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Preparing Their Deaths: Examining Variation in Co-occurrence of Cremation and Inhumation in Early Medieval England

Author(s): Kathryn Meyers Emery

Year: 2016

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The practice of cremation and inhumation can occur within the same cemetery during the same time period. This co-mingling of burial forms is found throughout Western history from Mesolithic and Neolithic Europe to Ancient Rome and Greece through the Early Medieval Europe and today. Despite its wide chronological and geographic extent, data-driven study of co-occurrence of burial treatments is limited for a number of reasons; the most problematic being the disciplinary perception that cremation is diametrically opposed to inhumation due to the differences in archaeological deposits of each form, which lend themselves to different theoretical and methodological approaches. This paper examines why co-occurrence has been understudied, and potential approaches towards this type of research. Five cemeteries from early medieval England have been selected as case studies since this period offers ample evidence for co-occurrence of cremation and inhumation over two centuries. Through the use of statistical and spatial analysis, variation within and between these two forms of burial treatment are examined and discussed within the broader context of the period. Comparison and discussion of the relationships between inhumation and cremation in early medieval England has the potential to reveal insight into ideological, social, political and economic variability during this period.

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Preparing Their Deaths: Examining Variation in Co-occurrence of Cremation and Inhumation in Early Medieval England. Kathryn Meyers Emery. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403357)


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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America