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Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs$
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Andrew Reynolds

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199544554

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544554.001.0001

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Burials, Bodies, and Beheadings: Interpretation and Discovery

Burials, Bodies, and Beheadings: Interpretation and Discovery

(p.34) 2 Burials, Bodies, and Beheadings: Interpretation and Discovery
Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs

Andrew Reynolds (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A major problem in the archaeological study of human remains is how to classify and interpret burials either interred in an unusual fashion (face‐down, hands tied, etc.) or found in non‐normative contexts (i.e. without churchyards in the Christian period). There are many possible explanations for such ‘deviant’ burials, and this chapter seeks to provide a careful archaeological consideration of how, for example, murder victims might be distinguished from battle‐ or massacre victims, and in particular, how execution victims and cemeteries might be identified. The chapter examines in detail the nature of previous interpretations and advances a set of archaeologically attested criteria as an aid to future study of ‘deviant’ human remains.

Keywords:   human remains, massacre, battle, execution, murder, cemeteries, burial

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