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Styles of Romano-British cremation and associated deposition in south-east England

Weekes, Jason Richard (2005) Styles of Romano-British cremation and associated deposition in south-east England. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86319) (KAR id:86319)


This thesis develops and tests an analytical method of delineating ritual styles within the context of a particular type of ritual sequence: Roman period cremation and associated deposition. Part one deals with theoretical issues, initially discussing the inherent problem of seeking `monolithic' meanings for ritual sequences, focussing attention on the reconstruction of ritual action from the archaeological record, and developing diagnostic indices (selection and modification of objects, temporal and spatial features) along which ritual sequences might be compared, and profiles of ritual styles at regional, local, site- and burial- level produced. A method that will take account not only of homogeneity but also diversity at these levels is proposed. Current theoretical debates on cremation and associated deposition are then re-evaluated. Finally the methodology used is outlined and discussed, with particular emphasis on transparency of analytical criteria. Parts two and three report findings, developing profiles of cremation and associated cremation burials from east Kent case studies focussed on Canterbury and comparative case studies from Colchester, Essex, and east London respectively. Part four compares the profiles generated in previous chapters, delineating homogeneity and diversity in ritual styles and meaning. Cremation practices appear to have been quite uniform, governed by the need for specialist knowledge and skill; there is some evidence however that pyre side ritual could be more diverse. The data suggest an overall increase in cremation burials in the second and third centuries, and while general traditions in certain components of burials are clear, so too is considerable and increasing diversity at local, and especially burial level in terms of accessories. Each ritual sequence seems to have had the capacity to incorporate region wide references, as well as many more diverse meanings contingent on the locality and even personality of ritual participants and those whose remains were afforded such treatment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Swift, Ellen Victoria
Thesis advisor: Ward, Anthony
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86319
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:50 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 15:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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