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Seller: ancientgifts (4,186) 99.3%, Location: Ferndale, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 122163147677 TRANSLATE Arabic Chinese French German Greek Indonesian Italian Hindi Japanese Korean Swedish Portuguese Russian Spanish Your browser does not support JavaScript. To view this page, enable JavaScript if it is disabled or upgrade your browser. Click here to see 1,000 archaeology/ancient history books and 2,000 ancient artifacts, antique gemstones, antique jewelry! Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages Bonnie Effros. NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Hardcover with dustjacket. Publisher: University of California (2003). Pages: 296. Size: 9¼ x 6½ x 1 inches; 1¼ pounds. Clothing, jewelry, animal remains, ceramics, coins, and weaponry are among the artifacts that have been discovered in graves in Gaul dating from the fifth to eighth century. Those who have unearthed them, from the middle ages to the present, have speculated widely on their meaning. This authoritative book makes a major contribution to the study of death and burial in late antique and early medieval society with its long overdue systematic discussion of this mortuary evidence. Tracing the history of Merovingian archaeology within its cultural and intellectual context for the first time, Effros exposes biases and prejudices that have colored previous interpretations of these burial sites and assesses what contemporary archaeology can tell us about the Frankish kingdoms. Working at the intersection of history and archaeology, and drawing from anthropology and art history, Effros emphasizes in particular the effects of historical events and intellectual movements on French and German antiquarian and archaeological studies of these grave goods. Her discussion traces the evolution of concepts of nationhood, race, and culture and shows how these concepts helped shape an understanding of the past. Effros then turns to contemporary multidisciplinary methodologies and finds that we are still limited by the types of information that can be readily gleaned from physical and written sources of Merovingian graves. For example, since material evidence found in the graves of elite families and particularly elite men is more plentiful and noteworthy, mortuary goods do not speak as directly to the conditions in which women and the poor lived. The clarity and sophistication with which Effros discusses the methods and results of European archaeology is a compelling demonstration of the impact of nationalist ideologies on a single discipline and of the struggle toward the more pluralistic vision that has developed in the post-war years. CONDITION: NEW. New hardcover. University of California (2003) 296 pages. Unblemished, unmarked, pristine in every respect. Pages are pristine; clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! Selling rare and out-of-print ancient history books on-line since 1997. We accept returns for any reason within 14 days! #8439a. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: TABLE OF CONTENTS: List of Illustrations. Acknowledgments. List of Abbreviations. Introduction. 1. Antiquaries, Historians, and Archaeologists: Creating a Cultural Context for Early Medieval Graves. 2. Modern Assessments of Merovingian Burial. 3. Grave Goods and the Ritual Expression of Identity. 4. The Visual Landscape: Cemeterial Topography and Community Hierarchy. Epilogue. Select Bibliography. Index. REVIEW: A history of the discovery and interpretation of medieval burials in Gaul (what would eventually become France). Includes bibliographical references (p. 223-262) and index. REVIEW: The Merovingians were a Salian Frankish dynasty that ruled the Franks for nearly 300 years in a region known as Francia in Latin, beginning in the middle of the 5th century. Their territory largely corresponded to ancient Gaul as well as the Roman provinces of Raetia, Germania Superior and the southern part of Germania. The Merovingian dynasty was founded by Childeric I (c. 457 – 481), the son of Merovech, leader of the Salian Franks, but it was his famous son Clovis I (481–511) who united all of Gaul under Merovingian rule. After the death of Clovis there were frequent clashes between different branches of the family, but when threatened by its neighbours the Merovingians presented a strong united front. During the final century of Merovingian rule, the kings were increasingly pushed into a ceremonial role. The Merovingian rule ended in March 752 when Pope Zachary formally deposed Childeric III.[1][2] Zachary's successor, Pope Stephen II, confirmed and anointed Pepin the Short in 754, beginning the Carolingian monarchy. The Merovingian ruling family were sometimes referred to as the "long-haired kings" (Latin reges criniti) by contemporaries, as their long hair distinguished them among the Franks, who commonly cut their hair short. The term "Merovingian" comes from medieval Latin Merovingi or Merohingi ("sons of Merovech"), an alteration of an unattested Old Dutch form, akin to their dynasty's Old English name Merewīowing,[3] with the final -ing being a typical patronymic suffix. REVIEW: Transformation of the Classical Heritage (University of California Press). With forty-eight volumes published to date, this series from the University of California Press (Peter Brown, General Editor) offers a multi-disciplinary and pan-regional perspective on the transformation of the western ancient world. North Africa, the Middle East, late-ancient Europe, Rome, Byzantium, the Sassanids, Merovingian Gaul are all represented, as are archaeology and the visual arts, political, socio-economic and religious history, philosophy and religious thought, literature and textual studies. Authors include Bonnie Effros, Ann Wharton Epstein, Elizabeth Key Fowden, A. P. Kazhdan, Philip