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In later and post medieval Ireland, unbaptised children were rarely buried in consecrated ground. Strangers, suicides, or unrepentant murderers were also treated differently in death, interred in Cillin cemeteries liminal, clandestine places associated with boundaries in the landscape, and often sited within early medieval settlement enclosures that had long since fallen out of use. The origin of this practice is often assumed to be associated with the adoption of Christianity, and the Limbus Infantus of the medieval church. Baptism was the necessary threshold through which all must pass before entering Christian society, and without which incorporation into the society of the dead was impossible. This paper assesses the origins of this practice drawing on a recently excavated early medieval settlement cemetery at Carrowkeel, Co. Galway. The cemetery was in use for over 700 years, and the spatial segregation of children can be recognised in the early phases of the site. Was this segregation a precursor to the later medieval practice of Cillin burial? Did the adoption of Christianity elaborate the preexisting boundaries of an early medieval society obsessed with status in life and its continuity into death? To understand how these nuanced conceptual and physical boundaries worked in the past, this paper begins by addressing the boundaries that divide our discipline in the present. 1. THE SITE Carrowkeel in County Galway resonates with the spatial and bodily boundaries addressed by this morning’s session. Carrowkeel was a multi‐period enclosure excavated on behalf of Galway County Council in advance of the N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road scheme in the Republic of Ireland (Slide 1). • The main phase was a substantial early medieval enclosure ditch represented by a large V‐shaped ditch that measured 65 m east by 47 m west. • About a third of the enclosure remained beyond the limit of excavation, and in this area the remnants of a substantial internal bank were preserved beneath a 19th century dry stone field boundary. • It contained a cemetery in the south‐east corner with 132 predominantly supine east‐west burials.
And the population comprised a disproportionate percentage of non‐adults, infant and foetal remains.
These infant and foetal remains were topsoil burials barely buried beneath the surface, and looking back over my field notes, we were labouring under an illusion. During the excavation we assumed, I think quite reasonably given the lack of clear grave cuts, that there were three phases of cemetery use (Slide 2). • A primary phase represented by a crouched inhumation found in the terminus of a ditch. • A secondary phase of supine west‐east orientated burials, probably representing the use of the site as an early Christian enclosure; • And a final phase of exclusively children that belonged to a Cillin Phase of the site. In later medieval Ireland right up into the mid 1960s, un‐baptised children were not permitted to be buried in consecrated ground, but interred in Cillin cemeteries ‐ liminal, clandestine places often associated with physical and conceptual boundaries in the landscape. To borrow a phrase I’ve heard once or twice myself, if you’re names not down, you’re not getting in. In fact we now think it was neither of those things. We took 40 radiocarbon dates from the cemetery and they turned the original phasing on its head. The cemetery was in use from the 7th to the 15th century, and far from being a later post medieval phase of activity, the spatial segregation of children can actually be recognised in the early phases of the site, much earlier than the mainstream opinion for the Cillin burial. This led us to question: Perhaps infant segregation in the early medieval period at Carrowkeel was a precursor to the more general, historically documented later medieval practice of Cillin burial? Perhaps the adoption of Christianity elaborated the pre‐existing boundaries of an early medieval society obsessed with maintaining status divisions in life and their continuity into death? Or perhaps this was neither a Cillin nor an ecclesiastical enclosure, but something else that defied easy classification. I’ll address these issues shortly but now let’s have a look at the evidence, before assessing how current thinking on boundaries connects with this particular site. 2. THE FIELD EVIDENCE Carrowkeel was situated on the western brow of an east/west ridge of higher ground overlooking a known area of early medieval settlement, consisting of cashels, a souterrain, house sites and a field system approximately 150 metres away
(Slide 3 & 4). The enclosure had been identified on the first edition OS map dated to 1838, though not on subsequent map surveys, indicating that it had been ploughed away or levelled during agricultural improvement in the 19th century. A geophysical survey prior to test trenching identified a series of anomalies interpreted as potential ditches, and this turned out to be multiperiod enclosure and cemetery site with the main phase dating to the early medieval period. There were three main sub‐phases recognised in the ditch and bank sections. These included: • A construction phase, when a substantial 1.5 m deep V‐shaped ditch was cut, and up‐cast material deposited as an internal bank. • Followed by a use phase, when bank material initially slumped back into the ditch quite quickly, but then stabilised with a vegetation layer. • And a final phase when the ditch was deliberately backfilled with large stones and boulders, probably as a result of field clearance. The cemetery contained 132 individuals, and it was located in the south‐east corner of the enclosure, partly enclosed by an internal double‐ditch. As the incidence of burials increased toward the edge of the site, the cemetery could have continued beyond the limit of excavation towards the brow of the hill. In symmetry with the changing phasing defined for the main enclosure ditch, four sub‐phases were identified in the cemetery area. The phase I assemblage comprised 37 individuals, and coincides with the dating for the construction of the enclosure, and during this phase this part of the burial area was used for organised disposal of predominantly women and children. Breaking down as such, 70% of these individuals were non‐adults. The second Phase of the cemetery dates from the mid 9th to the 11th century, and contained 75 individuals, and 93% of these were non‐adult. This relates to what we called the ‘use’ phase of the enclosure, when erosion of the main ditch stabilised, and the cemetery contained the largest proportion of very young children. Beyond this point, the organisation within this part of the cemetery breaks down, and this mirrors the final sub‐phase of the enclosure and gradual backfilling of the ditch with field clearance debris. In cemetery Phase III there are 18 individuals, and a much more even spread of age categories than was recognised in earlier phases, although non‐adults accounted for 78% of this phase. And only two individuals were attributed to cemetery Phase IV, dated to the 15th century, indicating that the cemetery was in the process of abandonment.
