Such criticisms might seem like nit-picking but they fairly reflect the frustrations encountered in trying to reconstruct the stratigraphy from the evidence provided. Moreover, the line of arguments sometimes left this reviewer stunned due to inconsistency and/or assumption. In the discussion (p. 37) of the all-important building LI, the reader is told that while the building is 'perfectly acceptable as a structure, its floor area of 65 m2 appeared distinctly small for a drinking hall'. In dating the Period 11 rampart 'the deposition of two amphora sherds in the make-up of Rampart E indicates that the ramparts were built in or after the last quarter of the fifth century AD' (p. Ill) because they were deliberately incorporated during construction and were not residual (p. 112). Artefacts dateable to Period 11 were found in the Period 12 Rampart but had to be residual because the latter also contained late Saxon ceramics. It does not necessarily follow that an unabraded sherd has to be in a primary location (pp. 113-14) yet the one and only such sherd of an amphora from one of the features interpreted as part of Building Ll is taken to date the building. The fifth or sixth century AD rim clamp from the field ditch, stratigraphically amongst the latest features in the sequence, is residual. Confidence might be further diminished when the reader notes that on the plan (Illus. 3.3) of the Cadbury 12 S-W gate the left-hand features have been partially erased, moved and re-aligned. The evidence provided does not allow alternative interpretations of the sequence, but its presentation inevitably leads to doubts which detract from the more general conclusions regarding the significance of the data. A wealth of evidence in the form of artefacts, ramparts and structures was recovered in the excavation which is important and stimulating, but given the doubts and ambiguities regarding the phasing and dates of some of these elements it would have been preferable to have a more transparent report through which it was possible to engage in debate regarding the evidence. C.J.ARNOLD Aberystwyth THE FORMATION OF THE MEDIEVAL WEST: STUDIES IN THE ORAL CULTURE OF THE BARBARIANS. By Michael Richter. Blackrock, Co. Dublin: Four Courts Press; New York: St. Martin's Press. Pp. xv, 292. £ 30.00 Michael Richter, now at the University of Konstanz, has had the ideal preparation for writing this book: not only is he thoroughly familiar with German scholarship and with medieval European history, but his time in Wales and Ireland (resulting, among other things, in books on Giraldus
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