Animals and Death: An Analysis of Animal Remains at the Castledyke South Cemetery Site
Ercolani, Jesse A., 1996--
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This thesis explores the placement of animal remains in the Castledyke South Cemetery Site in Barton-on-Humber. The site itself was used by the Anglo-Saxons during the period of the late 5th or early 6th to the late 7th centuries. The major purpose of this paper is to analyze the possible influences that would have led them to bury their dead with animal remains as a type of mortuary artefacts. Age and sex, religion, social status, and economic importance are the analyzed influences, each relying on different sources. While most of the paper relies on archaeological evidence for its support, literary evidence is used in a few instances, primarily with the Old English epic poem, Beowulf. Age and sex are examined primarily with regard to the species and frequency in the graves, as well as a discussion of the boar tusk buckle found in grave 91. A section on religion explores various instances where the animals or the form in the graves take on a religious symbolism, specifically horses ad connections to Continental Europe. Meanwhile, a section on social status examines the number, type, and composition of the artefacts in connection to the animals, with a focus on different species, namely horses, dogs, and elephant ivory. My discussion of economic importance instead explores the agricultural role and importance of specific animals in the region and how that may have transferred to the cemetery. Considering the evidence from the site and the connections to other sources, sex and economic importance appeared to possess the greatest influence to explain the placement of animal remains.