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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

Line, Space, Ritual, and Anglo-Saxon Identity

25th October 2016, 18:00, Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, Anastasia Moskvina, Department of Archaeology

This event is free to attend and open to all. The seminar will begin at 6pm, with tea and biscuits from 5.40pm.

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Anglo-Saxon church groups. Within these groups, it is common for the churches to be built in one straight line, which is particularly puzzling. At the same time, in secular architecture, this phenomenon seems to be mirrored in similar linear arrangements of high-status ‘halls’. I argue that the two are interrelated and this association between linearity, status and religion stems from the native British landscape, where it was expressed in the alignment of barrows, henges and monuments. It was this very idea of a line as an expression of power and ritual that the newly settled Anglo-Saxons took up to overcome ‘otherness’ and claim the land and ancestry of the Britons as their own.

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