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Anglo-Saxon Plant Name Survey (ASPNS): Ninth Annual Report, January 2008

Dr. C. P. Biggam, Director of ASPNS, University of Glasgow

ASPNS has acquired a new author, Amy Wright, an independent scholar currently living in The Netherlands, who has carried out lexical semantic research in Latin and Greek. We look forward to her new project which is likely to be an investigation into Old English words for the cucumber.

The draft version of the new ASPNS book has received a positive response from the publisher who received it, and further editing will now follow, based on the suggestions of the academic reviewer.

The big event for ASPNS members in 2007 was the Second ASPNS Symposium, entitled "Anglo-Saxon Plants and their Names," held in the Karl Franzen's University of Graz, Austria from June 6–10, 2007. Our host was Prof. Dr Peter Bierbaumer. The symposium was held in the Department of English Studies (Institut für Anglistik) where the delegates experienced splendid hospitality and some most enlightening papers. The lectures were as follows (in order of presentation):

  • Antonette diPaolo Healey, University of Toronto: "Perplexities with Plant-Names in the Dictionary of Old English"
  • Inge Milfull, Oxford University Press: "Pulege and Psyllium: Old English Plant-Names in the Oxford English Dictionary"
  • Eric Stanley, Pembroke College, Oxford: "'The Cedar Tree that is in Lebanon Even Unto the Hyssope that Springeth Out of the Wall'"
  • Ann van Arsdall, University of New Mexico: "Exploring what was Understood by Mandragora in Anglo-Saxon England"
  • Maria Amalia D'Aronco, University of Udine: "For a New Edition of the Old English Herbal and Medicina de Quadrupedibus"
  • Carole Biggam, University of Glasgow: "Another Anglo-Saxon Prickly Shrub—or Is It the Same One?"
  • Della Hooke, Birmingham: "Trees in Anglo-Saxon Charters: some Uncertainties"
  • Helmut Klug and Roman Weinberger, University of Graz: "OEPN Go Cyber: the Technical Aspects of the Dictionary of Old English Plant-Names Project"
  • Hans Sauer and Ulrike Krischke, University of Munich; Peter Bierbaumer and Helmut Klug, University of Graz: "The Dictionary of OE Plant-Names"

As can be seen from the programme, a highlight of the symposium was to learn about the progress of the Dictionary of Old English Plant-Names which is progressing very well. The three volumes of Old English plant-names published by Peter Bierbaumer in the 1970s form the core of this project, but it contains state-of-the-art search facilities, and additions such as bibliographic references and illustrations. The web-site of the project is at http://oldenglish-plantnames.uni-graz.at/.

Peter Bierbaumer and his fellow organizers of the symposium also made sure that the delegates enjoyed a splendid social programme which included a guided tour of Graz, a visit to the Manuscripts Department of the University Library, a wonderful evening in the Botanical Gardens of Graz, a visit to the wine-growing region of southern Styria (including a modest amount of imbibing), and a stunning day at the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, with a special introduction to the medieval manuscripts in the monastery's library.

ASPNS received and answered various queries and requests concerning plant-names during 2007. They came from the Dictionary of Old English, the Dictionary of Old English Plant-Names, the Oxford English Dictionary, and members of the British public.

Thanks is once more due to the Department of English Language and the Institute for the Historical Study of Language, University of Glasgow, for help and support.


Plant-Related Publications by ASPNS Members

  • Biggam, C. P., "Anglo-Saxon Plant Name Survey (ASPNS): Eighth Annual Report, January 2007," Old English Newsletter 40.3 (2007), 27.
  • Biggam, C. P., "Anglo-Saxon Plant-Names--How Can They Be Elucidated?," Contexts of English in Use, Past and Present: a Festschrift for Peter Bierbaumer on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of his Career at the University of Graz, edited by Margit Reitbauer, Nancy Campbell, Sarah Mercer and Renate Vaupetitsch (Vienna: Braumüller, 2007), 27-37.
  • Hall, Allan R., co-author of the following chapters in Dobney, Keith, Deborah Jaques, James Barrett and Cluny Johnstone, Farmers, Monks and Aristocrats: the Environmental Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon Flixborough, Excavations at Flixborough 3 (Oxford: Oxbow, 2007):

- Chapter 3: "Chronology, Residuality, Taphonomy and Preservation," 19-35.

- Chapter 4: "The Nature of the Bioarchaeological Assemblages," 36-58.

- Chapter 5: "Landscape and Environment," 59-69.

- Chapter 6: "Patterns of Disposal and Processing," 70-115.

- Chapter 7: "The Agricultural Economy," 116-89.

- Chapter 8: "Exploitation of Resources and Procurement," 190-212.

  • Hall, Allan R. and J. P. Huntley, A Review of the Evidence for Macrofossil Plant Remains from Archaeological Deposits in Northern England, English Heritage Research Department Report 87/2007. Portsmouth: English Heritage, 2007. (includes Anglo-Saxon).