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Burial, Ritual And Merovingian Society

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Chapter Summary

In this essay, the author deals with the first of Paxtons problems, the relationship between mortuary remains and ritual behavior, there are greater grounds for optimism, and it is on this subject that some ideas will be proposed. The paper is grounded primarily in the data of the Merovingian region of Metz. The relevant evidence almost exclusively comprises archaeological data: burials with grave-goods. Previous interpretations of grave-goods have been unsatisfactory because they have failed to take the performative, ritual aspects of the practice into account. Recognition of the performative and ritual aspects of furnished burial, and of the way in which material culture is employed as heightened ritual language, creating, and being created by, social categorization. And in that dynamic for change lie important aspects of the ways in which early medieval society itself changed. Merovingian rituals were not static and neither was Merovingian society.

Keywords: burial; cemetery; display; evidence; grave-goods; Merovingian society; ritual



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