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date: 17 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article describes how the archaeology of early Anglo-Saxon religion can contribute to the understanding of variety within a pre-Christian world-view where many elements were shared by societies across the North Sea and Baltic. Evidence for paganism in Old English place-names has been traditionally used to reconstruct the topography of belief in early Anglo-Saxon England. The symbolic use of animals is one of the most visible aspects of early Anglo-Saxon religion. There has been increasing interest in the mutability of Anglo-Saxon paganisms in response to religious systems within Britain. As with the earlier Anglo-Saxon migration, religion was intimately associated with identity. Early Anglo-Saxon religion can be understood on many levels, with variation arising as a result of local responses to changing social and political situations; however, for archaeologists the most visible indicators of Anglo-Saxon spirituality are in the symbolic roles played by animals.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon paganisms, Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon religion, North Sea, Baltic, animals, Anglo-Saxon spirituality, migration

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