(Church Times) Burial sites show when the pagans died out

For the first time, archaeologists have been able to date the final phase of the Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England.

Although the rulers of most ofthe Anglo-Saxon kingdoms officially converted from paganism to Christianity at various times between AD597 and 655, some evidence now suggests that up to 20 per cent of the population still continued to maintain pagan-originating traditions, especially in terms of burial rites.

But new archaeological research, from a project funded by English Heritage, shows that the practice of the pagan burial tradition, namely the use of grave goods, came to an abrupt end in the 670s.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

2 comments on “(Church Times) Burial sites show when the pagans died out

  1. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    How very interesting – I just looked it up and the Venerable Bede is reckoned to have been born in 672/3 AD, so when he wrote about the Christianisation of the English Kingdoms, it was within the very recent living memory of his parents’ generation that the Christianisation of the country had been completed. He must have grown up with the stories from first hand sources, including those older monks in the monasteries in which he served. He therefore must have met the principal missionaries and figures involved including the former pagans or heard the reports from those who had spoken to them.

    This can only give his writing more immediacy, and explain the vigour and certainty of his commentary on these events.

  2. jhp says:

    Hard to know when paganism died out in Britain?
    It can be argued paganism has been thriving there
    for decades now.

    In all seriousness, I wish I could see the end of the
    article (it’s subscription only). But the Norse invasions
    after the 790s re-introduced paganism and promoted
    de-Christianization in the settled areas of Anglo-Saxon
    England. No material remains discovered could ever pinpoint
    definitely when was the last pagan shrine … only the last shrine
    we have discovered thus far.