Author: P. Vingo 1
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  • 1 University of Turin Department of Historical Studies via Giolitti 21/e 10123 Turin Italy
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In recent years the ideological premises and practices of early medieval funerary rituals, which are extremely complex and largely still unexplored, have become a highly topical subject in the field of European historiography. Indeed, from Late Antiquity onwards the presence and integration of different cultural traditions, and the rapid establishment and spread of Christianity led to the development of new social models of behaviour, which are not always easy to decipher, in terms of both settlements and the relationship with death and the forms in which it was represented. While archaeological research allows us to make contact with the material results of these new models of behaviour, it is not always straightforward — particularly for funerary practices — to identify the ensuing system of values and cultural models. In some cases we may suppose that material forms of apparently similar rituals are actually the fruit of different motivations and mental universes. Consequently, there is a strong need to acquire a better understanding of the process of reciprocal acculturation that occurred in the Roman-Byzantine and Germanic worlds between the 5th and 7th centuries in the sphere of funerary rituals and, in particular, the relationship between burials and places of worship, which appears to be the area able to offer the most useful clues regarding the methods and dating of the acquisition of Roman customs — at least on an outward level — by the Langobard elite.

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