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date: 07 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article outlines the current approaches to age in early Anglo-Saxon archaeology, before presenting several case studies that demonstrate the complexity of this identity, and the value of it to the understanding of social organization during the later fifth and sixth centuries. An analysis of three cemeteries from Kent, Saxon Wiltshire, and Anglian Northumbria is presented to test whether a community's cultural identity had a bearing on age structure. It has shown that the burial rite is linked to an individual's age and that grave goods are the most visible aspect in the articulation of this social identity. In each cemetery, gender becomes a feature of the life course for certain individuals, especially the expression of a feminine identity. The study has shown that one should always be aware of the context-specific nature of age organization.

Keywords: childhood, Anglo-Saxon archaeology, feminine identity, age organization, social identity, Kent, Saxon Wiltshire, Anglian Northumbria, burial rite, grave goods

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