cemetery (assuming it was in one), as well as the orientation of the grave and its relationship with earlier graves and the use of markers, feature or structures, the inclusion of objects, the dress a person wore, how they were positioned and whether they were alone. The mortuary party also dictated the length of the mortuary event, the stories told, and how the person was remembered. These decisions were directed by the participants and influenced by their approaches and attitudes, and so each event was the result of the contemporary societal context created by such
Each early Anglo-Saxon cemetery was unique, the product of multiple agents working at different times, in different spaces and with different visions. Each grave was the end result of a funeral situated within specific chronological and community circumstances, influenced by social agents and their relationships to the deceased and to each other. In many ways each grave was the product of both a social context and of interpersonal relationships. Inhumation graves were cut into the soil and cremation pyres were built by hand. Together some participants had to
complex product of multiple agents working at different times. Each grave was the end result of a funeral designed by multiple architects working within specific chronological and personal circumstances and influenced by social agents which extended across peopled landscapes. At the graveside, funeral participants negotiated the details of a burial through participation. Part of this negotiation included decisions about the deceased’s place within the contemporary community narrative – a choice was made to maintain or reject an existing epitome – and this negotiation
themselves change. This persona depends on participants who make sense of the world around them though a matrix of semiotics expressed as conceptual, material and physical cultures consumed within social life and through communication. The result is a way of perceiving difference and creating similarities that identify, define or create networks between people and communities, but also utilises material things, visual processes and language in the expression of those relationships. In short, people use a combination of mythology, material culture and speech to construct
rituals is to view funerals as staged events with active participants (Price, 2010 ). Each episode would have been different. Different people would have attended each funeral, depending on who was alive to be present at any one chronological point, and different people would have contributed to each funeral to degrees that were dictated by membership of a particular social group (Sayer, 2010 ). So, while we might see each cemetery as a single site and plausibly the product of a single community, it was also the result of various events at different times that
plots. For the most part, mortuary practice at Dover Buckland seems to have standardised in the middle- to later-seventh century after two phases of complex and colourful plurality. However, we should not get too distracted by notions of religious change; although important, these later-seventh-century graves were surrounded by the barrows and burials of their pagan ancestors in a location that would have been visually evident for hundreds of years.
Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries were mutable, dynamic places and each burial saw participants negotiate
categories. As a result, we might question if this is a real variation or an artefact of preservation bias across the site. However, it remains important and especially so as it was a characteristic also seen at Apple Down. At these sites, there was a statistical correlation between the active inclusion with a weapon within the mortuary context, and physical change to the body. At Apple Down, non-participant males were larger ( Chapter 1 and above), whereas at Deal the males found with weapon graves were exposed to greater risk of physical injury or joint disease