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Post-Roman Upland Architecture in the Craven Dales and the Dating Evidence

WithAlan King

In upland Britain the field evidence of Early-medieval settlement survives today largely as free-standing monuments, yet our understanding of this resource is minimal. At the Eighth Viking Conference in Arhus, Christopher Morris echoed the general consensus admitting our failure to uncover evidence of Scandinavian cultural influence at either Simy Folds or Ribblehead. Christopher Morris concluded that so little was known of the post-Roman building tradition in upland Britain, that identifying subsequent innovations was made more difficult. Though our understanding of Viking-period vernacular architecture in upland Britain badly needs detail, almost all the ‘archaeological digging’ in the Craven area and across the 35 km westwards to Morecambe Bay is being undertaken by metal detectorists. The valley’s mother church at Kirkby Malham has always suggested a Christian element in this local community during the period under discussion, but the church and churchyard are devoid of any Early-medieval evidence.