Migration, Monuments, and Memory in Fifth-Century Britain

Author(s): Janet Kay

Year: 2018


The fifth century in Britain is one of dramatic cultural, social, and economic change, transforming the late-Roman communal landscape into one dominated by Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. These changes have often been attributed to the collapse of the Roman Empire or the arrival of immigrants from the continent. This paper uses ArcGIS, isotopic studies, and multivariate statistics to investigate the relationship between where people came from, where they chose to bury their dead, and what they sent with them. My preliminary analysis of data from more than 9,000 burials in over 100 cemetery populations indicates that changes in burial practices were the result of a larger shift from a society based upon Britain’s relationship with the Roman Empire to one based upon its local communities, whether composed of natives, or newcomers, or both. No matter where people came from, no two communities reacted to the upheaval of the fifth century in the same way, and there were no monolithic or universal ways of relating the past to the present and future. New practices appeared, and old practices continued, some of which were better suited to some fifth-century inhabitants of Britain than others.

Cite this Record

Migration, Monuments, and Memory in Fifth-Century Britain. Janet Kay. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442708)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -13.711; min lat: 35.747 ; max long: 8.965; max lat: 59.086 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20991