Rousseau, Michele Renee Salzman, Carole E. Straw and Edward J. Watts, among others. REVIEW: Clothing, jewellery, animal remains, coins and weaponry are among the artifacts that have been discovered in graves in Gaul dating from the 5th to 8th centuries. This text traces the history of Merovingian mortuary archaeology within its cultural and intellectual contexts. REVIEW: Bonnie Effros is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the State University of New York, Binghamton, and the Sylvan C. Coleman and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fund Fellow in the Department of Medieval Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2001-2002). She is author of Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World (2002) and Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul (2002). REVIEW: Bonnie Effros earned her Ph.D. in history at UCLA (1994), where she specialized in the European Middle Ages. Her dissertation, based on written and archaeological evidence for burial rites in Merovingian Gaul, offered fertile ground for her first two books: Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World (Penn State University Press 2002) and Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages (University of California Press 2003). Her abiding interest in ritual practice thereafter formed the basis for a series of essays on early medieval feasting and fasting published as Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul (Palgrave 2002). This research enabled her to explore pagan-Christian interactions, female and clerical ascetic practice, food rites associated with burial custom, and dietary discussions in the post-Roman West. Her work has appeared in the peer-reviewed journals: Antiquity, Early Medieval Europe, Journal of the History of Collections, Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire, and Viator. She has also published chapters in the Transformation of the Roman World series (published by E. J. Brill), the supplementary series of the Reallexikon für Altertumskunde (published by Walter de Gruyter), the series Forschungen zur Geschichte des Mittelalters (published by the Austrian Academy), and MittelalterStudien (published by the Institut zur interdisziplinären Erforschung des Mittelalters und seines Nachwirkens at Universität Paderborn), and a variety of other edited collections. Most recently, Professor Effros has published a study of early medieval antiquarianism and archaeology in nineteenth-century France titled Uncovering the Germanic Past: Merovingian Archaeology in France, 1830-1914 (Oxford, 2012). The unexpected discovery during the industrial revolution of long-forgotten cemeteries containing “Germanic warriors” caused the French to reconsider the role of the Franks in their national origins. This work also examines the professionalization of the discipline of archaeology in the late nineteenth century, a subject she continues to pursue in her current project on French colonial archaeology in nineteenth-century Algeria. Her research on this topic has recently been awarded a NEH Summer Stipend (2013) and a year of membership at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) in 2013-2014. Professor Effros previously taught at the University of Alberta, where she held an Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of History and Classics, at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and at Binghamton University, where she served as chair of the Department of History. Among other awards, she has received a Sylvan C. Coleman and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fund Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Berkshire Summer Fellowship at the Bunting Institute (now the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study), a Camargo Foundation Fellowship in Cassis, France, the Franklin Research Fellowship from the American Philosophical Society, as well as grants from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Munich, the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz, and the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna. For the past several years she has served as a sponsored lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America. She currently serves as on the executive committee of the Medieval Academy of America and is the series editor of the Brill Series on the Early Middle Ages, a continuation of the Transformation of the Roman World series published by E.J. Brill in the Netherlands. REVIEW: (Note from Bonnie Effros, Author) I joined the Department of History in August 2009 as Professor of History and also serve as the inaugural Rothman Chair and Director of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere at the University of Florida. I oversee a host of activities at the Center, including a speaker series each semester, grant support for faculty and graduate students in the humanities, and funding competitions in the humanities for University of Florida faculty and graduate students. This year (2013-2014) I am enjoying research leave as a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeotn. I earned my Ph.D. in history at UCLA (1994), where I specialized in the European Middle Ages. My dissertation, based on written and archaeological evidence for burial rites in Merovingian Gaul, provided the basis for two subsequent books: Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World (Penn State University Press 2002) and Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages (University of California Press 2003). My abiding interest in ritual practice thereafter formed the material for a series of essays on early medieval feasting and fasting published as Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul (Palgrave 2002). This research enabled me to explore pagan-Christian interactions, female and clerical ascetic practice, food rites