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Memories of migration? The ‘Anglo-Saxon’ burial costume of the fifth century AD

  • James M. Harland (a1)


It is often claimed that the mortuary traditions that appeared in lowland Britain in the fifth century AD are an expression of new forms of ethnic identity, based on the putative memorialisation of a ‘Germanic’ heritage. This article considers the empirical basis for this assertion and evaluates it in the light of previously proposed ethnic constructivist approaches. No sound basis for such claims is identified, and the article calls for the development of new interpretative approaches for the study of early medieval mortuary archaeology in Britain.

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