Overview: The Body and Life Course

Sally Crawford

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Overview: The Body and Life Course

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  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology


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The focus of Part VII of this book is on the relationship between the lived experience of the individual explored through the study of the biological body, and the material culture framework within which the body exists. It also investigates the links between the scientific analysis of skeletal material, how that analysis provides readings for social interpretation, and the tensions inherent in drawing together scientific and social approaches to the body. Burial practices, bodies, and associated objects are linked to the lived experience of people within society, and the relationship between the physical and social body as it is manifested both in the physical body itself, and in the objects which mediate the constantly negotiated social identity of the individual. The description of inert (often literally dead) bodies is being replaced by analyses of the production and experience of lived bodies, in which surface and interior are no longer separated.

Keywords: life course; biological body; material culture; skeletal material; burial practices; social body; social identity

Article.  7079 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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