A failure to distinguish archaeology from historiography has led many archaeologists to become over-reliant on the sub-division of British history into periods such as Roman and Anglo-Saxon. Furthermore, the unquestioning use of such normative racial/cultural terms as ‘Roman’ obscures the view of socio-economic change during the Roman period. This paper discusses the end of the Roman Period as part of a continuum of social, political and economic change that refers back at least to the Iron Age and greatly influenced the Anglo-Saxon period. Marxist theory is used to suggest why British society changed so much during the fifth century. The model employed involves three basic revisions to the Marxist explanation of diversity and change: the preeminence of the societal superstructure; greater interaction within and between social classes; and the potential of any individual to promote change.