Winchester Urban Archaeology Assessment

April 2017 | City of Winchester

St Swithun's 'City of Happiness and Good Fortune', Winchester: an Urban Archaeology Assessment by Patrick Ottaway will be published shortly by Oxbow Books for the City of Winchester and Historic England. The volume is an up- to-date review of the archaeology of one of England's most important historic cities. It includes an introduction setting out the character of Winchester's natural environment and archaeological resource. This is followed by eight period-based chapters, each of which presents a summary of past archaeological work, an account of what is currently known about aspects of the city, such as the defences, the street system,  royal and ecclesiastical sites and the dwellings of the citizens, and concludes with a statement on the importance of the archaeology and priorities for future work. The final part of the volume will be an overview of the archaeology of the city and will address aspects of the management of the archives and resources. 

Winchester, near the south coast of England, in the valley of the River Itchen, has a rich prehistoric past concluding with a great Iron Age enclosure. It was then an important Roman town (Venta Belgarum) with many fine buildings and a rich material culture. In the Anglo-Saxon period Winchester was chosen as the site of bishopric and then became the capital of the Kingdom of Wessex under King Alfred in the late 9th century. Winchester's importance was recognised by the Norman kings who built a great castle there and by the first Norman bishop who built the great cathedral which still stands today. The later history of Winchester is also of great interest even though its status was reduced to that of a provincial market town. In the time of King Charles I it nearly became a capital again and remains of Wren's great palace can still be found!  The volume is available from Oxbow Books, www.oxbowbooks.com

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