Anthropology and Archaeology

Chris Gosden

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

 Anthropology and Archaeology

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  • Archaeology
  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology


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Cultural anthropology and archaeology are allied through common interests in materials, landscapes, and bodies. Both also link into broader forms of cultural theory which are described in this article. The article concentrates on four areas key to contemporary anthropology which might prove to be useful if pursued further by Anglo-Saxonists. These include two broad orientations — relational thought and practice theory — and the two topic areas of materiality and identity. Relational thought stresses change, mutability, and instability. Furthermore, ideas around the material culture of the Anglo-Saxons form a fertile and fast-developing area of debate and these are briefly summarized. Ideas of materiality have an ultimate root in work such as that of Bourdieu, but focusing more fully than he did on the material requirements objects have of the human body. The Roman world offered a set of cultural resources people could draw on to reformulate their identities both before and after incorporation into the Empire.

Keywords: cultural anthropology; archaeology; cultural theory; Anglo-Saxons; materiality; relational thought; practice theory

Article.  10292 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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