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Title: Buried identities : an osteological and archaeological analysis of burial variation and identity in Anglo-Saxon Norfolk
Author: Williams-Ward, Michelle L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 7285
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2017
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The thesis explores burial practices across all three phases (early, middle and late) of the Anglo-Saxon period (c.450–1066 AD) in Norfolk and the relationship with the identity of the deceased. It is argued that despite the plethora of research that there are few studies that address all three phases and despite acknowledgement that regional variation existed, fewer do so within the context of a single locality. By looking across the whole Anglo-Saxon period, in one locality, this research identified that subtler changes in burial practices were visible. Previous research has tended to separate the cremation and inhumation rites. This research has shown that in Norfolk the use of the two rites may have been related and used to convey aspects of identity and / or social position, from a similar or opposing perspective, possibly relating to a pre-Christian belief system. This thesis stresses the importance of establishing biological identity through osteological analysis and in comparing biological identity with the funerary evidence. Burial practices were related to the biological identity of the deceased across the three periods and within the different site types, but the less common burial practices had the greatest associations with the biological identity of the deceased, presumably to convey social role or status. Whilst the inclusion of grave-goods created the early Anglo-Saxon burial tableau, a later burial tableau was created using the grave and / or the position of the body and an increasing connection between the biological and the social identity of the deceased, noted throughout the Anglo-Saxon period in Norfolk, corresponds with the timeline of the religious transition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anglo-Saxon ; Osteology ; Burial ; Identity ; Sex ; Age ; Inhumation ; Cremation ; Funerary ; Archaeology ; Norfolk