Old, New, Borrowed, and Buried: Burial Practices in Britain, 350-550 CE


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




The history of fifth-century Britain is too often a narrative of the end of Roman Britain or the beginning of Anglo-Saxon England from texts and chronicles written centuries later. Such approaches neglect the fifth century’s significance as the turning point between these two periods and also the perspectives of people who lived in that period. How did communities cope when the Roman administration collapsed? How did they define themselves in a rapidly changing social and economic landscape? This project examines Britain’s fifth century through burial archaeology, studying the inclusion of grave goods, the reuse or construction of graves and monuments, the relationship between the living community and the cemetery, and the movement of people in Britain. It uses material culture and funerary rites as primary sources to explore how fifth-century communities understood themselves and how invested they were in maintaining connections with their Roman past.