Session: #315

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Funerary Practices in Late Roman Period and Early Middle Ages
Funerary archaeology is the field of medieval archaeology that yields the most palpable historical evidence. At the same time, it helps not only to reconstruct funeral practices, but also to rediscover essential facts about the social and economic history of different peoples.
The Late Roman Period and Early Middle Ages in the territory spreading between the Danube and the Adriatic Sea distinguish themselves through the abandonment of several sites and the increased defensive positions often erected on elevated fortified sites. This permanent, periodical, or temporary abandonment, a practice that started in the fifth century and gained momentum in the sixth century, had led to important shifts in the topography of towns and settlements, their occupation patterns, demographic make up, and their responsiveness to the rise of Christianity. Christian insignia have been identified across the Avar Khaganate, but this does not necessarily point to the fact that they coincide with their owners’ religious belief. It is commonly thought that the Christian communities that emerged in urban centers during the Late Roman Period and following the fall of Moravia in the tenth century A.D were forced to relocate beyond the walls of these fortified centers, to marginal areas, which, in turn, appears to have contributed to the spread of Christian funeral practices across rural territories.
The main scope of this session is to offer an overview of how various European scholars approach the topic, while taking into account that research in this field has produced quantitative and qualitative results that vary extensively across different European centers. It is for this particular reason that this session sets out to analyze the Late Roman and Early Middle Ages funerary practices, which may provide us with precious insight into the multiculturalism of the ethnically diverse groups that came to settle on the foundations of the former provinces of the Roman Empire from the Adriatic Sea and the Carpathians.
Archaeology of death, Christanity, Late Roman Period, Early Middle Ages, Funerary Ritual, Central Europe
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Main organiser:
Ioan Marian TIPLIC (Romania) 1
Sergiu Musteata (Moldova) 2
Alexandru Popa (Romania) 3
Maria Cringaci Tiplic (Romania) 4
1. “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu
2. “Ion Creanga” University of Chisinau
3. National Museum of Eastern Carpathians
4. Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities Sibiu