Given the material and linguistic dominance of the Germanic migrants on the indigenous population it is interesting that there are so few migration myths and legends (Figure 2.1) but heroic stories are normally the antidote to failure, real or perceived. The principal story is that related by Bede and acceptance of that story has determined much modern opinion regarding the migration period (for a recent discussion, see Hines 1994:50-2). Thus the archaeological evidence was expected to match the story and little comment

was aroused even when it did not (see Figure 1.6). The fact that Bede knew so little of what had occurred may be a reflection of the actual nature of the Germanic settlement of England; that there was no single shared story. The only expansion on the story that has been attempted concerns the numbers of migrants and the true fate of the native population: the various possible models regarding these issues, the very nature of the migrations and our ability to recognise ethnic identities in the archaeological record, have largely determined modern opinion. Surprisingly the applicability of the concept of the ‘frontier’ to fifth-century England has hardly been debated (Arnold 1984a: 13-16) and at least the principal conceptual dichotomy of frontier as a place of domination and opportunity as opposed to hardship and suffering should form part of the equation; whether or not it is relevant it is implicit in some of the principal models that have been put forward, for instance those models that assumed mass genocide of the native population. A fuller understanding of historical migrations may assist us-a comparison has been made between the archaeological evidence for a fifthcentury Saxon settlement at Mucking and the experiences of the Mayflower Pilgrims in New England in 1620 (Dixon 1993)—but it would be dangerous to place too much reliance on comparative studies given the number of potential variables. Due to periodisation of the past, the actual migrations, sandwiched between the collapse of Roman Britain (Arnold 1984a; Esmonde Cleary 1989, 1993) and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon society, have tended to be overlooked in favour of debates about the date of the adventus Saxonum. Few would dispute that during the fifth century Germanic peoples migrated from the Continent to England and settled amongst the native population. While some immigrants may have served as mercenaries in the early stages there is no evidence for a military invasion. It might therefore be assumed that the ‘migration’ was in reality a large number of different events and that the immigrant and the native populations co-operated in the continuance or development of an agrarian and economic system that was to their mutual benefit. As a result any distinctions gradually blurred despite the very real dominance of one material culture and language. While the seemingly wholesale adoption of Germanic traits might seem powerful evidence for large-scale Germanic migrations, no such explanation is appar-ently required to explain the wholesale change in religion that occurred in the seventh century. With a desire to maintain, or even create, separate iden-tities, segments of the population at some stage began to bond together under the leadership of dominant lineages, not necessarily of Germanic origin, from which, after a period of competition and emulation, identifiable kingdoms emerged in the later sixth century.