The Reuse of ‘Antiques’ in Anglo-Saxon Graves
Paper by Stephen Sherlock
Given at the Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference on December 20, 2017
Abstract: My paper is based upon a study recognising that many societies acquired the symbols and artefacts from earlier communities for a variety of reasons, but something different was happening in the 7th century in Anglo-Saxon England. At this time as Conversion Period cemeteries are being established, a number of high status burials have ancient artefacts placed within the grave. These items do not appear to be heirlooms in that they are over 100 years old so cannot be from a known relative.
Whilst some items are late Roman or early Anglo-Saxon, others are much older and types of jewellery which in some cases be traced back to the Iron Age. Were these curated or items ‘won or stolen’ from earlier sites? At a different level, it is suggested that a type of Iron Age ‘safety pin’ brooch became popular at this time in the mid- 7th century. Some reasons for this will be presented.
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Top Image: The Sutton Hoo Anastasius Dish – photo © The Trustees of the British Museum