Plan of the early medieval archaeological site of Yeavering excavated by Brian Hope-Taylor. The concentric trenches and stage of “Building E” are evidenced in green. Immediately to the East of “Building E”, it is possible to see the monumental structures of the main hall. Image from: Hope-Taylor 1977, 47, fig. 12.

Yeavering is located in the Milfied Basin, not far from Thirlings. The area comprises a Mesolithic site, monumental traces from the Bronze Age, an Iron Age hillfort, and archaeological remains of an early medieval settlement extended over a plane ground. This settlement was identified by Norman McCord through aerial photography in 1949 and excavated by Brian Hope-Taylor between 1953 and 1962.

The settlement was dated approximately from 550 CE to 700 CE, and was identified with the villa regia that Bede calls “Adgefrin”. Crowds of the gens Nordanhymbrorum, Bede says, hastened from nearby viculi and loci to be catechised and baptised by bishop Paulinus in the river Glen while queen Aedilberga and king Aeduini were staying in this villa regia. These facts refer to the first half of the 7th century CE. According to Bede, the gens Nordanhymbrorum descended from the Anglians, and their king Aeduini, who reigned over both the provinciae of Bernicia and Deira, was addressed in papal letters as Aeduino rex Anglorum.

The early medieval structures at Yeavering reflect this emerging elite. They are currently being investigated within the project “Yeavering: A Palace in its Landscape” and include a long and narrow monumental timber hall placed between a wooden grandstand and a great enclosure, timber rectangular buildings of various sizes and orientations, and possible traces of sunken-featured buildings. The grandstand – “Building E” – is the object of the present section.

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