• Rethinking Ethnicity and "Otherness" in Early Anglo-Saxon England

    Author(s):
    James Harland (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Group(s):
    Anglo-Saxon / Old English, Archaeology, Early Medieval, Late Antiquity, Medieval Studies
    Subject(s):
    Classical archaeology, Medieval studies
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6MR1P
    Abstract:
    This article considers a recent critical problematisation of the discussion of ›Otherness‹ in Merovingian archaeology (Halsall 2017), and extends this problematisation to the early mortuary archae- ology of post-Roman/early Anglo-Saxon England. The article first examines the literary goals of Gildas’ De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, and especially its representation of military activity, to reject popular arguments that Gildas’ conceptual framework described the emergence of an authentic, ›post-colonial‹ British ethnic consciousness that was grounded in a conscious rejection of Romanness and separation from a ›Germanic‹, barbarian other. The article then examines the early Anglo-Saxon cemetery of Wasperton, Warwickshire, and rejects previous interpretations of the site, which argue that its inhabitants expressed in burial the ideological demarcation of Romanness from a Germanic ›Other‹. Drawing upon the distinctions made by Gildas between legitimate and illegitimate military authority and the clear use of symbols of military ideology present at the site, the article suggests that such sites instead offer evidence for the material expression of a new military ideology which, though deviant from the normative expectations of civic Romanness, was primarily drawn upon by the inhabitants of early Anglo-Saxon England to make appeals for the inclusion of the deceased as key members of their communities.
    Notes:
    The final publication is available at medieval worlds via http://dx.doi.org/10.1553/medievalworlds_no5_2017s113
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal Article
    Pub. DOI:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1553/medievalworlds_no5_2017s113
    Journal:
    Medieval Worlds
    Volume:
    5
    Start Page:
    113
    End Page:
    142
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 weeks ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

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