Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs

Paperback | October 31, 2014

byAndrew Reynolds

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Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs is the first detailed consideration of the ways in which Anglo-Saxon society dealt with social outcasts. Beginning with the period following Roman rule and ending in the century following the Norman Conquest, it surveys a period of fundamental social change,which included the conversion to Christianity, the emergence of the late Saxon state, and the development of the landscape of the Domesday Book.While an impressive body of written evidence for the period survives in the form of charters and law-codes, archaeology is uniquely placed to investigate the earliest period of post-Roman society - the fifth to seventh centuries - for which documents are lacking. For later centuries, archaeologicalevidence can provide us with an independent assessment of the realities of capital punishment and the status of outcasts.Andrew Reynolds argues that outcast burials show a clear pattern of development in this period. In the pre-Christian centuries, "deviant" burial remains are found only in community cemeteries, but the growth of kingship and the consolidation of territories during the seventh century witnessed theemergence of capital punishment and places of execution in the English landscape. Locally determined rites, such as crossroads burial, now existed alongside more formal execution cemeteries. Gallows were located on major boundaries, often next to highways, always in highly visible places.The findings of this pioneering national study thus have important consequences on our understanding of Anglo-Saxon society. Overall, Reynolds concludes, organized judicial behaviour was a feature of the earliest Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, rather than just the two centuries prior to the NormanConquest.

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Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs is the first detailed consideration of the ways in which Anglo-Saxon society dealt with social outcasts. Beginning with the period following Roman rule and ending in the century following the Norman Conquest, it surveys a period of fundamental social change,which included the conversion to Christianit...

Andrew Reynolds is Reader in Medieval Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:340 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 0.68 inPublished:October 31, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198723156

ISBN - 13:9780198723158

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Table of Contents

1. Sources, Approaches, and Contexts2. Burials, Bodies, and Beheadings: Interpretation and Discovery3. Social Deviants in a Pagan Society: the Fifth to Seventh Centuries4. Social Deviants in a Christian World: the Seventh to Eleventh Centuries5. The Geography of Deviant Burial in Anglo-Saxon England6. Themes and Trajectories: the Wider Social ContextAppendix 1. A handlist of Anglo-Saxon law-codes prescribing capital punishment, mutilation, and burial in unconsecrated groundAppendix 2. A handlist of early Anglo-Saxon deviant burialsAppendix 3. A handlist of select burials from execution cemeteriesAppendix 4. A handlist of execution and related sites, and other burial places in Anglo-Saxon charter boundsBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"This scholarly and accessible study, which recognises the stark and often brutal reality of social power and judicial process, is recommended to anyone with an interest in early English society or the evolution of the English landscape." --Chris Scull, British Archaeology