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Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs

Reynolds, A; (2009) Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs.

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Abstract

© Andrew Reynolds 2009. All rights reserved. This book is the first to investigate how Anglo-Saxon society dealt with social outcasts. The study begins in the period immediately following Roman rule and ends in the century following the Norman Conquest. This period, the 5th to 11th centuries, witnessed the conversion to Christianity, the emergence of the late Saxon state, and the development of the landscape of Domesday Book. While the study of early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries and churchyards of the Christian period is well established, a substantial body of excavated and documented evidence for human burial in a range of other contexts has remained neglected until now. This book thus reveals for the first time a nuanced and varied approach to burial rites in Anglo-Saxon England, particularly relating to individuals cast out from mainstream society. Although impressive written evidence survives, archaeology is uniquely placed to investigate the earliest period of post-Roman society, the 5th to 7th centuries, where documents are lacking and to provide an independent assessment of documented situations in the later part of the period. The landscape setting of unusual human burials provides insights into the chronology of territorial arrangements and how features such as boundaries and pre-existing monuments, such as barrows and linear earthworks, were perceived by the Anglo-Saxons. Overall, the book argues that modes of outcast burial show a clear pattern of development from the pre-Christian centuries, where deviant burials are found only in community cemeteries, to a situation whereby locally determined rites, such as crossroads burial, existed alongside formal measures imposed from the 7th century ad in the context of kingdom formation.

Type: Book
Title: Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs
ISBN-13: 9780199544554
DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544554.001.0001
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/157309
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