By Andrew Reynolds
Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs is the 1st specified attention of the ways that Anglo-Saxon society handled social outcasts. starting with the interval following Roman rule and finishing within the century following the Norman Conquest, it surveys a interval of basic social switch, which integrated the conversion to Christianity, the emergence of the past due Saxon kingdom, and the advance of the panorama of the Domesday publication. whereas a powerful physique of written proof for the interval survives within the kind of charters and law-codes, archaeology is uniquely put to enquire the earliest interval of post-Roman society, the 5th to 7th centuries, for which records are missing. For later centuries, archaeological proof supplies us with an self sufficient evaluate of the realities of capital punishment and the prestige of outcasts. Andrew Reynolds argues that outcast burials express a transparent development of improvement during this interval. within the pre-Christian centuries, 'deviant' burial is still are came across in simple terms in neighborhood cemeteries, however the development of kingship and the consolidation of territories in the course of the 7th century witnessed the emergence of capital punishment and areas of execution within the English panorama. in the neighborhood made up our minds rites, corresponding to crossroads burial, now existed along extra formal execution cemeteries. Gallows have been positioned on significant obstacles, frequently subsequent to highways, consistently in hugely noticeable locations. The findings of this pioneering nationwide learn hence have very important outcomes on our realizing of Anglo-Saxon society. total, Reynolds concludes, geared up judicial habit used to be a function of the earliest Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, instead of simply the 2 centuries sooner than the Norman Conquest.
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Additional info for Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs
British Library MS Cotton Claudius BIV f. 80. © British Library Board. All Rights Reserved) explicit documentation. Pictorial evidence for ordeal is limited, but includes the depiction of a man heating a bar of iron, in a scene also showing a man being whipped, from the earlier eleventh century MS Cotton Claudius BIV, fo. 81 (Fig. 4). Judicial ordeal may be viewed as a guilt-absolving mechanism of the Christian-period judicial system, whereby the decision of guilt or innocence is seen to be made by God and thus complex or otherwise difﬁcult decisions could be taken out of earthly hands, at least in principle.
Robertson 1939, no. 40). Each administrative unit, whether hundred or wapentake (in the Danelaw), possessed a meeting-place where judgements were made on offenders and where matters of local administration were dealt with (Loyn 1984, 141). Meetings seem largely to have been held in the open air at rural locations, marked by mounds, standing stones, bridges, and crossroads amongst other features, although occasional references in the documentary record suggest buildings, and certain meetings took place either at important estate centres or in towns (Meaney 1994, 67).
For example, the sceocera weg (robbers’ way) in the Little Hinton (Wiltshire) bounds of 1047 × 70 (S1588) has been seen as a road frequented by criminals or, more speciﬁcally, as a droveway for stolen cattle (Reaney 1960, 158; Watts 1993, 120). Aldsworth has gone further and suggested that the slahtor weg mentioned in the Crondall (Hampshire) bounds of 973–4 (S820) could be interpreted as ‘slaughter way’, a road leading to a place of execution (Aldsworth 1979, 178). ). The charter evidence is clearly a rich and important source, which provides a landscape dimension and, with critical assessment, reliable dating evidence in many instances.
Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs by Andrew Reynolds