associated with burial custom, and dietary discussions in the post-Roman West. My articles on related topics have also appeared in Antiquity, Early Medieval Europe, Journal of the History of Collections, Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire, and Viator. I also published chapters in the Transformation of the Roman World series (published by E. J. Brill), the supplementary series of the Reallexikon für Altertumskunde (published by Walter de Gruyter), the series Forschungen zur Geschichte des Mittelalters (published by the Austrian Academy), and MittelalterStudien (published by the Institut zur interdisziplinären Erforschung des Mittelalters und seines Nachwirkens at Universität Paderborn), and a variety of other edited collections. Over the past decade or so, my work has taken a more historiographical direction, some of it related to the early Middle Ages and more recently to the late Roman period. Last year, I published a study of early medieval antiquarianism and archaeology in nineteenth-century France titled Uncovering the Germanic Past: Merovingian Archaeology in France, 1830-1914 (Oxford University Press, 2012). It describes how the unexpected discovery during the industrial revolution of long-forgotten cemeteries containing "Germanic warriors" caused the French to reconsider the role of the Franks in their national origins. This work also examines the professionalization of the discipline of archaeology in the late nineteenth century, a subject that continues to interest me as I work on my next project, a monograph on French colonial archaeology in Algeria from 1830-1870. REVIEW: (An Interview with the Author on Ancient History Encyclopedia website). Mythologized and circumscribed for over 1500 years, the Merovingians were a powerful Frankish dynasty, which exercised control much of modern-day France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Low Countries. During the Early Middle Ages, the Merovingian kingdoms were arguably the most powerful and most important polities to emerge after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, blending Gallo-Roman institutions with Germanic Frankish customs. Recent discoveries and new research in the field of mortuary archaeology — the study of how cultures treat the dead and what they believe about the afterlife — has renewed considerable interest in the Merovingians. In this feature interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks to Dr. Bonnie Effros, a Professor of History at the University of Florida, about the ways in which the “archaeology of the dead” can help rewrite an important chapter in European history. JW: Dr. Bonnie Effros, it is a pleasure and privilege to welcome you to the Ancient History Encyclopedia! The Merovingians (c. 457-751 CE) played a crucial role in Western Europe’s transition from “ancient” to “medieval,” and I am very excited to learn more through archaeology about their culture and politics. I would like to begin by asking you a question that has long interested me: Why did Merovingian kings wear their hair long as a ritual custom? Was it symbolic of male virility and martial prowess on the battlefield? BE: For more than a century, modern historians have written about the Franks (as opposed to other Germanic kings) as the “long-haired” kings based on references made by Gregory of Tours (c. 538-594 CE), Agathias (c. 530-582/594 CE), and authors of a variety of saints’ Lives dated from the early medieval period. Following these writers, they viewed the Franks’ long hair as an essential element of their royal power. Indeed, according to Merovingian historians and hagiographers, if one wanted to overthrow a Merovingian king, the act usually necessitated cutting his hair, and indeed tonsuring him like a monk, so that he could no longer legitimately occupy the throne of one of the Frankish kingdoms. Historians, especially in modern Germany, have thus traditionally understood the Merovingian kings’ long hair as physical symbol of what they believed was sacral power; a status that marked them as having special or even magical powers that predated and survived long past King Clovis’ early sixth century CE conversion to Christianity. In the last decade or so, however, some scholars have questioned our reliance on this image of Merovingian kings, since it seems to suggest that the Franks had not fully embraced Christianity even by the late sixth century CE. They suggest instead that while the Frankish kings may have indeed worn their hair long, an image preserved most famously in the signet ring preserved in Childeric I’s mound grave (c. 481/2 CE) in Tournai, Belgium, its interpretation had steadily changed over time. Rather than being seen as a source of magical or pre-Christian power, as some Carolingian authors suggested, long hair, which had a role in Judeo-Christian tradition as well (think Samson!) was fully integrated into the Frankish leaders’ powers as Christian kings. “There are many reasons why one might want to study the Merovingians…I think they have great relevance to understanding Franco-German relations in the past century and a half…Therefore, work on the Merovingians can tell us much about not just the Early Middle Ages but our own time as well.” JW: Much of your research involving the Merovingians has pertained to mortuary archaeology. This is a challenging area of inquiry as it requires you to blend history with archaeology, and anthropology with art history. What can mortuary archaeology tell us about the history of the Frankish kingdoms, once we strip away centuries of Carolingian propaganda, modern nationalism, and centuries of significant social change? BE: One of the challenges offered by mortuary archaeology is that we rarely find burials in connection with the grave markers that might have once existed to identify the occupants of particular sepulchers. Thus, for nearly two