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L'enfant au miroir des sépultures médiévales (Gaule, VIe-XIIe siècle)

Abstract : Between the 6th and 12th century AD in Gaul, we notice an important evolution of funeral rites and treatment of children graves, in parallel with a larger transformation of death space. Based on a multidisciplinary approach, combining the analysis of written sources (hagiographic and normative), archaeology and bioarchaeology, I reconstructed the spatial organization of children graves and burial rituals through the analysis of seven Merovingian cemeteries and nine churchyard burials, in use from the 6th to the 12th century. The development of a new method, which breaks down children distribution into "social" age groups (0-2, 3-7, 8-12, 13-17 years), enabled me to identify shifts and important stages during childhood around the age of one and seven years old. They highlight evolving social identity and present differently depending on the context. In Merovingian cemeteries, grave-goods were of better quality, and more diverse and numerous starting around eight years old, and gender was emphasized much more clearly. The analysis of hagiographic and normative sources dated to the 6th-8th centuries allows the link to puberty and starting adulthood. In churchyard burials, children graves were grouped together and space was structured around age, which seems to characterize the Carolingian period. Children under seven years old have been encountered in preferential areas located closer to church walls, a movement which persists until the end of the medieval period.
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Emilie Perez. L'enfant au miroir des sépultures médiévales (Gaule, VIe-XIIe siècle). Archéologie et Préhistoire. Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013NICE2037⟩. ⟨tel-00975133⟩

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