Landscapes of Governance is a three-year project supported by the Leverhulme Trust bringing archaeology, place-names and written sources together for the first time in a comprehensive national research project. What is more, the project is actively seeking to involve local groups in identifying possible sites and submitting them for inclusion in an on-line database, and several FROGs are already doing so.

Assembly sites were important at many levels of early medieval society – royal, regional, local and urban – and they provided a means whereby royal and official prerogative met with local concerns. Place-names of assembly sites and their associated districts indicate varying origins, in some cases referring to pre-Christian gods, including Woden and Thor, while other terms relate to monuments of earlier ages, such as burial mounds and standing stones. Other meeting-places are named after seemingly mundane features such as crossroads, bridges and settlements.

Only a dozen or so English assembly sites have been investigated through detailed archaeological survey and excavation. Studying meeting-places and their surroundings can reveal much about their relationship to other social functions and places. Form, layout, accessibility and view-shed are among the attributes to be examined by the project.

The research will generate a range of publications and a comprehensive web-based resource (the ‘Online Anderson’) listing all of the meeting-places of Anglo-Saxon England. Resources designed to enable local groups to become involved by recording assembly places are available on the project website. If you would like to become involved, or would like more information on the project, contact Dr Stuart Brookes.