centuries, archaeologists have wrestled with the question of how to read the contents of early medieval graves, which were not arranged by chance (as in the case of the dead from a natural disaster, such as at Pompeii) but by survivors. The first point, then, to keep in mind is that graves are not mirrors of the lives of those buried within them but rather of the social relationships held by that individual to family, supporters, and other interested parties. Second, we should keep in mind that the most frequent tendency on the part of archaeologists, especially in the 19th century CE, an epoch of modern nation building, was to think foremost about the ethnicity of the dead. When graves were uncovered by engineers or agricultural workers, whether during the building of railroads or the planting of vineyards, the first question often posed by those involved was whose body they had found. They raised the question of whether the deceased were possibly Franks or Romans or Burgundians, something they thought might be determined by the kinds of artifacts found with the dead. Typically, weaponry was seen as a sign of a Germanic burial whereas the lack of weaponry might be a Roman. (Today, similar efforts are launched with the assistance of DNA studies of the skeletal remains in these same graves). The difficulty, of course, in pursuing this line of inquiry is that it assumes that ethnicity was something biological and fixed, rather than being one of an assortment of identities expressed by every individual over the course of his or her lifetime; some of these facets of identity, like ethnicity, may have been mutable depending upon the circumstances. We thus need to avoid the type of questioning that brings with it many implicit assumptions not just about early medieval graves but early medieval society more generally. These specific concerns likely reflect the concerns of 19th century CE historians more than they do the inhabitants of early medieval society. Finally, to come back to your question, I would argue that mortuary archaeology does not offer evidence particularly well suited to understanding the nature of entities as large and as amorphous as early medieval kingdoms. Rather, graves provide us with evidence better suited to revealing intimate details about individuals and the communities to which they belonged. Namely, I would suggest, as has the archaeologist Frans Theuws (who in turn borrowed the phrase from the medieval historian Lynda Coon), that it is helpful to think about burials as “sacred fictions.” In other words, graves provide snapshots of the way in which the living wished to remember the dead. If a family had access to wealth, they might want to bury a loved one in a manner that reflected status or connections. If it was a much cherished child who died, parents might want to lay their infant to rest with his or her favorite possessions or in a place they thought would keep him or her protected after death. Our job is to try to sort out the significance of the remaining symbols with the recognition that we may not understand all of the circumstances that these items and rituals reflected. JW: Dr. Effros, you have also conducted extensive research into the social significance of Merovingian burial rites. Initially, the Merovingians used the occasion of death to display personal wealth and power by placing objets d’art, jewels, and weapons into graves and upon erected monuments. However, these practices eventually gave way to Roman Catholic Masses and prayers for the dead, which were performed by members of the clergy at churches. Why did this shift occur, and what do these changes suggest about the evolution of Merovingian society and personal piety? BE: Burial rites are intrinsically conservative customs; just as today, they tend not to change drastically from generation to generation unless catastrophic circumstances like disease or war force burials to be performed in a hurried manner or break the chain of the transmission of rituals between generations. In the case of the Early Middle Ages (c. 476-1000 CE), it is clear that Christian conversion did not bring about a marked change in the way in which the dead were laid to rest. We cannot tell from most early medieval graves whether the deceased was Christian or not, since there was no immediate shift in burial customs. The main exceptions are burials that occurred in churches or those that contained or were marked by objects or epitaphs with blatantly Christian references. For the most part, however, families continued to bury their dead much as they had before conversion. Essentially, I would explain these circumstances by observing that priests were scarce commodities in the early medieval West outside of cities; at rural cemeteries found all across Europe, this meant that burial custom was conducted mainly by families and remained fairly stable in the era of Christian conversions. It was foremost in monastic houses and ecclesiastical communities that contemporary clerics began to effect change. At such sites, we can see surviving burial markers and tombs decorated with crosses and know that Masses were celebrated for the dead. It is likely here that lay élites saw the attractiveness of being buried with Christian items. While many still opted to be buried (even in churches) with a wealth of grave goods, others adopted the language of a high status Christian burial which could involve non-traditional symbols, locations, and customs for that region. It would nonetheless be many centuries, sometime between the eighth and tenth century CE (depending upon region), before the Church was in a position to forbid certain burial customs like mounds and developed exclusive cemeteries for Christians. It is also likely (but not easily confirmed) for much of the early Middle Ages that a specifically Christian liturgy was not performed as a matter of course