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Commentary Four: Ritual And Commemoration

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Chapter Summary

The first Merovingian cemetery the author analysed was the sixth-century site at Ennery (Moselle), which yielded some very interesting and surprising results, but at the next site he was able to study, the seventh-century cemetery of Audun-le-Tiche (Moselle), analysis produced depressingly different, sometimes flatly contradictory, patterns. In the case of northern Gaul, one would need to accept the functional survival of a municipal institution through a long period of urban decline and dereliction, only to be abandoned at the point where the fortunes of towns began to recover. Frans Theuws analyses of burials have similarly stressed the importance of the interchange of the identity of the deceased, the creators of the funerary rite and the audience of the funeral in creating meaning. The persistence of the classical tradition of town-foundation as a means of political commemoration manifests similar desire to inscribe identity on the landscape in monumental fashion.

Keywords: burial custom; commemoration; Merovingian cemetery; Moselle; northern Gaul; seventh-century cemetery



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