3. PREUNDERSTSANDINGS OK, so how do we make sense of this? We took a number of pre‐understandings into the field, all of which seemed like a perfectly valid fit with what was coming out of the ground. Prior to dating we assumed that the site was an early medieval ecclesiastical enclosure reused in the later and post medieval period as a Cillin (Slide 9). • We knew that the twelfth century Church reformations had led to the abandonment of many ecclesiastical sites throughout the country. • We knew that this had coincided with the final concession on behalf of the church on the denial of baptism rites and the establishment of the doctrine of limbo infantus. • We knew that the word Cillin was thought to derive from the Latin Cella, meaning little church or oratory, probably because these sites had been chosen because of their earlier religious association. • We could support this with cartographic and place name evidence from the surrounding environs, and cite Emmer Dennehy’s analysis in County Kerry that 51% of Cillins were sited within the confines of a pre‐existing archaeological monument, and more often than not they were early medieval enclosures that had long since fallen out of use. • And after Nyree Finley’s study of secondary burials at Fournocks, we could relate this generally to an Irish tradition of differential treatment of the young that potentially stretched far back into the prehistoric. Jobs a good un… or maybe not, because although these pre‐understandings made perfect sense in themselves, Carrowkeel wasn’t easily defined as either an ‘ecclesiastical enclosure’ or a ‘Cillin’, and when we actually started to research these two categories, we found that the field evidence in general for both these site types is actually quite vague. 4. CILLIN To turn firstly to Cillin, and current thinking on these places is complicated (Slide 10). Cillin are sensitive subjects; some were in use into living memory and are strictly off limits, others have been forgotten, neglected and bulldozed to make way for modern development. That very few of these sites have been comprehensively dated and therefore may be much older than we think, are just one of the problems. Perhaps more limiting than lack of data has been the way these boundaries have been conceived by the modern archaeological imagination, not in the least our conception of childhood.
In many respects our methodology, finely tuned to producing an objective record, and may be blinding us to what was most important about these sites. Western biological definitions of foetus, perinate, infant and younger child, implicitly focus the development of the ‘person’ into embryonic stages. The archaeological subject becomes bounded within a known universe defined by medical technologies and new attitudes towards parent hood. But ‘humanity’ is a flexible construction; in the words of the session abstract, it is policed, challenged and deliberately broken down. The use of Cillin cemeteries may actually be less about physical death as social death, and it is precisely this lack of definition of children as full social beings that marks them out as troublesome. How can children join the society of the dead if they haven’t been officially admitted to the society of the living? And this can’t just be a response to the Christian doctrine of Limbo Infantus. Suicides, shipwrecked sailors, strangers, unrepentant murderers and their unfortunate victims were also interred in Cillin cemeteries. To die a bad death comported to the restlessness of the soul, and these sites are saturated with superstition and folklore, the home of fairy changelings, or the night washerwoman – a child murderess destined to wash the bloodied bodies of unbaptised infants. With this in mind, the origins of Cillin burial can’t be taken for granted; funerary practices are linked to the institutional and social structures of society, and the performance of such rituals are of crucial importance in the maintenance and expression of those cultural and social formations. Early medieval enclosures were not an inert stage for human actions, or simply ‘host’ sites on which children’s burial grounds piggyback to the afterlife. Nuances of significance and meaning differentiated these places in the past, and they had complex histories of practice played out through them. To understand the origins of the practice of Cillin burial, we need to rethink not just the boundaries around personal identities, but adopt a critical conception of spatiality. 5. EARLY MEDIEVAL ENCLOSURE In this respect, current thinking on early medieval enclosures can’t easily cope. The prolonged duration of sites and their changing status over time makes typologies problematic. Carrowkeel only just fits with Leo Swan’s definition of ecclesiastical enclosures based on 11‐shared attributes, where at least 5 required for group inclusion (Slide 11). The site was in use for approximately 700 years, and substantial changes took place at the time, including the reorganisation of the church and the consolidation of power into tribal dynasties. Early medieval settlement was exclusively rural and the field evidence for this period is highly visible in Ireland ‐ characterised by enclosed farmsteads (known as ring forts) in addition to a smaller number of monastic settlements (or ecclesiastical enclosures).
