princely wealth and power. Despite his interpretation of the site as a chieftain's court (llys), Alcock repeats here his 1962 criticisms of a working hypothesis on the same theme published by the present reviewer in 1961. This argued that the construction of the 'hall' within Dinorben hill fort, like that of the incompletely fortified Little Woodbury of the Early Iron Age and the medieval courts of Wales, was made possible by an old- established organization of the labour services of groups of bond hamlets, whose occupants practised mixed farming. Alcock, however, characterises later bond hamlets as predominantly arable units and conveys the impression that, since the farming economy at Dinas Powys in Phase 4 was mixed, bond hamlets could not then have existed. If, instead, he had accepted living village sites within a few miles of the court as possible hamlet sites he could have resolved certain problems posed by Dinas Powys. For example, from the abundant bones of young domestic animals on the site, Alcock concludes that these were selected by age before they reached Dinas Powys, but the reasons for the selection elude him. Medieval surveys, however, record that the bondmen of lowland hamlets, near Welsh hill forts, carried the lord's victuals into the mountains. What more natural than that they should transport young animals, especially as Welsh Law records that the maerdref bondmen were to present the king with young animals whenever he came to the court? If, too, the excavated site at Dinas Powys had been interpreted as a court occupied only in summer, the season of warfare, it would be easier to understand why, at this inconvenient retreat, rubbish dumps, and industrial hearths should so closely adjoin the hall. The squalor of the site, at variance with the princely quality of the finds, is far removed from the splendour of the timbered hall of heroic literature. Appropriately, medieval evidence for Northumbria, which must date back to the centur- ies of Alcock's Phase 4, shows the occupants of lowland bond hamlets constructing not only the lord's permanent curia clausa in the cultivated lowlands but also his enclosed lodges for the hunting season in wild country, and carrying victuals there. These considerations suggest that some of the interpretations coura- geously advanced in this volume at a time when studies of the Dark Ages are in marked flux, will soon need to be modified. Nevertheless, the wealth of evidence presented by the author against a background of informed discussion ensures that this volume will long remain an essential work of reference on the Dark Ages in Western Britain. GLANVILLE R. J. JONES Leeds
This text was generated automatically from the scanned page and has not been checked. Typical character accuracy is in excess of 99%, but this leaves one error per 100 characters.
The National Library of Wales has created and published this digital version of the journal under a licence granted by the publisher. The material it contains may be used for all purposes while respecting the moral rights of the creators.