Chapter

Modern Assessments of Merovingian Burial

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/9780520232440.003.0003
Modern Assessments of Merovingian Burial

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The nineteenth-century antiquaries who retrieved and evaluated material remains left an indelible imprint on historical and archaeological research by suggesting that scholarly questioning might yield far more than chronologies. Antiquarian scholars have devoted much energy to demonstrating how physical evidence might contribute to the study of religion, political institutions, law, and other customs. The application of artifacts to the description of society was particularly successful in the case of the Merovingian period. Consequently, some early medieval historians began to experiment with the syntheses of written and material sources, incorporating antiquarian methodology to meet historical objectives. However, this development did not result in closer ties among historians, antiquaries, and their heirs, the early archaeologists. The gap indeed between those who worked with documents and amateurs who focused on artifacts grew in the late nineteenth century. Most nineteenth-century scholars resisted an open approach to the sources that required crossing disciplinary boundaries, since such methodology was considered unscientific despite the initial appeal of antiquarian modes of questioning.

Keywords: antiquarian; customs; political institutions; artifacts; antiquaries

Chapter.  19100 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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