As far back as 1821 (Slide 12), this was being used to interpret the field evidence at a regional level, prefiguring later work by Mathew Stout in the 1990s, to model the relationship between ringforts, ecclesiastical sites, territorial boundaries and topography (Slide 13). The division between settlement and ecclesiastical enclosures was presumed to reflect social practice in the early medieval period, with the larger part of the population residing in ring‐forts during their life and then taken for churchyard burial in death. But Carrowkeel doesn’t really fit in either camp – it was too large to be characterised as a ring‐fort, and the lack of structural remains together with the presence of a large animal bone assemblage, usually indicative of long‐term settlement waste, argues against it being the site of an early church. Carrowkeel isn’t alone in this, and there are a number of other sites that also don’t quite fit into either category. The Processualist turn towards explanation attempted to accommodate this pattern (Slide 14). Enclosures with evidence for cemeteries have been subdivided into ‘developed’ enclosures, or those with evidence for associated church buildings, and ‘undeveloped’ enclosures, or those with no associated structural evidence. The implicit assumption is that some enclosures developed into full monastic settlements with associated religious structures and others fell out of use. But looking again at Carrowkeel, how well is this theory really serving us? Early church structures would have been constructed from wood and ephemeral evidence is difficult to find on undeveloped enclosures, and may still lie beneath upstanding stone structures on developed enclosures. As an argument it’s a neat trick, based on absence of evidence not evidence of absence, and it extends the culture historical vision of bounded distributions of enclosure that correlate directly with the lifespan of discrete communities. 6. SETTLEMENT ENCLOSURE To understand how these enclosures changed over time we need to ensure that our archaeologically derived categories accommodate the significance and meaning that was attributed to them in the past. In this we are assisted by working in a text‐aided period, and a recent examination of documentary sources by Elizabeth O’Brien has revealed a concern by Church authorities that as late as the early eighth century, some communities were deliberately choosing not to bring their dead for churchyard burial, but were preferring to bury them in ancient family burial grounds. Irish missionaries would all have been familiar with these texts, and using the example of Jacob and Joseph carried back from Egypt, the canon justifies burial among ancestors. Dr O’Brien has begun calling sites like Carrowkeel ancestral or settlement cemeteries, to acknowledge their pagan rather than Christian origins, and in fact this
still fits with Swan’s original typology. Although Swan calls these sites ‘enclosed ecclesiastical’, he clearly states that these were not necessarily Christian places, but this seems to have been forgotten in theoretical shifts towards explanation. But while the founding of sites like Carrowkeel may well have been tolerated, their continuing use was a point of contention. Monks and ecclesiastical tenants were clearly encouraged to have their affiliation recognised in death. In the ‘appropriation of death’, or access to salvation, the historical sources reveal a conflict between popular belief and the Catholic Church. 7. BURIAL PRACTICE This can also be seen in the funerary practices at Carrowkeel, which on the face of it were ostensibly Christian (roughly east‐west orientation and lacking grave goods). But there were startling departures from this general pattern (Slide 15). River‐rolled quartz and some animal bone were found in a number of burials. A flexed adolescent found at the terminus of the cemetery ditch. A tightly crouched adolescent. And the highly unorthodox female burial with legs akimbo. The positioning of the body as a supine west‐east inhumation is usually regarded as a Christian practice responding to the belief that the soul rises, and an alignment with the orientation of the rising sun during Eastertide. Barry Raftery’s analysis of the Irish field evidence indicates that Roman burial customs were adopted independently of Christianity, and that bodily orientation with the Easter sunrise is not necessarily due to beliefs in the rising soul. Christianity can be seen to adapt to existing burial practices, incorporating earlier indigenous elements, and through their continued performance at sites like Carrowkeel, these rituals were the place of contested meaning. 8. CONCLUSIONS In conclusion, Carrowkeel was founded in a predominantly pastoral economy based on a transhumance model of summer grazing. In this period, burial within the settlement cemetery would have secured tenure to the land. The continuing placement of the dead in the landscape was a deliberate strategy by a group, probably bound by familial and kinship ties, to re‐establish their relationship with their ancestors and guarantee connection with the land. The segregation of children in one part of the cemetery is in keeping with evidence from other sites for the segregation of distinct groups during the medieval and post‐ medieval period.
