5 March 2021

All first year pupils at Abingdon School, were privileged enough to see Dr Jeremy Ashbee, from English Heritage, perform a presentation on its use of the term ‘Dark Ages’. This was as a follow up from our polite letters of complaint to the English Heritage team on their misuse of the term. The term refers to the period after the fall of the Roman Empire in 410 AD until the Norman Conquest in 1066 AD. During the presentation, Dr Ashbee talked about how the English Heritage organisation would often use the term ‘Dark Ages’ to describe the time period of buildings and artefacts they own or manage.

We then discussed alternative terms such as Early Middle Ages, Post-Roman and Pre-Conquest, all of which could be somewhat misleading. One novel suggestion was ‘The Age of Invasion’. This would encompass the fall of the Roman Empire, Celts, Viking-raided Saxon territory and so on. We eventually concluded that the period should be split by native origin, which means all sorts of different cultures would be recognised to have existed in England during this time: Celtic, Saxon, Viking, Danish etc. The entire concept was worth addressing and the debate was very intriguing. Overall, I found it an extremely entertaining presentation.

Edmund Kimber
Abingdon School First Year

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