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The Material Culture of the Anglo‐Saxon Church

Elizabeth Coatsworth

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199212149.013.0040

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

The Material Culture of the Anglo‐Saxon Church

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Relatively few textiles or metalwork objects which specifically relate to church function survive. Donations to churches could include textiles originally made for secular use. It might appear to be difficult to distinguish secular from ecclesiastical textiles; in practice, however, the most substantial textile remains from Anglo-Saxon England have all been preserved within ecclesiastical contexts, either tombs or church treasuries. The most famous textile associated with Anglo-Saxon England is the embroidery known as the Bayeux Tapestry. Tiles are rare finds from the pre-Conquest period, all associated with major minsters and cathedrals, from Bury St Edmunds, St Albans, Winchester, and York. Stone sculpture forms the largest category of objects expressing religious observance to have survived, and the greatest majority has survived preserved in and around the fabric of later churches. Sculpture is found in all areas of Anglo-Saxon England, with some famous examples coming from what is now Scotland.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon church; material culture; textiles; metalwork objects; Anglo-Saxon England; Bayeux Tapestry; stone sculpture

Article.  8645 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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