Dr Andy Russel (Southampton City Council Archaeology Unit)
Medieval Southampton was the major port on the south coast during the medieval period. The town had no industry, the main trade was exporting wool and importing wine, but goods from the known world arrived in the ships of many nations on Southampton’s quays to be sent out across England or on into Europe. The merchant’s built themselves stone houses around the sea shore and vaults beneath their houses for storage, the king stored and taxed the wine through Southampton’s castle, and both the houses and the castle can still be visited. The series of Port Books and local tax records allow us to reconstruct the trade and investigate the lives and business networks of the families who lived here, and the numerous archaeological digs allow us to handle the goods themselves.