AZKARATE, A. (2011): Rethinking the margins around the Western Pyrenees during 6th And 7th centuries A.D., in E. Baquedano (Ed.), “711. Arqueología e Historia entre dos mundos”, Vol. 1, Zona arqueológica 15, Alcalá de Henares, Museo Arqueológico Regional: 241-253.

Azkarate, A. 2011
Título: Rethinking the margins around the Western Pyrenees during 6th And 7th centuries A.D.
Referencia: Zona Arqueológica nº 15, 711 Arqueología e Historia entre dos mundos
Volumen: 1
Páginas: 241-253
Editorial: E. BAQUEDANO

This brief study takes as its starting point the theoretical ideas of Post-colonial Studies toreconsider the cemeteries of Late Antiquity discovered in the last twenty years to the south of theWestern Pyrenees, presenting new approaches that may contribute to the debate surroundingtheir historical interpretation and contextualization.

Special attention is paid to the process of redefining the concept of the border,understood as an imagined, unstable and permeable area of movement; as a space for negotiation, alliance, exchange; as a place in-between cultures; as ‘margins’ whose signifyingquality is the “emergence of new groups and identities”.

The chief conclusions reached by the study are: a) A group of cemeteries exists to thesouth of the Western Pyrenees (dating from the 6 th- 7th centuries A.D.) whose grave goods andfunerary deposits present materials whose characteristics are predominantly continental rather than peninsular in nature. This is empirically demonstrable and therefore indisputable; b) Thecemeteries are located within a geographical area which should not be identified by territorialboundaries, either ancient or current; c) The archaeological recording of such cemeteries cannotbe used to extrapolate ethnic associations of any kind. It is therefore considered inappropriate toinvolve specific ethnic groups, and even more so to offer arguments combining ethnic anddynastic concepts; d) However, archaeological recording of this kind can be seen to reflect thepresence of specific identities, if understood as resulting from processes of negotiation in theconstruction (and reconstruction) of the ‘self’; e) Such processes of negotiation are particularlyactive in border contexts, that is in areas with a high concentration of signs, of interculturalnegotiation and transformation. In this regard, it should be noted that such contexts constitute themost relevant element for interpretation; f) The high percentage of weaponry present in the gravegoods of these cemeteries should not be overlooked. The adoption of the working hypothesis thatsuch a presence reflects the importance of war in the reconfiguration of certain identities isconsidered more plausible by the author of this study than opposing hypotheses defended by other researchers

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