Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Alsatian Life and Death

Cemetery archaeology was a key part of my research for The Ax and the Vase, and even long since completing that phase of the writing, such finds are still of interest.  This one is intriguing for the sheer period of its artifactory – literally spanning millennia, from the Neolithic and up to (a favorite) the Merovingian period.  The evidence points not only to death, but to life – this site was inhabited, at least at times during the astonishing span through which it was also a gravesite.

Our fearless blogger is in fine tone for this post, and I always enjoy reading The History Blog, but on the colorful comment that “It’s the Merovingian (5th-8th century A.D.) finds that take my cake,” I would, inevitably, agree.  The detail at that level of the finds is arresting and deeply informative about the life and the diversity of the people.  We find an Alan denizen amongst this period of the graves, a woman showing a practiced deformation of the skull (if you’re not squicked out by that idea, the link showing an image of what she would have looked like is not the slightest bit ick-inducing – lifelike and instructive in what “beauty” once meant to the Huns).  The maimings human beings have always inflicted upon our bodies in the name of perfection have always fascinated me (cranial modification, foot binding, neck rings, tattoos, plastic surgery, piercings, you name it) – though to make it a screed is the topic for a different post.

Watch for a small link at the very bottom of the post, which takes you to a gallery of images of the burials and the treasures.  While the captioning is en francais, it’s simply beautiful photography.  One of the shots, of bones and a skull in a plastic basket, set inside a very deep perspective shot of a church under excavation, is eerily perfect composition.  It brings the science, the site, and the spirituality together perfectly.


Heather said...

Found this blog while looking for historical fiction about clothilde- and just love it. You've blogged about so many things that interest me (I'm an abiding medievalist), I will be reading for the next few hours. Thank you. :)

DLM said...

Wow, and thank YOU! Cloti cuts a very wide swath though my novel (still querying agents on the manuscript), so stay tuned ... :)

Thank you VERY much for reading and for the comment.