Archaeologists’ attempts to explore social identity through archaeological evidence may seem crude in comparison with the depths of investigation of modern sociologists and anthropologists. This is in part because the very nature of the evidence limits the questions that can be asked. However, the sophistication of the theory and the methods used is increasing and holds great promise. The subject of the social organisation of human communities began to be studied in detail by archaeologists from the beginning of the 1970s. Much of that early research was carried out using prehistoric data, but the rich data from the early Anglo-Saxon period has encouraged wide-ranging investigation at both a theoretical and a practical level. This has grown considerably in its sophistication aided by the availability of high quality, accessible data, and the increasing use of computers to manipulate that data. Historians of the Anglo-Saxon period have also tackled the subject and, given that among the principal sources are the earliest law-codes and regnal lists, have been predominantly concerned with the origins of institutions. For the archaeologist, interest has been in the social organisation of society at all levels, the expression of individual identity, how individuals may have formed a hierarchy, the structure of communities and the formation of the kingdoms.