A targeted programme of radiocarbon dating at Carrowkeel has helped clarify that conceptual divisions were being drawn out between infants and other individuals in the early medieval period, and that these relate to longer term patterns of Irish death practices. It is entirely plausible to see the continuity of this practice into the later and post‐medieval Cillin tradition, with the original meaning of that practice co‐opted by Christian ideology. The use of sites as burial grounds for infants and other ambiguous categories of individual lead to a reworking of both the meaning and the memory of the original monument. And as these sites fell out of use, as ditches silted and became over run with vegetation, their abandoned nature enhanced the liminal status of infants as betwixt and between this world and the next. With that I’d like to thank you all for listening. Acknowledgements The author is indebted to all staff at Headland Archaeology Ltd, particularly Susan Lalonde who supervised the excavation of the cemetery area and undertook all osteological analysis. Many of the ideas expressed in this paper were first mooted in our joint publication of the site and my understanding has benefited significantly from her input. Thanks to Stuart Callow, Kevin Murphy and Deborah Riches who supervised the excavations, and to Emmer O’Donovan and Bryan McDomhnail for survey work. Special and final thanks are reserved for a formidable team of excavators, who braved the storms through three cold months on what has to be the windiest hill in Co. Galway. References Becker, M. J. 1995. Children’s cemeteries: early Christianity, not disease. Paleopathology Newsletter. 80:10‐11 Edwards, N. 1990. The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland. London: Routledge. Finlay, N. 2000. Outside of life: traditions of infant burial in Ireland from cíllín to cist. World Archaeology. 31 (3): 407‐422 Hamlin, A. and Foley C. 1983. A women’s graveyard at Carrickmore, Co Tyrone and the separate burial of women. Ulster Journal of Archaeology 46: 41‐46 Holbrook, N. 2005. An Early‐medieval Monastic Cemetery at Llandough, Glamorgan: Excavations in 1994. Medieval Archaeology. 49:1 ‐92 Lalonde, S. 2006. Preliminary Report on the Human Skeletal Remains from a Cemetery and Settlement at Carrowkeel, County Galway, on the Route of the N6 Galway to
Ballinasloe National Road Scheme. Unpublished technical report by Headland Archaeology Ltd for Galway County Council. Lalonde, S. 2008. Suffer Little Children: Child Burial and Abuse in Early Medieval Ireland. Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology. Archaeopress: Oxford (in press) Metcalf, P and R. Huntington. 1991. Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual (second edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mytum, H. 1992. The Origins of Early Christian Ireland. Routledge: London and New York. Ó Donnchadha, B. 2007. The oldest church in Ireland’s ‘oldest town’. Archaeology Ireland Spring 2007:8‐10 O’Brien, E. 1984. Late PrehistoricEarly Historic Ireland: the burial evidence reviewed. Unpublished M.Phil. Thesis, National University of Ireland, University College Dublin. O’Brien, E. 1999. PostRoman Britain to Anglo Saxon England: burial Practices Reviewed. BAR British Series 289. Oxford: Archeopress. Parker Pearson, M. 1999. The Archaeology Of Death And Burial. Stroud: Sutton. Raftery, B. 1981. Iron Age Burials in Ireland. In O’Corrain, D. (ed.) Irish Antiquity. Cork. 173‐204. Swan, L. 1983. Enclosed ecclesiastical sites and their relevance to settlement patterns of the first millennium A.D. In Reeves‐Smyth, T. and Hamond, F. (ed.) Landscape Archaeology in Ireland. BAR British Series 116. 269‐280. Oxford: Archaeopress. Thomas, T. 1971. The early Christian archaeology of north Britain. London and New York. Tourunen, A 2007 The Faunal Remains from Carrowkeel, Co Galway Unpublished Technical Report by Headland Archaeology Ltd. for Galway County Council. Wilkins, B. 2007. N6 Galway to Ballinasloe Scheme, Contract 2. Final Report on archaeological investigations at Site A024/1, an enclosure ditch and cemetery in the townland of Carrowkeel, Co. Galway. Unpublished technical report by Headland Archaeology Ltd. for Galway County Council. Wilkins, B and Lalonde, S. 2008. An early medieval cemetery settlement enclosure at Carrowkeel, Co. Galway. Journal of Irish Archaeology. XVII, 57‐83.
Slide 1 – Location of Carrowkeel, Co. Galway.
Slide 2 – Crouched inhumation within terminus of ditch, supine east-west burial and foetal burial close to the surface.
Slide 3 – Site plan and cemetery
Slide 4 – Site in relation to surrounding topography
Slide 5 – Schematic diagram of cemetery Phasing
Slide 6 – Cemetery Phase I
Slide 7 – Cemetery Phase II
Slide 8 – Cemetery Phase II and IV
Slide 9 – The location of Killeen cemeteries
Slide 10 – Place name evidence for Killeens surrounding Carrowkeel
Slide 11 - Swan, L. 1983. Enclosed ecclesiastical sites and their relevance to settlement patterns of the first millennium A.D.In Reeves-Smyth, T. and Hamond, F. (eds.) Landscape Archaeology in Ireland. BAR British Series 116.
Slide 12 – Early medieval Settlement and society (Wood 1821: 269).
Slide 13 - Distribution of Early Christian sites in the barony of Garrycastle, Co. Offaly, highlighting the relationship between lay and ecclesiaitical elements of society. (Stout1997)
Slide 14 - Model of the inter-relationships of ringfort dwelling freemen and the mutually advantageous links between ecclesiastical and secular settlement. (Stout 1997: 124; Myteum 1992: 12).
