Swine, Pannage and Droveways – Pigs in the Anglo-Saxon Landscape
My research applies a new perspective to the study of the origins of the English countryside, through the detailed analysis of archaeological pig remains. Central to this study is the interpretation of pig husbandry practices within their landscape context, achieved by combining methods from zooarchaeology and landscape archaeology. According to documentary evidence, pig husbandry practices during the early medieval period typically involved free-range approaches such as pannage, where pigs were released into forests during the Autumn in order to feed on acorns, beech mast and other plants (Ervynk 1997:68). This study will examine the geographical and regional extent of pannage throughout England, as well as the exploitation of local landscapes, the movement of livestock across the countryside, and transhumance. This information will inform on how Anglo-Saxons organised their estates; supplied urban centers; and administrative, economic and political structures. Biometric data collected for this study may identify the presence of wild pig within assemblages, permitting an examination of the hunting of boar as an expression of power during the Anglo-Saxon period.