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Title: Identity in the Dark Age : a biocultural analysis of early medieval Scotland
Author: Lerwick, Danika C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 3601
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores identity in early mediaeval Scotland (ca 800-1300AD) using biological and burial deposition data. During this period Scotland was developing as a unified kingdom. The Norse, Scots, and Anglo-Saxons battled for political power. The Saxon and Irish Churches were pressuring for superiority over each other and over local beliefs. Many research areas in bioarchaeology have moved away from the more simplistic processual approach after a renewed understanding of the complexities of human existence. However, this newer methodology has not been sufficiently applied to early mediaeval Scottish studies. Common doxa still permeates the discipline despite the lack of critical assessment. Doxa tends to separate the early mediaeval Scottish world into the circumscribed categories of Norse (or ‘Viking’) and native, Christian and pagan. These commonly accepted site designations regarding ethnicity and religion were used to assess three hundred and twenty-one individuals from 21 sites. These individuals were analysed macroscopically for age, sex, stature and limb ratios, craniometrics, joint degeneration and disease, musculo-skeletal stress markers, dental pathologies, and overall health and disease. This data was compared to the available documentation for the sites considering site location, body position, cemetery type, grave enclosures, and grave furnishings. Statistical and qualitative methods were used to compare the data. Results suggest that there are slight differences within the population that may suggest some legitimacy for common site designations; however, the overall conclusion implies caution in the use of oversimplified categorising and a generally egalitarian view of identity for the early mediaeval people in Scotland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Osteology ; Palaeopathology ; Identity ; Viking ; Scot ; Pict ; Early Medieval ; Scotland ; Bioarchaeology