Slide 15 – Triple Burial
Slide 16 and 17 – Unorthodox burial practices
Appendix – Paper Abstracts Breaking boundaries: archaeology at the edge Hannah Cobb (University of Manchester), Oliver Harris (University of Cambridge) and Phil Richardson (University of Newcastle) Contact: Hannah.Cobb@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk Boundaries appear to be everywhere in archaeology, they define our discipline (we are not anthropology ‐ or are we? We are not history ‐ or are we?), they define our sites, our study areas and our periods. Boundaries delineate the borders between professionals and amateurs, excavators and academics, scientists and theorists. More than this they define the categories of material culture we encounter, the bodies we excavate and the lives we write about; they are omnipresent in archaeology. On the one hand it might be tempting to dismiss boundaries as essentially modern aspects of Western thought, as people have tried to do with the notion of the bounded individual, but where does this leave our notions of past and present, of us and them? If there are no boundaries how can we write about the past at all? When excavating sites we often encounter evidence that people worked hard to create boundaries between different categories of people, places, things and, perhaps, worlds. These are conceptual as well as physical boundaries that seem to insist on considerations of inside, outside, surface and depth. Are there ways of understanding these boundaries, however, that do not require us to draw on our own experience of the city, state or nation? Are there ways of thinking about boundaries as permeable, flexible and fluid that can challenge not only how we write about the past but how we write about our discipline and ourselves? How do concepts of liminality fit in with this? Archaeology, it seems to us, is perfectly positioned to ask these questions and to begin to provide answers. Within such a broad theme almost any area is opened up for study, but this session would particularly welcome papers that address any of the following themes: 1) How do boundaries define and divide our discipline in the present, and what are the risks of challenging these boundaries? In doing so do we endanger archaeology itself? What would an archaeology without boundaries, say between different periods or types of monument, be like? 2) How might physical and conceptual boundaries have worked in the past? How does our current thinking about boundaries prejudice our understanding of how past space was negotiated and how else might we consider practice within and at the edge of these bounded spaces? 3) How were the boundaries of human bodies and personal identities policed, or deliberately broken down in the past, and what were the consequences of this? What was the role of material culture in this? How do our modern understandings of all boundaries impact upon our thinking about the body in archaeology?
Part I: disciplinary boundaries: Discussant: Brian Boyd, Columbia University A cyborgian archaeology Anne Tiballi, Binghamton University Contemporary archaeological debates on materiality, agency, and the possibility of identifying 'individuals' in the past all hinge in some part on the quality of 'Selfness', a unitary identity bound within the confines of the body. Bodies are evidence of past selves, and provide a vehicle through which to enact agency, the means by which to experience the world, or a blank page upon which can be marked the cultural signifiers of rank, affiliation, and other expressions of identity. Interactions between bodies/selves and other objects, human, animal or material, always presuppose this unified 'Self'. The concept of the cyborg was introduced by feminist philosopher Donna Haraway in an effort to deconstruct the social relations of science and technology in advanced industrial societies of the late 20th century. Though her application of the cyborg was limited to this context, her work does offer key insights for archaeologists. Cyborgs call into question the fundamental, ontological distinction between Self and Other, a dualism that generates the further distinctions of mind and body, culture and nature, whole and part, natural and artificial, maker and made, agent and acted upon. They confuse boundaries that we take as self‐evident, and have carried with us in our investigations of the past, recreating boundaries where they might not have existed. Drawing from philosophy and feminist theory, this paper will examine the utility of Donna Caraway's cyborg as a metaphor and model for the ways in which archaeology could break away from the idea of the unitary identity and formulate a new subject as partial, conditional, in some instances collective, and at all times permanently unclosed. Life, death and identity: bodies as boundaries Karina Croucher (University of Liverpool) What does a boundary do? It divides space, time, concepts, material, matter, and so on... In this paper the body as a boundary is considered; in what ways does the physical body define who we are? What role does the boundary between ourselves and others play in identity construction? And significantly, how are these differences
respected or transcended through the mortuary arena? This paper will discuss these themes and questions in relation to mortuary practices from the Neolithic Near East, where secondary burials, fragmented bodies, the re‐use and circulation of bodily parts, and the body's relationship with animals and material culture are evident, asking if and how the body as a boundary is a relevant concept in the mortuary domain. Exploring the relational boundaries of body and site Oliver Harris (University of Cambridge) One aspect of modernity is that both bodies and places have largely been conceived of as bounded entities, secured, through analogy with nation states, by the regular policing of their borders. The schemes of knowledge that have produced the security of one area have in turn helped define the boundary of the other. These discourses have permeated into the past too, until recently in archaeological accounts bodies were bounded, as were the places that they inhabited: individuals moving from node to node in a pre‐generated network of inhabited sites. These notions are now rightly under critique. Yet one area that has not been considered in detail is how concepts of bodily and spatial boundaries might still have interwoven in the past. Did the ways in which bodies experienced places effect how the boundaries of both person and locale were constituted? Do permeable sites mean permeable people, for example? Perhaps the reverse, do bodies that were exposed, parted and fragmented suggest a conception of locales that were also separable and transferable? Or, unlike the present, might these discourses have little to do with one another, independent variables within the cosmologies and socialities of the past? This paper will explore these ideas in relation to one particular class of monuments of the British Neolithic, causewayed enclosures, and the bodies that inhabited them. If it weren't for those pesky kids: the spatial segregation of children in an early medieval cemetery enclosure. Brendon Wilkins, Headland Archaeology Ltd. Death confronts us with the ultimate boundary through which we all inexorably pass. According to Derrida, awareness of our own mortality calls forth other intangible boundaries, such as ethical constraints to our freedom and the moral indelibility of our actions. Death is the decisive end point from which the legacy of our behaviour is irrevocably judged. It compels us to take personal responsibility, and this is perhaps what Benjamin Franklin was alluding when he wrote "In this world nothing could be said to be certain except death and taxes". What then of the troublesome dead ‐ those who lay beyond normal social categories or through their own deeds offend the very social order. In later Medieval Ireland, strangers, suicides, or unrepentant murderers were rarely buried in consecrated ground. Unbaptised children were also treated differently in death, interred in Killeen
cemeteries ‐ liminal, clandestine places often reusing the early Medieval settlement enclosures that had long since fallen out of use. The origin of this practice is often assumed to be associated with the adoption of Christianity, the Limbus Infantus of the Medieval church that decreed baptism to be the threshold through which all must pass before entering Christian society, and without which incorporation into the society of the dead was impossible. This paper assesses the origins of this practice drawing on a recently excavated early Medieval settlement cemetery from Carrowkeel, Co. Galway. The cemetery was in use for over 700 years, and the spatial segregation of children can be recognised in the early phases of the site. Was this segregation a precursor to the later Medieval practice of Killeen burial? Did the adoption of Christianity elaborate the pre‐existing boundaries of an early Medieval society obsessed with status in life and its continuity into death? To understand how these nuanced conceptual and physical boundaries worked in the past, this paper begins by addressing the boundaries that divide our discipline in the present. Using Carrowkeel as a case study, this project illustrates how a multi‐disciplinary team of specialists can work together to bridge the perceived gap between humanities and science‐based research, and how this can be delivered within a time‐bound development schedule. Working at the water's edge: being in the world beyond land, water and liminality Hannah Cobb, University of Manchester Jesse Ransley, University of Southampton Waterways, lakes and seas hold a unique position in the archaeological imagination. Their ability to divide and connect, to be both the centre and the edge of people's worlds means that the material responses they have elicited in the past and the present are understandably diverse. Yet we still tend to approach the interface between land and water as a boundary, to be crossed, in order to move from one state to another. Thus, one recurring theme in the literature is that of waterways and shorelines as liminal and therefore either peripheral/marginal or transformational. In this paper it is to this notion that we would like to turn. We argue that the liminal nature of watery places is something which has always been assumed yet rarely theorised. As such, drawing upon two very diverse, archaeological and anthropological examples, from the backwaters of present day Kerala, southern India, and from the island archipelagos of Mesolithic western Scotland, we will consider what liminality may really mean in these contexts. How is this transformative understanding of the boundaries between land and water and of waterways constructed and is it liminal at all? Or is the propensity to see waterways and watery places as liminal, as divisive, transformative boundaries, simply a product of our modern, western and inherently land‐based understanding of the world? Does it simply reflect our conception of land and water as opposing binary forces rather other understandings of the everyday permeability of these categories? By exploring these dynamic, often fluid and intimately connecting
examples of waterways and watery landscapes, we will suggest that in these cases at least, the largest boundaries exist not in the realities of such waterways but in our own conceptions of them. Bounded islands / connecting sea? : different perspectives on Scottish islands Joanna Wright, University of Manchester This paper will begin by briefly addressing the issue of how the physical and conceptual boundaries of islands may have been understood in the past and how this has affected our interpretation of these places in the present. A number of factors, from an inherited notion through Western literature and media of islands as 'the other', to the birds‐eye view given by modern maps, have shaped the way we perceive of islands, a notion strongly challenged today. Our perception of islands as bounded units is in part due to our perceptions and experiences of the sea itself as a barrier or isolator of islands from mainland. Using examples from the ethnographic and archaeological record of evidence for both ancient and modern seafaring and island/mainland contact, it will be demonstrated that people's relationship with the sea was, and still is, very different to that of the majority of the Western world today. The sea, far from dividing islands, often connects them, allowing the dissemination of ideas, objects and people. Such connections are traceable throughout both small island groups and over greater distances, and demonstrate varying degrees of contact or boundedness between different parts of islands and over the sea. Indeed, connections and boundaries often exist that are not immediately discernible to the outsider. This paper will therefore explore these aspects of water‐bounded islands and surrounding sea before applying them to a case study from the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Western Isles of Scotland and beyond. Sharing space for art: a crosscommunity collaborative project in Donegal Pass and Lower Ormeau, South Belfast. Katie Keenan, Columbia What is "Shared Space" in a city that is segregated by sectarian boundaries? In Belfast, Northern Ireland, working class communities of different religious backgrounds continue to be divided by both physical and conceptual borders, even as the government pumps funding into various "cross‐community" initiatives. This paper will discuss how the participants of one such initiative attempt to adhere to these nebulous concepts in order to procure funding, while they continue to negotiate the actual boundaries that restrict movement and communication in their daily lives.
Beating the bounds: time, space and the plurality of enclosure in Prehistoric Scotland Phil Richardson (Newcastle University) This paper aims to address the sessions concern that current thinking about boundaries prejudices our understanding of how past space was negotiated. Boundaries in this sense are seen in solitarist terms, concerning the division and enclosure of space for different, singular, purposes. The starting point for the majority of current archaeological understandings of boundaries is a very Modern one. Namely the universalisation of a way of imagining space; an image of space as already divided, separate and bounded. This representation of space produces narratives that construct a particular form of ordering and organising space which fails to acknowledge the multiplicties, fractures and dynamism of experienced boundaries. The aim of this paper is not to suggest that spatial order is unworthy of study or, more importantly, was of no concern in the past, but to suggest that the disciplinary, performative and aestheticised single purpose spaces dominant in the discourse fail to account for the mulitple understandings such ordering of space created and contested. The illusion of divided or bounded spaces having a single or unique purpose is therefore divisive, creating 'boundaries' between an 'archaeological' past and the plural, multiple ways in which spaces and boundaries were and are actually experienced. Case studies from prehistoric Scotland will explore and foreground alternative and contradictory classifications of boundaries that attempt to transcend these issues by exploring the relational qualities of space, time and materials as experienced through the physicality of lived landscapes that were never impermeable. Papers: Part II: disciplinary boundaries: Discussant: John Barrett, University of Sheffield Undercutting the Roots of the Great Divides Ian Russell, University College Dublin & University of Notre Dame Andrew Cochrane, Cardiff University Modern social sciences seem to desire division. Even the reductive conception of self as individual carries the meaning of that which is not divisible. A pluralistic modern understanding of individualism would depict us ascribing empowerment and agency to a fundamental truth of an individual. Diverse models, however, cause a multiplicity of power structures rather than an egalitarian undercutting of authority. Within a competition between different models and structures relying on the politics of projection (e.g. separation, exclusion and inclusion), perhaps it is time to explore more subtle nuances of lived experience through understandings of contrast and differentiation.
This paper questions the notion of a fundamental dividuality in the world. It will critique the arborescent models of modern and contemporary social scientific theory, elaborate on Deleuze and Guattari's rhizomatic models and develop a mycelial metaphor for phenomena. Through a consideration of mycelial theory, we seek to undercut the roots of arborescent epistemic structures and the resulting divisions between socialized objects. Specific anthropological and archaeological case studies will be used to apply mycelial theory in a revision of knowledge as a capricious phenomenon which is eternally negotiable, remediated and whose creativity and energy grows from the decay of its own subject material. The Locus of 'The Past'? Multitemporality, Quasiabsence, Percolation Christopher Whitmore, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World Brown University Breaks, ruptures, revolutions; all limn the past in order to transcend it and, thereby, locate it elsewhere. How else are we to know it as a 'foreign country'? These bounded lands, made up of successively delimited epochs, replete with beginnings, middles and ends, form the topographies of the *past‐as‐it‐was*; as 'societies once lived it.' However, this topographical image of the past *as lived elsewhere*‐an image that runs to the heart of archaeology and notions of heritage‐is not an ontological reality. Here, archaeologists begin with (old) things and mnemonic traces but we often regard the past as absent. A symmetrical archaeology holds humans to be more than living beings solely. If we are to understand relations between humans/things/our fellow creatures without presupposing the nature of those entities (imposing boundaries), then we can no longer relegate previous achievements to an outmoded, outdated, obsolete past *a priori*. The achievements of past societies (groups composed of humans, things and companion species) are folded into the fabric of the contemporary world. These *quasi‐absent pasts* are bewilderingly complex in their multi‐temporal composition. Understood in terms of nonlinear movements and turbulences, rather than boundaries and unidirectional progressions, the non‐absent past requires a different image of time as a percolating multiplicity. Several multi‐sited case studies from Greece and elsewhere will be deployed to illustrate these points. Archaeology: Understanding the Present Past Gonzalo J. Rodriguez Carpio, Binghamton University This paper is an attempt to understand archaeology as a discipline located at the intersection between the past and the present, the present past, and related to historical understanding of material culture. It is based on some hermeneutical and phenomenological notions.
The main idea is that the enduring presence of monuments is shaped by the reception of them along their history and simultaneously they have effects in history. With that premise in mind, the aim of an archaeological research would be to understand historically those receptions and effects. It would also include a self questioning of the archaeologists understanding because they are both receptors of the monuments and their action would originate some effects in monuments history. An immediate consequence of placing the reception‐effect relation as an aim of archaeology is the inclusion of different time scales and multiple sources of data from several disciplines. This situation raises the issue about the boundaries of archaeology. If archaeological inquiry expands to other fields, like anthropology, like history, is it still archaeology? Why? Having "unbounded" archaeology, in some sense, how is it defined? Does it rely on its relation to material culture?, Is it related to archaeologists' practice? Both of them? In order to sketch some answers, the ideas exposed would be illustrated with examples from Peruvian archaeology and other relevant references from elsewhere. The role of boundaries in Prehistory's studies: the case of University of Porto' team Sérgio Alexandre Gomes, University of Porto (Portugal) During 1970's, prehistoric studies at the University of Porto has started an establishment process that would led it into a consolidate status, becoming an obligatory subject inside History and forming an independent field of research capable to manage the study of local and national prehistory. In these almost 40 years, the researchers of this institution had developed several research lines in which is possible to recognize different bounded categories: geographical, chronological, architectural and so on. The analysis of the way these archaeologist had delimitated their action as researchers and the possibilities which they had considered in their studies allows us to establish an enquiry concerning the representation they had made on the boundaries they had used to fix and control their actions. The analysis that I aim to do on the paths and interrogations of this research group has two kinds of inquiry: I'll try to problematize in a historiography sense the circumstances in which these archaeologists had taken their options and I also intend to focus the way they had represented archaeology as science and themselves as translators or performers concerning a specific kind or group of materials. In this way, this approach constitutes a possibility to ask about the boundaries which these archaeologists had used and its consequences to archaeology as a practice. By doing this, I'll argue that archaeology, as any other knowledge, should take its boundaries not as walls which surrounds an essence that provides archaeology an identity, but as a source of interrogation which offers ways of turning thinkable something that in previous moment was understood as a transgression to archaeologist's practice.
