opinion and suggest that natural causes were probably not the prime mover of the break in habitation. 40 However, they do observe that many settlements were silted over during the Roman Period. 41 It is quite certain that the abandonment was not caused by

Figure 6. Englum (Prov. Groningen). Finds from the Migration Period. The potsherd and the scabbard

Figure 6. Englum (Prov. Groningen). Finds from the Migration Period. The potsherd and the scabbard slide were found together in a well (drawing scabbard slide M.A. Los-Weijns, University of Groningen).

increased marine flooding. The terp dwellers had been used to marine flooding for centuries; in fact, living on an artificial dwelling mound was a deliberate and adequate adaptation to life in a landscape that was occasionally flooded by sea- water. Flooding could be handled as long as it did not last much longer than a few days and the area was well drained. However, the sea level rise that continued while the salt marshes expanded to the north over the centuries, not only resulted in an ever larger salt marsh area, but also in an ever higher area (a cap ridge) along the northern coastline. 42 This caused drainage problems inland, with prolonged periods of flooding during which thick layers of clay were deposited. This may have made life in these areas quite difficult. Drainage problems were only solved later, when new tidal systems and watercourses started to drain the inland areas. Their dating is as yet not well established. Thick layers of clay were deposited in the oldest, low areas of the salt marsh across the entire coastal area. However, these are not all dated to exactly the same period (as far as they are dated). Still, older and more recent excavations in coastal set- tlements in Friesland, as well as in Groningen, have provided evidence of stagnating water and of prolonged periods of flooding from the middle-Roman Period onwards; this coin- cided with the abandonment of many settlements in the third century. 43 Without wanting to be too ecologically deterministic, it cannot be denied that environmental causes may have played an important part in the end of habitation. They may well have

been the prime mover, though dating is not yet well estab- lished everywhere. The argument that settlements on high salt marsh ridges, such as Wijnaldum, were not affected by drainage problems, may not be so strong. If low parts of the surrounding salt marsh were flooded for long periods, it would affect life in many ways. Moreover, malaria mosquitoes may have thrived in the stagnating brackish water, thus contribu- ting to an increasingly unhealthy environment. 44 A high death rate caused by malaria would have weakened the population considerably. With or without malaria, as soon as the first set- tlements were abandoned and groups of people started to leave the area, social networks weakened; they may finally have collapsed. For the people staying behind, there was no longer a reason to stay, whether they lived on high ridges or not. Such a process also makes it understandable why habita- tion of the Frisian areas ended almost completely, while in Groningen a small number of terp settlements remained in use. Although natural conditions in Groningen did not differ much from those in Friesland, the social network was much stronger, because it included areas outside the Groningen terp area where natural conditions did not deteriorate. Since the early-Roman Period, the inhabitants of Groningen had been part of a social network, which included northern Drenthe and northwestern Germany. Habitation in these areas did not come to an end during this period, so only a part of the territory of this group (that shared cultural and social identities) became uninhabitable. Habitation of terps in well-drained areas could

42 = The high salt marsh ridges in Figure 1.

43 For example, the ‘frustrated terps’ of Paddepoel in Groningen (Es 1970); Hoxwier in Westergo (Nieuwhof/Prummel 2007).

44 Knottnerus 1999; 2002.

63

continue, because a large part of the social and cultural net- work of the inhabitants had remained intact. In Friesland, the situation was quite different. The popula- tion of Friesland, especially in Westergo, had been more ori- ented to the west than to the east, and was not part of a social network which largely remained intact while the terp region was abandoned. On the contrary, the region to which the in- habitants of Friesland were primarily connected, North-Hol- land, was also abandoned in this period. It is assumed that the reasons for the end of habitation there were the worsening political-military situation, the economic decline and the de- terioration of the natural environment as a result of overcrop- ping. These causes were directly related to the collapse of the Roman Empire at the end of the third century. 45 North-Hol- land had always maintained rather close relations with the Roman Empire, probably more so than the northern coastal area. 46 It is not clear where the terp inhabitants went after they left the area. Traces of them, such as an increase in the number and size of settlements, have not been observed elsewhere. Driesum-style pottery, the pottery of a large part of the emi- grants, has not been found in other parts of the Netherlands. 47 However, pottery in this style was discovered some years ago in Zele in Belgian Flanders, in a deposit that was remarkably similar to the find assemblages from Englum and Midlaren that were illustrated in figures 3 and 5. 48 It has been suggested that the northern Netherlands were among the source areas of Frankish migrants, who moved south during the fourth cen- tury. 49 Though this may well be so, it is possible that part of the population, especially in Groningen, did not join them but stayed within their cultural and social environment, only mov- ing a relatively short distance to the east or to the south. Since they shared the same material culture, the newcomers may not be recognisable as separate groups in either northern Drenthe or northwestern Germany. New settlers, probably profiting from the improved drainage of the area after new water courses had developed, came from the east. This can be established from their mate- rial culture. In principle, it is possible that the area was re- populated from the Pleistocene inland which, as we have seen, developed its own Saxon-style pottery. However, the many im- ported objects that are not related to the material culture of Drenthe for example the scabbard slide mentioned above, the new cemeteries, the new sod houses and the different set- tlement structure make it more likely that they came from the eastern North Sea area. The region between Weser and Elbe,

