Abstract Submitted for EMASS 2013

Here is the text of the abstract of the paper I intend to give at the Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium, 20-22 May 2013 hosted by the University of Chester:

This paper presents the findings from a recent geophysical and topographical survey carried out in Church Norton, West Sussex. Church Norton is the name given to a hamlet in the north-east corner of Selsey parish at the mouth of Pagham Harbour, south of Chichester. This region is widely known for its rich Roman archaeology; however, an extensive 30-acre magnetometry and topographic survey will explore remnants of early medieval occupation at Church Norton. More specifically, these surveys aim to determine the evidence for an early medieval monastic complex. Writing via West Saxon sources which recounted the life of Wilfrid of Northumbria, Bede reports that the South Saxon kingdom “remained persistently heathen until this time [AD 684], on account of its thick forests and rocky coasts”. However, Wilfrid was received by King Æthelwalh and given a villa regalis and 87 hides to establish a monastery on the island of Selsey which eventually came the first seat of the South Saxon Bishops. The fate of Wilfrid’s monastery has been variously argued in the literature: a natural hillock called “the Mound” at Church Norton and the remains of a twelfth century church could represent the site of Wilfrid’s monastery; antiquarians on the other hand, believed that erosion had claimed the site. The results of these surveys will add a new dimension to this debate and direct future work.

As this is my first real academic conference, I am over the moon to be considered to present although my work is still in its early days.