for the majority of Christians at the time of their burials. JW: Archaeology — mortuary or otherwise — rarely provides us with detailed information about identifiable persons. However, there was a recent exhibition in Frankfurt am Main, Germany that showcased exquisite burial objects, which included drinking cups, horns, and glasses belonging to several Merovingian queens. Can you comment briefly on the powerful role of Merovingian queens and the symbolism of the kinds of objects with which they were buried? At the same time, why was the job of being a queen potentially so dangerous? BE: Indeed, both the luxury objects deposited in the few royal graves that have been identified in the last century and historical descriptions of these women, demonstrate that Merovingian queens were often honored by their contemporaries. Others were not. Let us look at the mixed reputations of Merovingian queens known from the historical accounts of authors such as Gregory of Tours. Clothild (d. 545 CE), the Burgundian wife of Clovis I (c. 466-511 CE), was credited by Gregory of Tours as having helped convince her pagan husband to convert to Catholic Christianity. After her husband’s death in 511 CE, she retired to Tours, where she paid her respects to the relics of Saint Martin. For her contributions, Clothild later gained recognition as a saint. Although her grave has never been located (it is thought to rest somewhere under the road that runs in front of the Pantheon in Paris, once the site of a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve), we can be quite certain that it contained an important assemblage of goods as was typical of high status graves in this era. Becoming queen under the right circumstances could elevate women of less than desirable backgrounds or circumstances to great heights. Such was the case of Radegund (d. 587 CE), a Thuringian princess taken captive by Clothar I (c. 497-561 CE); when she reached her teens, Clothar married Radegund and made her queen. Eventually she fled her royal spouse, who apparently kept several wives or concubines simultaneously, to found a monastery in Poitiers, France. Even after leaving her husband, the former queen maintained a powerful network that allowed her to negotiate with the Byzantine Emperor for a relic of the Holy Cross for her cloister. She received a prominent burial as a saint and miracle worker at her monastery in Poitiers. Likewise, the possibly high-born, Anglo-Saxon slave Balthild (d. 680/1 CE) became queen after her marriage to Clovis II (637-655 CE). She exercised enormous power during her reign, especially after she was widowed, when she acted as regent to her son, Clothar, for nearly a decade. However, after her son came of age, she appears to have been forced to join the royal foundation of Chelles for the remainder of her life. As a result of her monastic vows and lifestyle — recorded in a saint’s Life — she was considered a saint both by the Merovingians and Carolingians (751-987 CE). Among the relics preserved of the queen is the richly embroidered “chemise” or shirt that she was said to have worked during her lifetime; it was decorated with a series of necklaces that resemble the clothing of the Byzantine Empress Theodora (c. 500-548 CE) as portrayed in the mosaics of late antique Ravenna, Italy. However, we must not forget that aristocratic marriages were often the product of temporary political alliances, and women (and their children) often became the victims of these arrangements when they were no longer desirable or profitable. The Visigothic princess Galswinth (540-568 CE), the sister of Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia (c. 543-613 CE), for instance, was brought to Gaul from Spain to marry King Chilperic (539-584 CE) in 567 CE. According to Gregory of Tours, soon after their marriage, the hapless Galswinth was strangled in her bed, and Chilperic lost little time in marrying his mistress Fredegund (who, it was alleged, later murdered him). Even politically savvy (and no doubt ruthless) queens like Brunhild, a lifelong enemy of Fredegund (d. 597 CE), could not outwit the odds forever. According to the Liber Historiae Francorum, the Austrasian queen faced a brutal execution after Clothar finally managed to reunite the Merovingian kingdoms. It is thus clear that Merovingian queens faced daunting challenges and great dangers as a consequence of their powerful positions. There is no doubt that holding onto the status and authority they gained through arranged marriages, which was enhanced especially after the death of their spouses and before their offspring reached the age of majority, was not an easy task. JW: Following the death of Clovis I, there were frequent and bloody clashes between his descendants. These recurrent hostilities weakened royal power, which permitted the Merovingian aristocracy to obtain enormous concessions in return for their support. Eventually, the kings lost their political authority to officials known vaguely as maiores palatii (“great men of the palace”). Aside from issues of royal inheritance, which historical factors allowed this breakdown of power to occur? BE: Our picture of especially the Merovingian period is shaped by the ideological objectives of the historians who wrote about the early Frankish kingdoms. Thus, when talking about the early Merovingian monarchs, Gregory of Tours catered his narrative to fit a larger objective of showing God’s punishment of those who transgressed Christian law. As noted by the historian Walter Goffart, this means that what many of us know as The History of the Franks was not called that by its author; Gregory instead intended his Histories as a work of Christian universal history. Consequently, we must be wary of assuming that it is an accurate and objective work of historical writing. As you noted above, the problematic nature of historical works dated