• Animals, Identity and Cosmology: Mortuary Practice in Early Medieval Eastern England

      Bond, Julie M.; Buckberry, Jo; Rainsford, Clare E. (University of BradfordSchool of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, 2017)
      The inclusion of animal remains in funerary contexts was a routine feature of Anglo-Saxon cremation ritual, and less frequently of inhumations, until the introduction of Christianity during the 7th century. Most interpretation has focused either on the animal as symbolic of identity or as an indication of pagan belief, with little consideration given to the interaction between these two aspects. Animals were a fundamental and ubiquitous part of early medieval society, and their contribution to mortuary practices is considered to be multifaceted, reflecting their multiple roles in everyday life. This project considers the roles of animals in mortuary practice between the 5th-7th centuries across five counties in eastern England – Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex – in both cremation and inhumation rites. Animal remains have been recognised in 5th to 7th century burials in eastern England from an early date, and the quality of the existing archives (both material and written) is investigated and discussed as an integral part of designing a methodology to effectively summarise data across a wide area. From the eastern England dataset, four aspects of identity in mortuary practice are considered in terms of their influence on the role of animals: choice of rite (cremation/inhumation); human biological identity (age & gender); regionality; and changing expressions of belief and status in the 7th century. The funerary role of animals is argued to be based around broadly consistent cosmologies which are locally contingent in their expression and practice.
    • By the Head of a Spirited Horse: A Biocultural Analysis of Horse-Depositions as Reflections of Horseman Identities in Early Britain (Iron Age to Early Medieval Period)

      Not given; Cross, Pamela J. (University of BradfordFaculty of Life Sciences, School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, 2018)
      Horse-depositions were examined to explore the development of human-horse relationships in early Britain using a multidisciplinary approach (osteological, archaeological, historical and ethnographical) to interpret these relationships as part of Horseman identities in the Iron Age, Roman and medieval periods. Medieval Horseman-burials are an established phenomenon and considered an Anglo-Saxon import in Britain which expressed a general elite-warrior male status. However, Horseman-burials form an exclusive minority which suggest not a general warrior elite but specific subgroups and/or traditions potentially rooted in earlier practices. Husbandry, transportation-use and ritual practices were also investigated. Horses and horse-use were evaluated via stature and correlations with sex. The results indicated sexual dimorphism should be considered when interpreting horse stature. It is hypothesised that generally females were pastured breeding-stock while males were transportation-stock which received supplemental nutrition and care. Males were/are generally larger than females, and size disparity was probably heightened by such gendered horse-use practices. Overall, it appears females were 1.3m or less, and horses over 1.3m were males. Horse-depositional patterns in human, particularly funerary, spaces were analysed. Horse deposition often had ritual components and practices changed over time reflecting changing Horseman identities, particularly during the Roman period. Roman-British interactions, the destruction of native-elite chariot-warfare identities and the development of native-auxiliary groups refocused Horseman identities on mounted-warfare. This change from driver to rider, a more intimate relationship, appears reflected by the development of human-horse burials and Horseman identities linked to auxiliary-native cultural groups which incorporated Roman equites ideals with native-auxiliary and imported Eurasian Horseman traditions.