Anglo-Saxons honored their dead with mundane household objects

March 25th, 2008 - 3:53 pm ICT by admin  

London, March 25 (ANI): A new research conducted by an international expert at the University of Chester in UK, has determined that the ancient Anglo-Saxons honored their dead with mundane household objects.

This research rejects the popular perception that the early Anglo-Saxons would mark death with grandiose gestures.

According to Dr Howard Williams, senior lecturer in archaeology, University of Chester, who had conducted the research, it was more modest items which were particularly important to those in the fifth and sixth centuries.

Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, Germanic groups colonised and interacted with native Britons in Southern and Eastern England.

The widespread adoption of cremation practices among some communities heralded a new strategy for the display of social identities and the commemoration of the dead.

The latest discoveries from cemeteries show that portable and quite modest artefacts, such as carefully wrought combs made of deer antler, and small tweezers, shears and razors made of iron or bronze, were of clear importance in the commemoration of the dead, said Williams.

Some of the objects were miniatures especially made for the funeral, and many were deliberately broken, with only a portion interred in the cinerary urns, with the rest perhaps kept as mementoes for the living, he added.

According to Williams, Combs, tweezers, shears and razors were objects intimately connected with the presentation of the body in life, and so placing them with the dead was a way for pagan Anglo-Saxons to create continued bonds with their ancestors following the spectacle of open-air cremation.

It reveals a belief that the dead in pagan Anglo-Saxon society retained a physical presence even after being reduced to ashes, he added. (ANI)

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