Statistics in Anglo–Saxon Archaeology
Barnes, C. (2015). Statistics in Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. MSc Dissertation. University of Warwick.
Statistical methods are increasingly finding applications in new disciplines; one area in which interest in such approaches has increased in recent years is archaeology, and in particular, in archaeological studies of Anglo-Saxon England. A question currently under consideration in this field is whether any evidence exists that buildings in settlements dated to the early Medieval period may have been planned according to a perpendicular grid system. Assessment of the features of a site of interest, and any spatial or angular patterns contained therein, has until now typically been carried out by visual appraisal of transcribed site plans. We propose a method by which a JPEG image of an archaeological site of interest may be converted into a set of points representing the locations of post-holes that once formed part of the support of large structures such as walls, buildings and fences. Defining the orientation of the post-holes by the direction in which its nearest neighbour lies, we are able to test objectively whether there is any evidence that larger features share a common orientation, and to assess whether a similar grid orientation is shared globally across multiple regions of the grid, or found only locally in smaller regions.