Feasting the Dead

June 2007
8 black and white, 7 line illustrations
197 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Anglo-Saxon Studies
ISBN: 9781843831426
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Feasting the Dead

Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon Burial Rituals

Christina Lee

An examination of the frequently elaborate rituals of food and feasting in Anglo-Saxon funeral rites.
Anglo-Saxons were frequently buried with material artefacts, ranging from pots to clothing to jewellery, and also with items of food, while the funeral ritual itself was frequently marked by feasting, sometimes at the graveside. The book examines the place of food and feasting in funerary rituals from the earliest period to the eleventh century, considering the changes and transformations that occurred during this time, drawing on a wide range of sources, from archaeological evidence to the existing texts. It looks in particular at representations of funerary feasting, how it functions as a tool for memory, and sheds light on the relationship between the living and the dead.

CHRISTINA LEE is a lecturer in the School of English Studies at the University of Nottingham.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781846155420), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Eordan wæstmas: a feast for the living
Bare bones: animals in cemeteries
Pots, buckets and cauldrons: the inventory of feasting
Last orders?
The grateful dead: feasting and memory
Feasting between the margins


An ambitious and important endeavour. [It] will be of value to scholars of Anglo-Saxon burial, but will also find a place on the bookshelves of those with an interest in ancient diet and its social context. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY

A welcome addition to the growing number of studies on feasting in general and on its functions with regard to death and burial in particular. [The author] has provided us with a valuable new framework for understanding the relationship between the living and the dead. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

Shed[s] new light on the important question of how the material found in Anglo-Saxon accompanied burials, and its spatial arrangement, relates to the rituals performed at the time of deposition, and thus what inferences can legitimately be made about such rituals from excavated burial remains. Brings an important body of material to scholarly attention and sets it illuminatingly in context.[.] Rewarding read, not only for historians of diet but also for scholars in the fields of burial archaeology and Anglo-Saxon literature. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

Also in Series