Early Medieval Europe was surprisingly well connected, study reveals

While Early Medieval Europe is often viewed as a time of cultural stagnation, a new study claims that this may not be the case after all.

Researchers have revealed that new ideas spread rapidly through early Medieval Europe, creating a surprisingly unified culture.

In particular, the team found that the practice of burying the dead without grave goods spread through Western Europe faster than previously believed.

The findings suggest that Europe has been 'global' for over a millennium.

The practice of burying the dead without grave goods spread through Western Europe faster than previously believed. Pictured is one of the grave goods from the famous Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk, England

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The practice of burying the dead without grave goods spread through Western Europe faster than previously believed. Pictured is one of the grave goods from the famous Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk, England

WHAT ARE 'GRAVE GOODS'? 

Grave goods were objects placed with the dead at the time of burial and left with the body in the grave.

The objects tended to be personal possessions of the deceased, deposited for use in afterlife.

In a 2020 study, researchers from the University of Cambridge explained: 'Not all grave goods were the possessions of the deceased during life; some may have been gifts from the living to the dead. 

'Gift-giving was an important aspect of the funeral, as it helped mark the deceased's new role and change in social status.'

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In the study, researchers from the University of Cambridge examined how burial practices in Western Europe changed from the 6th to the 8th century AD.

In the 6th century, almost all burials included regionally-specific grave goods.

Grave goods were objects placed with the dead at the time of burial and left with the body in the grave.

The objects tended to be personal possessions of the deceased, deposited for use in afterlife.

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However, by the 8th

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