Death and Memory in Early Medieval Britain
Cambridge University Press, 2006 M08 31
How were the dead remembered in early medieval Britain? Originally published in 2006, this innovative study demonstrates how perceptions of the past and the dead, and hence social identities, were constructed through mortuary practices and commemoration between c. 400–1100 AD. Drawing on archaeological evidence from across Britain, including archaeological discoveries, Howard Williams presents a fresh interpretation of the significance of portable artefacts, the body, structures, monuments and landscapes in early medieval mortuary practices. He argues that materials and spaces were used in ritual performances that served as 'technologies of remembrance', practices that created shared 'social' memories intended to link past, present and future. Through the deployment of material culture, early medieval societies were therefore selectively remembering and forgetting their ancestors and their history. Throwing light on an important aspect of medieval society, this book is essential reading for archaeologists and historians with an interest in the early medieval period.
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Page 1 - Had they made as good provision for their names, as they have done for their relics, they had not so grossly erred in the art of perpetuation. But to subsist in bones, and be but pyramidally extant, is a fallacy in duration. Vain ashes which in the oblivion of names, persons, times, and sexes, have found unto themselves a fruitless continuation, and only arise unto late posterity, as emblems of mortal vanities, antidotes against pride, vain-glory, and madding vices.
Page 1 - ... and teeth, with fresh impressions of their combustion, besides the extraneous substances, like pieces of small boxes, or combs handsomely wrought, handles of small brass instruments, brazen nippers, and in one some kind of opal. Near the same plot of ground, for about six yards...