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Barrows and buildings, ditches and dwellings : the appropriation of prehistoric monuments in early to middle Anglo-Saxon settlements.

Crewe, Vicky A (2011) Barrows and buildings, ditches and dwellings : the appropriation of prehistoric monuments in early to middle Anglo-Saxon settlements. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The appropriation of prehistoric monuments in the early to middle Anglo-Saxon period is a phenomenon that has been studied by archaeologists for some decades. Prehistoric earthworks were reused as the foci for burial, as the locations of churches and pre-Christian shrines, and as places of political assembly. As such, a variety of theories have been put forward regarding the meanings of these landscape features and their significance amongst communities in Anglo-Saxon England. What is striking is that fifth- to ninth-century settlements have not featured in these discussions. There are a few exceptions, the most notable being Richard Bradley's (1987) reassessment of the 'palace' site of Yeavering. However, these studies have often led to the assumption that monument reuse in settlements was out of the ordinary, and restricted to late sixth- and seventh century high-status sites. In order to redress the balance, this thesis has reviewed the Anglo-Saxon settlement evidence from central England, demonstrating that monument appropriation did take place in settlements between the fifth and the ninth centuries. It has revealed that a variety of prehistoric monuments were reused, including Bronze Age round barrows and iron Age hillforts, and that this reuse could take a number of different forms. The study has also examined the religious and socio-political meanings of monument appropriation in settlement contexts. This has indicated that the practice may well have been one element in an early Anglo-Saxon 'catalogue' of religious practices. Furthermore, it has shown that reuse was already associated with the demonstration of authority in the early Anglo-Saxon period. As a result, it is now possible to suggest that the phenomenon was adopted on high-status elite settlements such as Yeavering precisely because it was already a recognisable and potent motif of power and ideological belief amongst communities over whom newly-emerged elites were claiming authority.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.531205
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2016 10:37
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2016 10:37
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10375

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