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Contribution to Book
On display: envisioning the early Anglo-Saxon dead
Mortuary Practices & Social Identities in the Middle Ages: Essays in Burial Archaeology in Honour of Heinrich Härke (2009)
  • Howard M. R. Williams, University of Chester
Abstract

A variety of images are employed in the archaeological interpretation of past mortuary practices, including plans, sections, photographs and artists’ reconstructions of graves and funerary scenes. Addressing early Anglo-Saxon furnished inhumation graves, I argue that the role of images in archaeological interpretations requires both greater recognition and critical appraisal in the archaeology of death and burial. The paper questions an exclusive focus on early Anglo-Saxon furnished inhumation graves as symbolic texts and visual displays because this view is overdependent upon a snapshot impression of funerals as static displays derived from archaeological conventions of grave-recording and perpetuated in many artists’ and museums’ reconstructions of graves and funerals. The relationships between images of early Anglo-Saxon graves and modern perceptions of death and mortality are also appraised.

Keywords
  • images,
  • graves,
  • early medieval,
  • mortuary practice,
  • envisioning
Disciplines
Publication Date
2009
Editor
Duncan Sayer and Howard Williams
Publisher
University of Exeter Press
Citation Information
Howard M. R. Williams. "On display: envisioning the early Anglo-Saxon dead" ExeterMortuary Practices & Social Identities in the Middle Ages: Essays in Burial Archaeology in Honour of Heinrich Härke (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/howard_williams/46/