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Burial practices in Northern England c A.D.650-850 : A bio-cultural approach.

Craig, Elizabeth Flora (2010) Burial practices in Northern England c A.D.650-850 : A bio-cultural approach. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Traditionally, two horizons have been identified in the funerary archaeology of the middle Anglo-Saxon period (c. A.D. 650-850): the cessation of apparently pagan practices and the beginning of churchyard burial. However, it is increasingly apparent that churchyard burial did not become the norm until the lOth century, and that the preceding period is characterised by a diverse range of funerary practices and burial locations that have scarcely begun to be understood. This thesis investigates the funerary rites of cemeteries dating to c. A.D. 650-850 from northern England. First, a corpus of cemeteries from the region and period of study was collected, and the funerary rites that characterise them described. A variety of different cemeteries, and a range of different practices relating to the form of the grave, position of the body and the provision of grave elaborations or grave goods were identified. The funerary practices of middle Anglo-Saxon England are conventionally summarised by the ''final phase" model, but when considered in light of evidence from northern sites, the model was found to be too restrictive to accurately reflect the true variability of burial rites that characterise northern cemeteries. Second, in order to investigate funerary rites further, a bio-cultural case-study of burial practices at six major cemeteries was undertaken (Adwick-le-Street; Ailcy Hill, Ripon; Norton Bishopsmill School; Pontefract; Spofforth; and Thwing). This integrated evidence from funerary rites with osteological data regarding age at death, biological sex, health and lifestyle, in order to investigate the provision of burial practices at these cemeteries. This study revealed several significant patterns in the identities of individuals afforded certain forms of burial, and particularly, individuals afforded burial in certain locations within the cemetery. The study concludes by presenting a wider context for these patterns in relation to the funerary rites of early medieval Britain.

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.521889
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2016 11:32
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2016 11:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15071

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