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Voices from the cemetery: the social archaeology of late medieval burial

Gilchrist, R. ORCID: (2022) Voices from the cemetery: the social archaeology of late medieval burial. Medieval Archaeology, 66 (1). pp. 120-150. ISSN 0076-6097

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00766097.2022.2003610


This article critically reviews the archaeological study of high to late medieval burials (c AD 1000–1550), examining how and why research questions have changed in recent decades. Examples are drawn from Christian mortuary practices principally from Britain, Northern and Central Europe, to demonstrate increasing emphasis on the social study of emotion, agency and place. The question of social ‘value’ is addressed, exploring how disciplinary research agendas respond to altering academic currents and wider public concerns regarding medieval burials. Four themes are examined that characterise key developments: i) a shift towards the micro-scale; ii) the exploration of emotion, with particular focus on child and infant burials; iii) a preoccupation with ‘deviancy’ (non-normative practices); and iv) ethical considerations in the public consumption of medieval burial archaeology. Recommendations for future work include the need for comparative, larger-scale analyses to map diachronic and regional patterns across medieval Europe and to balance recent trends towards the local and the individual.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:102356
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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