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Alban and St Albans: Roman and Medieval Architecture, Art and Archaeology (BAA CONFERENCE TRANSACTIONS SERIES)
by by Martin Henig ; Phillip Lindley
Binding: Hardcover, 288 pages
Publisher: British Archaeological Association
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This lavishly illustrated volume, the transactions of a conference held in the summer of 1999, reviews religious activity at St Albans from the Iron Age until the end of the Middle Ages. For most of the Roman period Verulamium was a major pagan sanctuary, but in Christian times the focus of cult shifted to the site of the later church where it was associated with a Romano British martyr. New evidence considered here ranges from the Biddles' epoch making excavation of the Roman cemetery on the abbey site to a sensational new reconstruction of the early 5th century Passion of Alban by Richard Sharpe. Many contributions review the fabric and fittings of the medieval abbey. Studies of the former include papers on the re use of Roman building materials in the Middle Ages, the Romanesque sculpture of St Albans and its environs, the lost 13th century west front, the Gothic reconstruction of the nave and presbytery and the 14th century timber roof of the central tower. Essays on the fittings of the church include a detailed investigation of a Coptic cross depicted by Matthew Paris and papers on the 12th century Purbeck marble shrine table, the 15th century chantry of Duke Humphrey, and the magnificent great screen of the abbey. The historical aspects of research into St Albans also receive attention and there are papers on subjects as diverse as the late Saxon belief that King Offa refounded the abbey and the attempts of the monks to promote the cult of St Alban in the late Middle Ages, attempts whose tangible results at a popular level are reflected by pilgrim badges of St Alban found at London and elsewhere. Future research into the protomartyr of Britain as well as many other aspects of St Albans' history, archaeology and art will have to start with this volume.
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