from the Carolingian period is even more pronounced, since historians like the author of the Chronicle of Fredegar were eager to demonstrate how the Merovingian kings — characterized as the “do-nothing kings” — had lost their right to rule. Such works served to justify the Carolingian takeover of the throne in the second half of the 8th century CE. These sources therefore seriously cloud our ability to sort out what caused the weakening of royal power at the end of the Merovingian dynasty. We can nonetheless be certain that no single factor in isolation but rather a combination of factors led to the eventual demise of the Merovingians. Among the causes of their eroding power base were the repeated (and disputed) divisions of the kingdoms among royal heirs (in the absence of the custom of primogeniture), damaging conflict between the Austrasian and Neustrian kingdoms in Frankish-controlled territory, decentralization of authority once belonging to kings in favor of the aristocracy, and the rising power of the mayors of the palace who met many of the royal obligations that the Merovingian kings could not or would not fulfill on their own. JW: In your latest work, Uncovering the Germanic Past: Merovingian Archaeology in France, 1830-1914, you move into the era of the French Industrial Revolution. As French industrialists laid railroad lines and commenced expansive quarrying operations, Frankish artifacts were routinely discovered, casting doubts upon the “Gaulish” origins of the French nation. What prompted your interest in the discoveries made by these French archaeologists, and what unique insights can you share with us? Given Franco-German rivalry, before and after the Fin de siècle, I would not be surprised that many would have liked to suppress such finds! BE: Thank you for asking, James! I was drawn to this project after visiting European museums of Merovingian artifacts; I wondered why they organized their collections as they did, and how these objects came to their institutions (or those further afield, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art). I likewise asked why so many pieces lacked firm provenance. This opened up for me a new world of 19th century CE antiquarianism and archaeology, which really lit my imagination. What I discovered was the complex network created by local archaeologists and historians that existed in the form of learned societies all across France (and in fact across Western Europe). As there was no formal archaeological training in this period, all involved were amateurs and tried to make sense of finds made in their city or region (or even in their backyards). Many were very invested in heightening pride in the past of their region. As you note rightly, however, in the case of Merovingian artifacts (which were interpreted as Germanic finds, whether Frankish, Burgundian, or Visigothic), these were the source of great interest locally but were embraced less eagerly by central French authorities and academics, who were not pleased to see how widely the presence of these “invaders” was felt in France in the migration period. As a result, many academics ignored evidence of Merovingian finds in favor of Celtic and Gallo-Roman material of the preceding epoch. This was the case not only in the 19th century CE, but the early 20th century CE when the French found themselves on numerous times at war with their German neighbors. Thus, what truly fascinated me was the way in which French historians opted to turn their backs on inconvenient remains discovered by amateurs that challenged their narrative of France’s Gallo-Roman ancestry. German historians, by contrast, did not ignore these finds and catalogued them assiduously based on the publications of French learned societies dating back over a century. In the absence of a French narrative of the significance of these remains, German scholars essentially had a free hand to interpret these artifacts and cemeteries as they saw fit. JW: Before concluding our interview, I wanted to make a point of asking you what is the legacy of the Merovingians and why should we continue to study them? Forgive me for any impertinence in asking this question as well, but which “Merovingian” topics would you most like research in the future? BE: There are many reasons why one might want to study the Merovingians. For me — at least in the case of my most recent book — I think they have great relevance to understanding Franco-German relations in the past century and a half. German scholars and politicians, for instance, used alleged finds of Franks to justify the invasion of Alsace-Lorraine in 1870 CE, stating that the region had been settled by Germanic peoples since time immemorial. As you can imagine, the same argument resurfaced to the east of the Rhine during the First and Second World Wars. Therefore, work on the Merovingians can tell us much about not just the Early Middle Ages but our own time as well. My work on the history of Merovingian archaeology has in fact led me away, at least briefly, from the Merovingians; my current project is looking at French excavations in Algeria following the invasion of North Africa in 1830 CE. I am interested in how colonial excavations of famous Roman ruins like Timgad and Lambaesis helped the French justify their presence in North Africa, since they argued that they were following in the footsteps of the Roman army. Similarly, classical remains helped future generations of French settlers identify with something familiar in their adopted land. JW: I thank you so much for speaking with us. We await your next study with anticipation and appreciate having the opportunity to share your expertise! We wish you many happy adventures in research. