Perceptions of the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon England: Religion, Ritual, and Rulership in the…

Hardcover | November 10, 2013

bySarah Semple

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Perceptions of the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon England represents an unparalleled exploration of the place of prehistoric monuments in the Anglo-Saxon psyche, and examines how Anglo-Saxon communities perceived and used these monuments during the period AD 400-1100. Sarah Semple employsarchaeological, historical, art historical, and literary sources to study the variety of ways in which the early medieval population of England used the prehistoric legacy in the landscape, exploring it from temporal and geographic perspectives. Key to the arguments and ideas presented is the premise that populations used these remains, intentionally and knowingly, in the articulation and manipulation of their identities: local, regional, political, and religious. They recognized them as ancient features, as human creations from a distantpast. They used them as landmarks, battle sites, and estate markers, giving them new Old English names. Before, and even during, the conversion to Christianity, communities buried their dead in and around these monuments. After the conversion, several churches were built in and on these monuments,great assemblies and meetings were held at them, and felons executed and buried within their surrounds. This volume covers the early to late Anglo-Saxon world, touching on funerary ritual, domestic and settlement evidence, ecclesiastical sites, place-names, written sources, and administrative and judicial geographies. Through a thematic and chronologically-structured examination of Anglo-Saxon usesand perceptions of the prehistoric, Semple demonstrates that populations were not only concerned with Romanitas (or Roman-ness), but that a similar curiosity and conscious reference to and use of the prehistoric existed within all strata of society.

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Perceptions of the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon England represents an unparalleled exploration of the place of prehistoric monuments in the Anglo-Saxon psyche, and examines how Anglo-Saxon communities perceived and used these monuments during the period AD 400-1100. Sarah Semple employsarchaeological, historical, art historical, and lite...

Sarah Semple is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Durham University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 0.1 inPublished:November 10, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199683107

ISBN - 13:9780199683109

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations1. The Past in the Past: Perspectives and Approaches2. Monuments, Burial, and Identity: Regional Perspectives on Funerary Reuse3. Ancestral, Spiritual, and Magical? Evidence for pre-Christian attitudes to the prehistoric4. The Circle and the Cross: Medieval Churches and Prehistoric Monuments5. Changing Meanings: Monuments in Literature, Art, and Place-Names6. Royal and Religious Theatre: Monuments and Power in Mid to Late Anglo-Saxon England7. Visions of the Past: The Anglo-Saxons and the Ancient LandscapeAppendicesAbbreviationsBibliographyIndex