BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Borders, burials, and the extended mind in Early Medieval England: Genesis A and Apple Down

    Bintley, Mike (2023) Borders, burials, and the extended mind in Early Medieval England: Genesis A and Apple Down. Open Library of Humanities Journal 9 (1), ISSN 2056-6700.

    51565.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

    Download (653kB) | Preview


    This article begins by considering the re-presentation of the Biblical landscape of the Binding of Isaac in the Old English text Genesis A. With reference to place-names, landscapes, and other texts, it demonstrates how this setting was presented as a place of cremation on a hilltop border. The poem may, for audiences living in the generations following the cessation of cremation burial, have served as a means of understanding earlier religious praxis. The article then considers a similar moment of cultural transition written into the conversion-era cemeteries at Apple Down in Sussex, similarly sited in a border region and on top of a hill. Here, a mixed-rite cremation and inhumation cemetery was succeeded by an inhumation cemetery set out in a novel fashion, likely reflecting changes in contemporary religious culture. Both the poem and the cemeteries at Apple Down, in marking these changes, can be understood within Material Engagement Theory, a theory of the Extended Mind, as ‘exograms’: material memory records external to the embodied human brain. The article considers both the poem and cemeteries in this light, and shows how exograms of various kinds might be used to assemble an exogrammar, here defined as a set of ideas distributed across one or more exograms. A framework of this kind, assembling evidence across a diverse range of material and textual sources, is presented as an adaptable method of investigation across disciplines in which various forms of evidence can be understood as residual components of embodied human minds.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Medieval and Early Modern Worlds
    Depositing User: Mike Bintley
    Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2023 13:03
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:54


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item