English wic sites seem to be at the apex of a hierarchy of middle-Saxon period (c.AD 650–850) manufacturing and trading sites, and part of a wider continental and Scandinavian pattern. Both individually and collectively, they have been the subject of a growing body of reports, analysis and speculation, particularly over the last two decades. An important initial synthesis was Martin Biddle’s contribution on Towns’ in the 1976 benchmark study, The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England. 1 There, in a section entitled ‘The rise of the Anglo-Saxon town’, he discussed what were described as ‘coastal or riverine trading and industrial centres of the seventh century and later’. The claims of some places, particularly Lundenwic (London) and Eoforwic (York), to fulfil this definition rested, in 1976, not upon archaeological remains but upon documentary sources, principally charters and the writings of Bede and Alcuin. These texts mention trading rights, and the presence of ships and merchants, and describe the sites by a variety of terms including mercimonium and emporium.