Mortuary Practices and Social Identities in the Middle Ages

Edited by Duncan Sayer and Howard Williams

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ISBN: 9780859898317

Publication: November 27, 2009

Series: Exeter Studies in Medieval Europe

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This book sets a new agenda for mortuary archaeology. Applying explicit case studies based on a range of European sites (from Scandinavia to Britain, Southern France to the Black Sea), 'Mortuary Practices and Social Identities in the Middle Ages' fulfills the need for a volume that provides accessible material to students and engages with current debates in mortuary archaeology's methods and theories. The book builds upon Heinrich Härke’s influential research on burial archaeology and early medieval migrations, focusing in particular on his ground-breaking work on the relationship between the theory and practice of burial archaeology. Using diverse archaeological and historical data, the essays explore how mortuary practices have served in the make-up and expression of medieval social identities. Themes explored include masculinity, kinship, ethnicity, migration, burial rites, genetics and the perception of landscape.

Duncan Sayer is lecturer in archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire where his principal interest is in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries and burial archaeology. He is author of 'Ethics and Burial Archaeology' (Duckworth, 2010) and editor of 'The Archaeology of Post-Medieval Religion' (Boydell, 2011).

Howard Williams is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Chester. He has published widely on medieval and mortuary archaeology and is author of 'Death and Memory in Early Medieval Britain' (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Preface – Duncan Sayer and Howard Williams 1. 'Halls of mirrors': death and identity in medieval archaeology - Howard Williams and Duncan Sayer 2. Working with the dead - Robert Chapman 3. Beowulf and British prehistory - Richard Bradley 4. Fighting wars, gaining status: on the rise of Germanic elites - Stefan Burmeister 5. ‘Hunnic’ modified skulls: physical appearance, identity and the transformative nature of migrations - Susanne Hakenbeck 6. Rituals to free the spirit – or what the cremation pyre told - Karen Høilund Nielsen 7.Barrows, roads and ridges – or where to bury the dead? The choice of burial grounds in late Iron-Age Scandinavia - Eva S. Thäte 8. Anglo-Saxon DNA? - Catherine Hills 9. Laws, funerals and cemetery organisation: the seventh-century Kentish family - Duncan Sayer 10. On display – envisioning the early Anglo-Saxon dead - Howard Williams 11. Variation in the British burial rite: AD 400–700 - David Petts 12. Anglo-Saxon attitudes: how should post-AD 700 burials be interpreted? - Grenville Astill 13. Rethinking later medieval masculinity: the male body in death - Roberta Gilchrist Bibilography Index

An engaging and stimulating collection of value for the serious student of the subject.
Christopher Scull   British Archaeology, May/June 2010

Format: Hardback

Size: 173 × 246 mm

320 Pages

ISBN: 9780859898317

Publication: November 27, 2009

Series: Exeter Studies in Medieval Europe

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