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Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages$
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Bonnie Effros

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520232440

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520232440.001.0001

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Modern Assessments of Merovingian Burial

Modern Assessments of Merovingian Burial

(p.71) 2 Modern Assessments of Merovingian Burial
Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages

Bonnie Effros

University of California Press

The nineteenth-century antiquaries who retrieved and evaluated material remains left an indelible imprint on historical and archaeological research by suggesting that scholarly questioning might yield far more than chronologies. Antiquarian scholars have devoted much energy to demonstrating how physical evidence might contribute to the study of religion, political institutions, law, and other customs. The application of artifacts to the description of society was particularly successful in the case of the Merovingian period. Consequently, some early medieval historians began to experiment with the syntheses of written and material sources, incorporating antiquarian methodology to meet historical objectives. However, this development did not result in closer ties among historians, antiquaries, and their heirs, the early archaeologists. The gap indeed between those who worked with documents and amateurs who focused on artifacts grew in the late nineteenth century. Most nineteenth-century scholars resisted an open approach to the sources that required crossing disciplinary boundaries, since such methodology was considered unscientific despite the initial appeal of antiquarian modes of questioning.

Keywords:   antiquarian, customs, political institutions, artifacts, antiquaries

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