Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages
Clothing, jewelry, animal remains, ceramics, coins, and weaponry are among the artifacts that have been discovered in graves in Gaul dating from the fifth to eighth century. Those who have unearthed them, from the middle ages to the present, have speculated widely on their meaning. This authoritative book makes a major contribution to the study of death and burial in late antique and early medieval society with its long overdue systematic discussion of this mortuary evidence. Tracing the history of Merovingian archaeology within its cultural and intellectual context for the first time, Effros exposes biases and prejudices that have colored previous interpretations of these burial sites and assesses what contemporary archaeology can tell us about the Frankish kingdoms.
Working at the intersection of history and archaeology, and drawing from anthropology and art history, Effros emphasizes in particular the effects of historical events and intellectual movements on French and German antiquarian and archaeological studies of these grave goods. Her discussion traces the evolution of concepts of nationhood, race, and culture and shows how these concepts helped shape an understanding of the past. Effros then turns to contemporary multidisciplinary methodologies and finds that we are still limited by the types of information that can be readily gleaned from physical and written sources of Merovingian graves. For example, since material evidence found in the graves of elite families and particularly elite men is more plentiful and noteworthy, mortuary goods do not speak as directly to the conditions in which women and the poor lived.
The clarity and sophistication with which Effros discusses the methods and results of European archaeology is a compelling demonstration of the impact of nationalist ideologies on a single discipline and of the struggle toward the more pluralistic vision that has developed in the post-war years.
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2 MODERN ASSESSMENTS OF MEROVINGIAN BURIAL
3 GRAVE GOODS AND THE RITUAL EXPRESSION OF IDENTITY
CEMETERIAL TOPOGRAPHY AND COMMUNITY HIERARCHY
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Adelsgra¨ber Anglo-Saxon anthropological antiquarian archaeological arche´ologique artifacts Audun-le-Tiche Bernard de Montfaucon Bonnie Effros brooches burial buried Cambridge Carolingian Charente-Maritime Childeric’s Christian church cimetie`re me´rovingien Civaux contemporary culture custom d’arche´ologie d’histoire dead deceased deposition difﬁcult E´ditions E´tude early medieval Gaul elite ethnic evidence excavated ﬁfth ﬁg ﬁnds ﬁrst fra¨nkische Franc¸oise France Frankish Fre´nouville Fremersdorf fu¨r fune´raire funerary Fustel de Coulanges Gallo-Roman Gaul Germania Germanic Gustaf Kossinna Guy Halsall historical identiﬁed identity inﬂuence inhumations interred Krefeld-Gellep l’e´poque Late Antiquity late seventh Lavoye Lindenschmit located Martin Carver Maurists me´rovingienne Merovingian Merovingian mortuary Merovingian period meters mortuary Mortuary Practices moyen aˆge Muse´e Museum ne´cropole necropoleis objects pagan Paris Patrick Pe´rin Pilet population reﬂected Reihengra¨berfeld remains ritual Roman row grave cemeteries royal Saint-Denis saints sarcophagi scholars se´pultures sepulchers Settlement and Social seventh century sie`cle signiﬁcant Social Organization Socie´te speciﬁc Steuer stone Sutton Hoo symbolic tombs traditions University Press Verlag Walter Pohl weaponry Werner