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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article presents the argument that mortuary practices were mechanisms for the construction of memories and, in turn, the constitution of identities during the turbulent socio-economic, political, and religious transformations of the fifth and sixth centuries ad. Understanding the mortuary process, variability, and change provide the background from which a fuller exploration of later fifth- and sixth-century cremation and inhumation practices can be based. It is possible to glean elements of the complex mortuary processes associated with inhumation. Graves would have provided a rich display, but not a single tableau, since many artefacts and materials would have successively augmented and concealed the body through its composition and consignment. Mortuary performances provided contexts for creating a sense of historical depth and public affirmation for what may have often been short-lived and experimental social identities and religious systems.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon England, mortuary process, mortuary variability, mortuary change, inhumation, graves, social identities, religious systems

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