volume-coverI’ve just heard of the release of a new collection on early medieval material culture, in honour of Professor Vera Evison, published by Mergoils. It isn’t seemingly on the publisher’s website yet, but it should appear here in due course.

The collection is in honour of Vera Evison, whom I’ve never met but whose work I’ve regularly used in my research on early medieval mortuary practice. I’m indebted to the editors for their hard work and I’m very excited to see the final collection.

The blurb reads:

The Evidence of material culture :
Studies in honour of Professor Vera Evison

Professor Vera Evison has made a major contribution to the study of the archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England over a period of more than sixty years. Her publications include four monographs on early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, as well as a catalogue of wheel-thrown pottery from Anglo-Saxon graves. She is perhaps best known, however, for her wide-ranging studies of early medieval vessel glass, which culminated in a catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon glass in the British Museum.

In this volume Ian Riddler, Jean Soulat and Lynne Keys have gathered together contributions from 25 authors to celebrate the life and work of Vera Evison. From its outset, the editors have sought to place Anglo-Saxon sites and finds within a European framework, drawing in colleagues from France and Germany to echo the wide range of Vera Evison’s academic interests.The subjects extend from the Anglo-Saxon cemetery of Dover Buckland and other newly-discovered cemeteries in Kent to an evaluation of the history and archaeology of the Franks in Belgica II, alongside ethnographic comparisons and funerary trends for cremation burials, studies and reviews of early medieval glass, brooches, antler and iron combs, weaving swords and pendant crosses, as well as a re-evaluation of finds from older cemetery excavations and a review of recent advances in Bayesian modelling with radiocarbon dating and its application for the early medieval period.

Ethnographies for early Anglo-Saxon cremation

My chapter is an extension of previous arguments I’ve made regarding the challenges, but also the potentials, of utilising ethnographic data from around the world to provide insights regarding aspects of cremation practice in early medieval Europe, particularly early Anglo-Saxon England. In particular, in this paper I explore the potentials of applying ethnographies in more careful ways without presuming a direct imposition of historically particularist situations, or assuming cross-cultural generalisations. I look forward to learning how this is received, since in my view, ethnographic evidence is often largely ignored by early medieval archaeologists and historians studying mortuary data.