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: The past decade has seen the publication of a number of important studies dealing with the archaeology, religion and culture of death during the Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the archaeological evidence from the Early Middle Ages.1 Bonnie Effros's new book, Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages is a welcome and complementary addition to this wave of literature. Unlike many of these studies, which deal specifically with either the archaeology of individual sites or interpretations of medieval burial practice on the basis of gender, ethnicity or chronology, this study is a critical survey of the history and historiography of Merovingian mortuary archaeology. In the author's own words, this book is "a discussion of the ways in which changing scholarly interpretations over the past three centuries have shaped our vision of the early medieval past", and it "explores some of the common pitfalls of the collaborative use of historical descriptions and archaeological evidence [to] illustrate some of the consequences of borrowing uncritically across disciplines in the study of Merovingian mortuary practices". Amidst a field of focussed studies, Effros's work is a commendable attempt to fill a gap in academic discourse which has been open since the publication of Edouard Salin's fundamental study in 1952. Although it cannot be discussed here in depth, the present book forms something of a pendant to another recent book by the same author, Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), which provides an account of the medieval written sources. In the first two chapters, Effros begins with an overview of the key developments that shaped the conceptions and representations of Merovingian burials from the Middle Ages to the present. Chapter 1, "Antiquaries, Historians and Archaeologists", covers the Middle Ages through the late nineteenth-century. Following a discussion of the manipulation of Merovingian burials during the High and Later Middle ages at St Denis and elsewhere, Effros turns to the use of Merovingian remains in the seventeenth-century. Here the author focuses upon the 1653 discovery of the tomb of the monarch Childeric, and the eventual publication of Jean-Jaques Chiflet's pioneering Anastasis Childerici I Francorum Regis sive thesaurus sepulchralis in 1655. Effros explores a fascinating political context for the use of Merovingian monarchs' remains, namely the way in which living monarchs connected their own dynasties with those of the Merovingian past, thus asserting for themselves an ancient pedigree, a practice elsewhere called "the invention of tradition". Connections of this sort had a varied history. The French Revolution confirmed the profound connection of ancient remains to the legacy of contemporary monarchs when ancient tombs were rifled and destroyed as symbols of the tyranny to which the French had been subjected. This context of historical and nationalistic reassessment bore the seeds of antiquarian interest to preserve and protect funerary remains in museums, where they became entombed as emblems of national history rather than emblems of royal auctoritas. This chapter concludes with a discussion of the origins of modern archaeological methods in the nineteenth century and their foundations in growing nationalism, the general lines of which have been sketched out elsewhere in recent studies of the history of archaeology and the history of the museum. In the second chapter Effros considers the legacy of antiquarian scholarship to mortuary archaeology in modern, "professional" assessments of Merovingian burials. Here she provides a compelling survey of the literature and methodologies of twentieth-century research, including a comprehensive overview of current concerns in the field, which are aptly summarised in her subheadings such as: 'Explaining the Evolution of Merovingian Burial Rites: A Process of Christianisation?', 'Economic and Legal Factors Affecting Mortuary Practice' and 'Gender, Age and the Distribution of Grave Goods'. The third and fourth chapters turn from the historiography of the discipline to the interpretation of grave goods and the cemeterial topography of Merovingian graves. Through an analysis of the important cemeteries of Merovingian Gaul at Köln-Müngersdorf (Germany), Frénouville (Lower Normandy) and Lavoye (Meuse), Effros provides a critical examination of the various interpretations of grave goods, focussing particularly on the range of assumptions scholars bring to bear upon material evidence in the construction of Merovingian burial practices, and the elusive notion of "the social order". The fourth chapter considers the external features of Merovingian burial that played a role in shaping and expressing group identity, from burial in cemeteries to the gradual transition of exclusive burials within churches. There is much to praise in this book. It is clearly and crisply written, and it takes account of an unusually wide range of literature on mortuary archaeology and on the history of archaeology as a discipline. By her own admission, Effros writes "as a historian, albeit one very familiar with the archaeological record". Despite the unusually broad field of literature surveyed in this book, it is comprehensively researched and fully footnoted throughout. Unlike many studies of early medieval archaeology, Effros's book is not impervious to the charms of theory. She makes good use of a variety of sources such as Arjun Appadurai's, The Social Life of Things, which add considerably to the intellectual depth of her project. Also, unlike related studies, this book is an enjoyable read, a characteristic all too often overlooked in scholarly reviews, and an aim too seldom sought by authors of archaeological monographs. Finally, the University of California Press has produced a handsome and reasonably priced volume with clear illustrations. While this reviewer has some minor quibbles with the text, this should not and cannot detract from what