Anglo-Saxon Crops and Weeds: A Case Study in Quantitative Archaeobotany (2019, Archaeopress).
This study applies a standardised set of repeatable quantitative analyses to the charred remains of Anglo-Saxon crops and weeds, to shed light on crucial developments in crop husbandry between the seventh and ninth centuries. The analyses demonstrate the significance of the Anglo-Saxon archaeobotanical record in elucidating how greater crop surpluses were attained through ecologically-sensitive diversification and specialisation strategies in this period. At the same time, assumptions, variables and key parameters are presented fully and explicitly to facilitate repetition of the work, thus also enabling the book to be used as a source of comparative data and a methodological handbook for similar research in other periods and places. It constitutes a specialist, data-driven companion volume to the author’s more general narrative account published as Farming Transformed in Anglo-Saxon England.
Anglo-Saxon Crops and Weeds is available to buy in hard copy or to download for free from the publisher’s website.
“Overall, this is an important methodological study that, along with McKerracher’s Farming Transformed in Anglo-Saxon England, should be a must-read for anyone interested in the early medieval landscape.Prof. Stephen Rippon, Medieval Settlement Research
This book contributes to archaeobotanical studies and discussion in England, and can be used as a guide for multivariate methods.Juan Pablo Rodriguez Calle, Economic Botany
Farming Transformed in Anglo-Saxon England: Agriculture in the Long Eighth Century (2018, Windgather Press).
Anglo-Saxon farming has traditionally been seen as the wellspring of English agriculture, setting the pattern for 1000 years to come – but it was more important than that. A rich harvest of archaeological data is now revealing the untold story of agricultural innovation, the beginnings of a revolution, in the age of Bede. How old were sheep left to grow, and what pathologies did cattle sustain? What does wheat chaff have to do with lordship and the market economy? What connects ovens in Roman Germany with barley maltings in early medieval Northamptonshire? And just how interested were Saxon nuns in cultivating the opium poppy? Armed with a powerful new dataset, Farming Transformed sets out to explore these fundamental questions about the minutiae of early medieval farming.
“…this is an important study that sheds fuller light on farming in Anglo-Saxon southern England across the ‘long eighth century’…”Prof. Stephen Rippon, Medieval Archaeology
“This well-written and extremely useful book… makes a mass of research data (and the techniques that can be used to interrogate these) available to the many readers interested in the history of early medieval farming; and it does so in an agreeable style with some quite tolerable jokes along the way…”Dr Rosamond Faith, Medieval Settlement Research
“… the book is well and engagingly written… with a large number of figures locating sites, quantifying data and bringing together elements of site plans from excavations. It is also mercifully concise…”Dr Paul Stamper, Agricultural History Review
“This book marks a step forward in our knowledge of farming in England in the AngloSaxon period.”Dr Della Hooke, Landscape History
“This book is extremely welcome… McKerracher has a neat turn of phrase, a great advantage of making what is, after all, fairly technical information accessible to a wider audience. And the book is as well produced as we have come to expect from Windgather… The book is a credit to all concerned.”Dr Debby Banham, Journal of the English Place-Name Society
McKerracher, M. (forthcoming). ‘Cereals’, in A. Wilkin (ed.) Routledge Medieval Encyclopedia Online: Environment, production and exchange..
McKerracher, M. (2021). ‘Archaeology and agriculture: insights from an Essex farmer’, Rural History Today 40, pp.7-8.
McKerracher, M. (2020). ‘Standing on the shoulders of peasants: agency and risk in Anglo-Saxon farming’, in J.A. Quirós Castillo (ed.) Archaeology and History of Peasantries 1. From the Late Prehistory to the Middle Ages. (Documentos de Arqueología Medieval 14), Universidad del País Vasco: pp.113-123.
Hamerow, H., Bogaard, A., Charles, M., Forster, E., Holmes, M., McKerracher, M., Neil, S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Stroud, E. and Thomas, R. (2020). ‘An Integrated Bioarchaeological Approach to the Medieval “Agricultural Revolution”: A Case Study from Stafford, England, c.AD 800-1200’, European Journal of Archaeology 23(4), pp.585-609. doi:10.1017/eaa.2020.6
Hamerow, H., Bogaard, A., Charles, M., Ramsey, C., Thomas, R., Forster, E., Holmes, M., McKerracher, M., Neil, S. and Stroud, E. (2019). ‘Feeding Anglo-Saxon England: The bioarchaeology of an agricultural revolution’, Antiquity 93(368), E12. doi:10.15184/aqy.2019.27
McKerracher, M. (2018). “Introducing FeedSax: Bioarchaeological Explorations of an Early Medieval Agricultural Revolution”, Rural History Today 34: pp.4-5.
McKerracher, M. (2017). “Seeds and status: the archaeobotany of monastic Lyminge”, in Thomas, G. & Knox, A. (eds) Early medieval monasticism in the North Sea Zone (Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 20), University of Oxford School of Archaeology: pp.127-134.
McKerracher, M. (2016). “Bread and surpluses: the Anglo-Saxon ’bread wheat thesis’ reconsidered”, Environmental Archaeology21: pp.88-102.
McKerracher, M. (2016). “Playing with fire? Charred grain as a proxy for cereal surpluses in early medieval England”, Medieval Settlement Research 31: pp.63-66.
McKerracher, M. (2016). “Saving the Bacon? Reflections on the Anglo-Saxon Pig”, Association for Environmental Archaeology Newsletter 134: pp.4-9.
McKerracher, M. (2014). “Landscapes of production in mid Saxon England: the monumental grain ovens”, Medieval Settlement Research29: pp.82-85.
Reports and dissertations
— (2019). Analysis of archaeobotanical remains from excavations in Southampton (SOU 1715). Archive report for Southampton City Council Archaeology Unit.
— (2019). Analysis of charred plant remains from excavations at Alexandra Road, Lymington, Hampshire. Archive report for Southampton City Council Archaeology Unit.
— (2018). Archaeobotanical remains from an inhumation burial at the Rollright Stones. Archive report for the Rollright Trust.
— (2017). Analysis of macroscopic charred plant remains from the 2013-2014 excavations at Church Meadow, Ewell, Surrey. Archive report for the Epsom & Ewell History & Archaeology Society.
— (2015). Assessment of macroscopic plant remains from the 2014 excavations at Lyminge, Kent. Archive report for the University of Reading.
— (2014). Agricultural Development in Mid Saxon England. Unpublished DPhil thesis, University of Oxford.
— (2013). Charred Plants Remains from Lyminge: Analysis and interpretation of ten selected samples from the 2008 excavations. Archive report for the University of Reading.
— (2010). Monastic Landholding and Dependency in Anglo-Saxon England. Unpublished MSt dissertation, University of Oxford.
— (2008). Could Brading village provide evidence of foreign investment in Britain in Late Antiquity? Unpublished BA dissertation, University of Oxford.