Chapter

Antiquaries, Historians, and Archaeologists

Bonnie Effros

in Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232440
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928183 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520232440.003.0002
Antiquaries, Historians, and Archaeologists

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Recent studies have addressed the impact of collecting, archaeological exploration, and the foundation of museums on historical representation and national identity. Posing similar questions to Merovingian archaeology proves very revealing. The opening of tombs specifically promoted the veneration of saints and could secure the status of a particular monastic house, bishopric, or cult center. When clerics disturbed early medieval sepulchers of high-status laypersons in the course of church renovations and translated their remains with comparable ceremonies, their presence also added to the prestige of the churches in which they were located. Some efforts made to resurrect Merovingian graves by the early modern period thus did not necessarily have direct relevance for the religious settings in which they occurred. The decreasing importance of grave sites in the determination of salvation also provided some impetus for the modification of excavating priorities. Popular reform doctrines proposed that the redemption of Christian souls could be accomplished without the intercession of the saints or the prayers of the living.

Keywords: archaeology; bishopric; renovations; doctrines; saints

Chapter.  22316 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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