Last year I blogged about a 2012 book chapter co-authored by the stupendous Ruth Nugent and me entitled Sighted Surfaces: Ocular Agency in Early Anglo-Saxon Cremation Burials. It is available to read in the book: Encountering Imagery: Materialities, Perceptions, Relations edited by Ing-Marie Back Danielsson, Fredrik Fahlander and Ylva Sjöstrand.
The book contains a rich and varied range of studies from prehistoric to recent centuries, exploring new ways of thinking about what images want and how archaeologists can approach, and consider, their different significances in past societies.
What is fabulous is that the book is fully available open access here and the book has received three book reviews as listed on the website. Two are in English, by Cambridge archaeologist John Robb and Cardiff archaeologist Miranda Aldhouse Green in the Swedish journal Fornvännen.
Miranda really liked Ruth and our chapter, saying:
One of the finest contributions to the volume is by Nugent & Williams and concerns the imagery on Anglo-Saxon burial urns in East Anglia. It contains impressive interpretations of the ‘ocular’ and related decoration on these pots, arguing, like Alberti, that ceramic vessels could act as if they were people, in this case dead people, and that the eyes and other motifs on the urns enabled the dead to see out and the living to see in, thus stimulating sensory engagement and discourse between the deceased and their mourners.
Thanks Miranda! We love you too!
So what do you think? Any further opinions out there regarding early Anglo-Saxon urns?