Time to Take a Rain Check? The Social and Practical Implications of Weather and Seasonality on the Cremation Rite in Early Anglo-Saxon England
Author(s): Kirsty Squires
Cremation was one of the primary funerary rites employed in early Anglo-Saxon England (fifth to seventh century AD). Open-air pyres were used to cremate the dead alongside an array of pyre goods, including personal objects and faunal gifts. The resultant remains were subsequently collected and interred in pottery urns. Despite the fact that this mortuary rite has been subjected to extensive research over recent years, archaeologists often overlook the challenges faced by communities that practiced cremation during this period. Weather and seasonality would have undoubtedly played a major role in the success of an open-air cremation. This paper will explore how early Anglo-Saxon communities dealt with fatalities during winter months and periods of inclement weather. The effects of a death under these circumstances would have impacted populations on a household and communal level. Funeral preparations, interactions between the living, and post-mortem treatment of the dead will each be considered as a means of establishing how communities overcame periods of adversity. An examination of the hardships faced by cremation practicing groups on both a practical and social level can further illuminate how the living interacted, not only with each other, but with the dead in early Anglo-Saxon England.
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Time to Take a Rain Check? The Social and Practical Implications of Weather and Seasonality on the Cremation Rite in Early Anglo-Saxon England. Kirsty Squires. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429256)
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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;
Abstract Id(s): 12157