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Duncan Sayer

with material culture: a spear placed in a grave or an heirloom brooch (Williams, 2007 ). Narratives can also take place at different scales using material and spatial foundations: burial under a mound, next to a partner, child, parent, grandparent or important person. As a result cemeteries are multi-generational histories, spatial representations of how a community described itself internally and to others. And, like other histories, dominant narratives were reinterpreted as each generation created its own discourses. Consequently, each cemetery is the unique and

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
Duncan Sayer

Introduction As archaeologists working in contemporary theoretical paradigms, we tend to look for the individual through discourses and cultural performances around personhood, material culture, gender or age (Fowler, 2004 ; Lucy, 1997 ; Martin, 2014 ; Felder, 2015 ). In part this research priority is driven by a twenty-first century perspective, which focuses on social questions through a lens of contemporary individualism. However, the individual may not always have been created within this frame. Who is the individual within a historic lineage, a large

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
Duncan Sayer

social agents operating at multiple scales and within an existing and predefined space. Cemetery aesthetic was a mnemonic device used locally to communicate at a cultural level; it provided the physical space to support narrative discourse and provides a unique resource for archaeological investigation. But these structures were not just used to divide up contemporary space; as we saw at Deal, cemeteries were a palimpsest of overwriting, where each generation reinterpreted the space for their own ends. Gravegoods, cemetery space and burial ritual were a physical

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
Duncan Sayer

used locally to communicate at a cultural level; it provided the physical space to support the narrative discourse of a particular community, and even though each space and each narrative was different it is likely that people from different communities, near or far, would have understood the messages and narratives embedded there. To these unfamiliar participants some aspects of the site would seem outlandish, even alien, while others would have been familiar or even comforting. Within early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, materials and spaces had multiple meanings, and

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries