Raising The Dead: The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon Death and Burial
with Dr Richard Hoggett (Heritage Consultant)
at the Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley
on Saturday, 17th November, 2018
Burials constitute a large part of the archaeological record from Anglo-Saxon England, and this study-day uses the rich East Anglian burial record to explore the range of burial rites practised by the Anglo-Saxons. Subjects to be covered include the human skeleton, cremation, inhumation, the use of grave-goods and the impact of Christianity. The day will be illustrated with examples drawn from recent and unpublished excavations, as well as some classic sites.
10.00 – 10.30: Coffee on arrival
10.30 – 11.30: ‘Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones’ – The first session of the day introduces the basics of human osteology, including the identification of bones, and the ageing and sexing of skeletal remains, and presents an overview of East Anglia’s rich Anglo-Saxon burial record.
11.30 – 11.50: Coffee break
11.50 – 12.50: ‘A Well-Urned Rest’: The Cremation Rite – The second session focuses on the cremation rite, which was prevalent in the eastern region and which can be reconstructed in some detail from often very meagre remains. The evidence reveals a technologically complex and resource-heavy rite, which was laden with symbolism.
12.50 – 13.50: Lunch break
13.50 – 14.40: ‘Matters of Grave Importance’: The Inhumation Rite – For the afternoon, the focus moves from cremation to inhumation, and this session takes a detailed look at the social, economic and religious symbolism inherent in the inhumation burial rite, expressed via grave-goods, grave-structures and the landscape setting of cemeteries.
14.40 – 15.00: Tea break
15.00 – 15.50: ‘Getting Cross’: The Impact of Christianity on Burial Rites – The final session looks at the impact of the conversion to Christianity on Anglo-Saxon attitudes towards the dead, and the many different ways in which this is reflected in the East Anglian burial record. In particular, the placement of iconographic objects in graves, and the changing relationship between the living and the dead in Anglo-Saxon society.
c.15.50: Thanks and Close
About Dr Richard Hoggett
Dr Richard Hoggett is a freelance heritage consultant, writer, and lecturer with over 20 years’ experience in the academic, commercial and local authority heritage sectors. He is the author of The Archaeology of the East Anglian Conversion (2010), The Book of Happisburgh (2011) and from 2006–13 was the editor of the peer-reviewed journal Norfolk Archaeology. He is a confident and popular public speaker and has lectured extensively on a wide range of subjects for institutions and organisations throughout the eastern region. In 2016 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
At a previous Study Day by Rik, when asked ‘What was best about the day?‘ people said:
- Excellent, concise, clear presentation
- Delivery was excellent and coverage and range of presentation very enjoyable. Thank You.
- Pleasant ambiance plus speaker with great delivery
- Excellent speaker.
- Rik’s superb presentation
- Very good speaker and useful handouts
- Rick’s breadth of knowledge and superb delivery
- Interesting and engaging speaker
- An excellent, informative day as ever
Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading:
- Brothwell, D. 1981. Digging Up Bones, 3rd ed. London.
- Mays, S., 2010. The Archaeology of Human Bones. 2nd ed. London.
- White, T. and Folkens, P. 2005. The Human Bone Manual. London.
- Carver, M.O.H. 2005. Sutton Hoo: A Seventh-Century Princely Burial Ground and its Context. London.
- Fern, C. 2015. Before Sutton Hoo: the Prehistoric Remains and Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Tranmer House, Bromeswell, Suffolk. East Anglian Archaeology 155. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1277
- Filmer-Sankey, W. and Pestell, T. 2001. Snape Anglo-Saxon Cemetery: Excavations and Surveys 1824–1992, East Anglian Archaeology 95. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1218
- Green, B., Rogerson, A. and White, S. 1987. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Morning Thorpe, Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology 36. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1159
- Hills, C. & Lucy, S. 2013. The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham, vol. 9. Cambridge.
- Lucy, S., Tipper, J. & Dickens, A. 2009. The Anglo-Saxon Settlement and Cemetery at Bloodmoor Hill, Carlton Colville, Suffolk. East Anglian Archaeology 131. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1253
- McKinley, J. 1994. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part VIII: The Cremations. East Anglian Archaeology 69. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1192
- Penn, K. 2000. Excavations on the Norwich Southern Bypass, 1989–91 Part II: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Harford farm, Markshall, Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology 92. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1215
- Penn, K. 2011. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Shrubland Hall Quarry, Coddenham, Suffolk. East Anglian Archaeology 139. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1261
- Penn, K. and Brugmann, B. 2007. Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Inhumation Burial: Morning Thorpe, Spong Hill, Bergh Apton and Westgarth Gardens, East Anglian Archaeology 119. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1241
- Tester, A., Anderson, S., Riddler, I. and Carr, R. 2014. Staunch Meadow, Brandon, Suffolk: A High Status Middle Saxon Settlement on the Fen Edge. East Anglian Archaeology 151. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1273
- The SHARP Team. 2014. Digging Sedgeford: A People’s Archaeology. Cromer.
- Walton Rogers, P. 2013. Tyttel’s Halh: The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Tittleshall, Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology 150. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1272
- West, S. 1987. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Westgarth Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. East Anglian Archaeology 38. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eaa/contents.cfm?volume_id=1161