In 2006, it was noted that the previous 30 years had produced a considerable amount of new information about the early medieval period, in comparison with the century before (Newman 2006). The importance of radiocarbon dating was stressed as the prime reason for this increase of information, and this has remained so in the last decade, as most of the sites identified have been either recognised or confirmed by scientific dating. The Portable Antiquities Scheme has also produced a huge amount of data, which is now in need of analysis to tease out patterns of settlement. Whilst place-name evidence is still the most prevalent evidence for the period, the steadily growing number of dated sites is reassuring. In addition, types of structures are now beginning to be recognisable, both in the lowland areas and the uplands, and the number of production sites, particularly of iron-working, is growing. The publication of a considerable number of sites is very welcome, as is movement on others. Whilst there is still a long way to go before the corpus of material can rival that of southern and eastern counties, or of at least some other periods in the North West, things are most definitely going in the right direction!

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