45 Bazelmans et al. 2004.

46 Erdrich 2001.

47 Taayke 1996, 195-196.

48 Clerq/Taayke 2004.

49 Taayke 1999, 195; Clerq/Taayke 2004.

50 Cf. Nicolay 2005.

51 Taayke 2008, 203.

52 Cf. Bazelmans 2000; Bazelmans 2001; Bazelmans 2009.

53 See note 52.

64

and Schleswig-Holstein, are both possible areas of origin. 50 The new inhabitants are only represented by a relatively small number of finds compared to the remains of habitation from the Roman period, and new terps were only started in the se-

venth century. 51 The population probably did not grow rapidly

in the early years, and only relatively small groups of settlers

may have come to the area at first.

What’s in a name?

Despite all the evidence for a break in habitation and the ar- rival of immigrants from elsewhere, there is one important ar- gument for continuity in the coastal area: the continuity of the name of the Frisians. It was used in historical sources from the

first century, and it is also mentioned in early medieval sources. How is it possible that the name remained in use, while the population changed? There are several possible answers to this problem. 52 Firstly,

a small population may have remained so that the newcom- ers could adopt their name. However, the area of the present province of Friesland in particular was probably devoid of peo- ple in the fourth century, while we do not know whether the small remaining population of Groningen called themselves Frisians. Secondly, it is possible that newcomers took the name of the region they colonised. In that case, the name of the area

of the Frisians existed independently of its inhabitants. It must

have been well-known among other groups living in the North Sea area, among them the people that came to occupy the Frisian land. As seafaring people, they may have been famil- iar with the geography and the geographical names of the en- tire coastal area of the North Sea. Thirdly, the new inhabitants may first have been called Frisians by outsiders, in particular by those of the Frankish elite who wrote about them. They knew the geography and history

of northwestern Europe from antique written sources and used the old name ‘Frisians’ to describe the new inhabitants of the Frisian area. This name was then also adopted by the new Frisians themselves. This explanation was preferred by Bazel- mans. 53 I would like to add a fourth possibility. If groups of emi- grants, who called themselves Frisians, indeed settled in north- western Germany, they may have kept the name and the memory of their descent alive. If their descendants were among the new settlers of the northern Netherlands coastal

area, they may have reintroduced the name of the Frisians to the area.

Although these explanations have their merits, it is not pos- sible to make a well-founded choice between them. Evidence

is simply too scarce. Nevertheless, it does not seem so strange

that the name of the Frisians continued, though possibly used for and by a different population. Continuity of a name does not necessarily exclude a break in habitation.

Conclusion

A possible break in the occupation of the salt marsh area of

the northern Netherlands has long been a subject for debate in Dutch ‘terp’ archaeology. Many arguments have been brought forward to support the theory that the area was aban- doned in the late-Roman Period and repopulated in the late fourth or early fifth century. A comparison of the development

in pottery styles in an inland settlement, Midlaren-De Bloe-

mert in northern Drenthe, and a salt marsh settlement, En-

glum in Groningen, confirmed the earlier arguments. It is very clear that a continuous development of pottery styles, which

is

apparent from the Midlaren material, is completely absent

in

Englum and other salt marsh settlements. There is nothing

between the (already sparse) third century pottery and the seemingly exotic Anglo-Saxon pottery of the immigrants in the

coastal area. The prime motive for leaving the area probably was the in- creasingly problematic drainage caused by the formation of

high cap ridges along the coast. This resulted in prolonged periods of flooding which must have made life in the area quite difficult. It is suspected that malaria in this wet, brack- ish environment thrived, thus adding to the increasing unat- tractiveness of the area. Many settlements were already abandoned in the early third century; social networks weak- ened and finally collapsed. There was no longer any reason

to stay, even for those who lived in well-drained areas. While

the province of Friesland was probably abandoned completely,

a small population may have stayed behind in the Groningen

area. This difference may be explained by social and cultural differences between these areas. Friesland had been oriented

to the west, to North-Holland, which was also abandoned dur-

ing this period. Groningen had been part of a social and cul- tural network that included northern Drenthe and reached far into Niedersachsen. There, the result of staying behind would not have been total isolation, natural circumstances permit- ting. Thus, social circumstances may have been the decisive factor in the end.

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Annet Nieuwhof University of Groningen Poststraat 6 NL 9712 ER Groningen a.nieuwhof@rug.nl