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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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The Visual Landscape

The Visual Landscape

Cemeterial Topography and Community Hierarchy

(p.175) 4 The Visual Landscape
Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages

Bonnie Effros

University of California Press

Different difficulties arise in conjunction with any attempt to reconstruct how Merovingian cemeteries appeared to contemporaries. At the very least, the impermanent but nonetheless dominant features of burial sites, such as trees and flowers of other flora, have left little trace for modern scholars. Even evidence of the most permanent components of Merovingian cemeteries, such as stone tombs and inscriptions, is not entirely reliable. The majority of sarcophagi and epitaphs surviving in their original form are no longer in their initial locations, and drawings and transcriptions do not necessarily convey their appearance accurately. Their provenances were often either not recorded or have been since lost. The graves that were not thus marked, with few exceptions, must have outnumbered those with inscriptions or tombs significantly even in southern Gaul during the late imperial period. Most of the epitaphs were intended to be legible only from the inside of sarcophagi and were thus visible only at the funeral.

Keywords:   sarcophagi, epitaphs, tombs, Gaul, inscriptions

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