The ritualization of domestic life

Helena Hamerow

in Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199203253
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741760 | DOI:

Series: Medieval History and Archaeology

The ritualization of domestic life

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter begins by considering how the relationship of settlements and cemeteries changed from the early Anglo-Saxon period, characterized by long-lived communal cemeteries, to the establishment in the Mid Saxon period of small, short-lived burial grounds within pre-existing settlements. It is argued that the changing relationship to dead ancestors that this reflects is linked to new forms of land use which were themselves a response to the demands of regular surplus extraction. The proximity of settlements and cemeteries may, in this light, be seen as a means of strengthening claims to landed resources. The second half of the chapter examines so-called ‘placed deposits’, the remnants of closure rituals associated with buildings and boundaries. Finally, the evidence for ritual structures and the association of some settlements with prehistoric monuments is considered.

Keywords: ritual; placed deposits; burials in settlements; ritual structures

Chapter.  10923 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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