Border Crossings: Archaeology and Border Theory David Mullin, University of Reading Recent debates in archaeology and anthropology have brought into focus the role of material culture in forming, maintaining and negotiating identity. Cultural expression is no longer seen as reflecting the presence of monolithic, homogenous social groups, but is rather a means of "buying into" social relationships and beliefs or expressing and negotiating ethnic identities. Studies of the relationships between ethnicity and material culture have suggested that culture does not passively reflect social relationships and organisation, but that there is a recursive relationship between the two: shared beliefs and commitments, shared memories and engaging in joint action have a role in forming identity and community as much as shared traditions of material production and architecture. Social groupings may be viewed as communities which are held together by a constructed identity based on inclusion and exclusion: choosing to accept or reject certain aspects of material culture, the way in which this was produced, or how it was integrated within existing frameworks, may have had key roles in the construction of these communities. The decision about which sets of practices were adopted or rejected may have not only have established identity based on difference, but may also have been used to produce consensus and community, establishing boundaries and borders around and between different social groups. The field of border studies is relatively new, and has, until recently, focussed on nation states and international political boundaries (particularly that between the United States and Mexico). Of late, the study of borders as physical entities has given way to the examination of concepts concerning symbolic borders; visible and invisible lines; regional and local lived experience; landscape and identity. The idea of the border as a discursive practise which creates and negotiates meanings, norms and values has emerged, and the ways in which people and institutions construct, police and cross borders, both imaginary and real, has formed a focus of research across the arts and social sciences. Archaeology has much to contribute to these debates and is in a unique position to both add breadth to the study of (physical and mental) borders and boundaries, as well as adding historical depth. However, although anthropologists have identified the relevance of border studies to their field, archaeologists have been rather slower to exploit the opportunities the approach offers. Rather, the focus has been on the construction of ethnic and gendered identities and, although there is overlap between the study of borders and bordering practices and approaches to ethnicity and gender, these have been under‐ explored.
Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Relativism; objectivity and the possibilities of plural archaeologies Phil Richardson, Newcastle University This paper aims to confront the perceptual boundary of relativism in order to undermine and challenge a perceived conservatism in archaeological practice. Relativism is sometimes identified (usually by its critics) as the thesis that all points of view are equally valid. This position is often taken by opponents of interpretations and practices that either diverge widely from established orthodoxies or offer multiple conclusions. As such relativism is held up as a straw man whereby jejune generalisations can be made of plural and reflective archaeologies; denying them their validity without having to interrogate their epistemological potential. The contention here is that we need not fear the label relativist and that the conceptions of objectivity, relativism and reason inhibit the production of a truly reflexive archaeology where pluralism and multivocality allow us to revel in disjuncture and the indeterminacy of the archaeological record. This is not a position whereby everything goes and that all arguments are equal, rather it is a position that acknowledges the situated contextual nature of the production of archaeological knowledge. Through not recognising and exploring our own position, our engagements with each other, the material remains of the past and the 'public', a boundary is created between the archaeologist and the past and the archaeologist and the present; a boundary which denies new forms of knowledge and new theoretical positions. These issues will be explored through an examination of a particular 'public' archaeology project and the challenges to archaeological method and theory that the 'public' volunteers made, enriching the whole project. Unbounded boundaries as symbolic constructs: revisiting "culture contact" in archaeology Sevil Baltali (Yeditepe University, Istanbul) The concept of "cultural boundaries" has been criticized because they create bounded, naturalized and essential entities. The criticisms stem from the views that cultural boundaries are ever‐changing, plural and constructed actively by people within societies. I revisit and discuss the problem of cultural boundaries within the archaeological studies of "culture contact". The very name "culture contact" presupposes that there are indeed different cultures interacting despite the recent critiques of the concepts of "culture" and "boundary". How can we think about "culture contact"without the concepts of "culture" and "boundary"? Do we have to altogether abandon these concepts or can we constructively re‐theorize them? How can we theorize "cultural contact" with plural and fluid boundaries?
In this paper I will discuss these questions with reference to the well‐known archaeological culture contact case from fourth millennium B.C.E ancient northern Mesopotamia. I focus on the ways northern Mesopotamian societies constructed symbolic divisions of 'cultural difference' through an analysis of the meanings of southern‐style elements within northern contexts. I argue that an investigation of culturally particular ways of envisioning and representing the "own" and the "foreign" should involve a relationship between analytic and indigenous categories of boundaries that can be discontinuous and incomplete.
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