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Study Suggests Medieval Europe’s Shared Culture Spread Rapidly

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—According to a statement released by the University of Cambridge, the practice of burying the dead without grave goods spread across western Europe more quickly than had been previously thought. Emma Brownlee of the University of Cambridge reviewed more than 33,000 graves dated from the sixth through the eighth centuries A.D., and found that the inclusion of grave goods in burials in England, France, Germany, and the Low Countries began to decline in the mid-sixth century, and was abandoned entirely by the early eighth century. Brownlee says the speed of the change suggests that communities in early medieval Europe were well connected to each other through long-distance trade, shared ideas, and social pressure as more people adopted the new style of funeral. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Antiquity. To read about bone relics deposited in Britons' graves between 4,500 and 2,600 years ago, go to "Bronze Age Keepsakes."

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