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13 papers by 16 leading archaeologists and historians of late antiquity and the early middle ages break new ground in their discussion, analysis and criticism of present interpretations of early medieval rituals and their material correlates. Some deal with rituals relating to death, life cycles and the circulation in other contexts of objects otherwise used in the burial ritual. Others are concerned with the symbolism and ideology of royal power, the formation of a political ideology east of the Rhine from the mid-5th century onwards, and penance rituals in relation to Carolingian episcopal discourse on ecclesiastical power and morale. All deal with the creation of new identities, cultures, norms and values, and their expression in new rituals and ideas from the period of the Great Migrations through the Later Roman Empire down to the society of Beowulf and the later Carolingians.