Effros' study truly is, a fascinating and much needed account of the histories and methodologies of mortuary archaeology in early medieval Europe. With this in mind, a more appropriate title for this study might be Prolegomena to the Study of Early Medieval Mortuary Archaeology. As this suggests, this book is an excellent introduction to the field, and it should find a prominent place on the shelves of scholars and students alike. REVIEW: The subject of this book is the Late Roman and Frankish mortuary practice all over North-Western Europe. Effros does not give a summary of different mortuary rituals in different regions and different centuries nor an explanation and interpretation of the various practices which were in use during the Merovingian period. By writing this book she rather wants to focus attention on how mortuary practices were interpreted and misinterpreted in the past. Hereby she tries to explain why such interpretations and misinterpretations came into being. On one hand there is the political national identity under which influence scholars came to interpretations (French scholars against German scholars) and on the other hand there are the scientific points of departure for interpreting mortuary rituals (written sources, archaeological and material sources, ecclesiastical sources, ethnical and anthropological sources, historical sources). Her conclusion however is that only a balanced and objective study of all available sources can lead scholars to the most acceptable interpretation of the various mortuary practices in the Early Middle Ages. In each chapter of the book she debates on the importance of multidisciplinary in the interpretation of early medieval sources. In some cases, a renewed study of excavations executed in the past and of old material sources is indispensable. In chapter 1 and 2 Effros gives a chronological résumé of the history of the inquiry into Merovingian mortuary practices. In the first chapter she constitutes a historiographical essay in which she addresses the way in which contemporary events and intellectual and political developments affected scholarly interpretations of Merovingian mortuary remains from the Middle Ages through the early modern period (antiquaries, historians and archaeologists). In the second chapter she discusses the way in which professional scholars dealt with the antiquarian legacy (significance of grave goods). In chapter 3 and 4 Effros overviews some mortuary rituals and the interpretation given to them. In the third chapter the attention is focussed on the invisible practices: grave goods and the ritual expression of identity (royal graves, grave goods as an idealized image of the deceased and some examples of some local graveyards with their own practices and traditions). The fourth chapter deals with the visible aspects of mortuary rituals: grave markers, coffins and sarcophagi, spatial organization and topography of cemeteries, constructions and burial churches. It becomes clear that in the first period of the Merovingian dynasty, an unstable political period, different powerful families tried to express and consolidate their power by interring their deceased in lavishly furnished graves. In the later period the accent for expressing familiar power was shifted from the material grave goods to a high level position of the grave in the cemetery or church. Effros gives a complete historiographical review. Of particular interest are the good indexes, the numerous footnotes and the extensive bibliography covering the whole Merovingian society in North West Europe. REVIEW: Bonnie Effros has written a succinct cultural history of early medieval archaeology from medieval relic translations to contemporary scientific archaeology. She shows how in every period the ideological and cultural assumptions of those exhuming the dead have determined how they proceeded and how they interpreted their finds. . . . It will be indispensable reading for anyone who hopes to enter the complexities of interpreting the material culture of late antiquity and the early middle ages. [Patrick J. Geary, author of “The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe”]. REVIEW: "Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages” is an original contribution to the long history of the archaeological engagement with the Early Middle Ages. Bonnie Effros confronts us with the most comprehensive intellectual assessment of this engagement, reaching from the early activities of ecclesiastics in the Middle Ages to the most recent interpretations of modern scholarship. The book is indispensable for any student on Early Medieval burial rites and will certainly find its way into the classrooms of universities. [Frans Theuws, Director, Amsterdam Archaeological Centre]. REVIEW: This is a long overdue fundamental discussion of what archaeology can tell us about the history of the Frankish kingdoms…Bonnie Effros also includes a very interesting history of Merovingian archaeology from the middle ages to this day. The book can thus also be read as a study of artifacts and their changing meanings throughout the course of European history. This is a highly original and successful point of view that makes the study an extraordinary contribution in its field and beyond. [Walter Pohl, Director, Institute for Medieval History, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna]. REVIEW: Indispensable reading for anyone who hopes to enter the complexities of interpreting the material culture of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Just what my favorite daughter-in-law wanted for Christmas. Exceptional narration of Celt, Gaul, Frank, German, Merovingian archaeology. I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site) and free insurance coverage. A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. 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