History GCSE: Saxon Law - Punishments

Physical evidence of how justice worked in Anglo-Saxon England has been found at the Saxon judicial execution cemetery at Harestock on the outskirts of Winchester.

Archaeologist Andrew Reynolds and lawyer Harry Potter discuss the site's prominent location and how the remains of one of the sixteen skeletons from the site provides evidence of execution by decapitation.

This short film is from the BBC series, The Strange Case of the Law.

Teacher Notes

Students could identify key words while watching this short film.

Why were people executed in such prominent public locations?

What was the purpose of displaying heads on posts?

Why is it important for archaeologists to record every aspect of their excavations?

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching GCSE history and social studies. This topic appears in OCR, AQA, Edexcel, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from The Strange Case of the Law:

Habeas Corpus and Slavery
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Henry II, Thomas Becket and the Church Courts
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John Lilburne and Habeas Corpus
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Saxon Law - Compensation
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Saxon Law - Courts
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Star Chamber and the Rack
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The Bloody Code
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The Conventicle Act of 1664 and the Independence of the Jury
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The Founding of the Police Force
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The Jury
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The Petition of Right and Habeas Corpus
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Saxon Law - Trial by Ordeal
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