An Anglo-Saxon Execution Cemetery at Walkington Wold, Yorkshire

An Anglo-Saxon Execution Cemetery at Walkington Wold, Yorkshire

By J.L. Buckberry and D.M. Hadley

Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 26, No. 3 (2007)

Abstract: This paper presents a re-evaluation of a cemetery excavated over thirty years ago at Walkington Wold in east Yorkshire. The cemetery is characterised by careless burial on diverse alignments, and by the fact that most of the skeletons did not have associated crania. The cemetery has been variously described as being the result of an early post-Roman massacre, as providing evidence for a ‘Celtic’ head cult or as an Anglo-Saxon execution cemetery. In order to resolve the matter, radiocarbon dates were acquired and a re-examination of the skeletal remains was undertaken. It was confirmed that that cemetery was an Anglo-Saxon execution cemetery, the only known example from northern England, and the site is set into its wider context in the paper.

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