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Lipids, funerals, gifts and feasts. Organic residue analysis on Merovingian ceramics from the Elversele burial field (Belgium)

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Abstract
During the excavation of a Merovingian cemetery in Elversele (Temse, Belgium), archaeologists encountered nine burials each with one earthenware vessel clearly deposited in the graves, dating to the 6th-7th century AD. Vessels as grave goods are often linked with funerary feasting in Merovingian contexts, the contents of the vessels than acing as funerary meals in gift-giving relationships. However, as the custom of depositing vessels seems to diminish throughout the 6th and 7th century, it has been suggested that such vessels in most cases functioned only symbolically and that they held no actual foodstuffs. In order to verify or debunk this hypothesis, eight of the nine vessels from Elversele were sampled for organic residue analysis. Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) was used on the archaeological samples and various organic compounds related to foodstuffs were identified. This was complemented with an archaeological assessment of the pottery. Traces of animal fats and possibly also vegetal matter have been attested and, together with the results of the archaeological assessment, form clear evidence for the deposition of foodstuffs in these graves.
Keywords
GC-MS, Merovingian, Burial archaeology, Lipids, Biomarkers, LONG-CHAIN KETONES, POTTERY VESSELS, PYROLYSIS, PRODUCTS, ACIDS

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MLA
Van de Velde, Thomas, et al. “Lipids, Funerals, Gifts and Feasts. Organic Residue Analysis on Merovingian Ceramics from the Elversele Burial Field (Belgium).” JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS, vol. 24, 2019, pp. 30–38, doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.12.015.
APA
Van de Velde, T., Deschepper, E., Mestdagh, B., De Clercq, W., Vandenabeele, P., & Lynen, F. (2019). Lipids, funerals, gifts and feasts. Organic residue analysis on Merovingian ceramics from the Elversele burial field (Belgium). JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS, 24, 30–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.12.015
Chicago author-date
Van de Velde, Thomas, Ewoud Deschepper, Bert Mestdagh, Wim De Clercq, Peter Vandenabeele, and Frederic Lynen. 2019. “Lipids, Funerals, Gifts and Feasts. Organic Residue Analysis on Merovingian Ceramics from the Elversele Burial Field (Belgium).” JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS 24: 30–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.12.015.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van de Velde, Thomas, Ewoud Deschepper, Bert Mestdagh, Wim De Clercq, Peter Vandenabeele, and Frederic Lynen. 2019. “Lipids, Funerals, Gifts and Feasts. Organic Residue Analysis on Merovingian Ceramics from the Elversele Burial Field (Belgium).” JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS 24: 30–38. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.12.015.
Vancouver
1.
Van de Velde T, Deschepper E, Mestdagh B, De Clercq W, Vandenabeele P, Lynen F. Lipids, funerals, gifts and feasts. Organic residue analysis on Merovingian ceramics from the Elversele burial field (Belgium). JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS. 2019;24:30–8.
IEEE
[1]
T. Van de Velde, E. Deschepper, B. Mestdagh, W. De Clercq, P. Vandenabeele, and F. Lynen, “Lipids, funerals, gifts and feasts. Organic residue analysis on Merovingian ceramics from the Elversele burial field (Belgium),” JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS, vol. 24, pp. 30–38, 2019.
@article{8587366,
  abstract     = {During the excavation of a Merovingian cemetery in Elversele (Temse, Belgium), archaeologists encountered nine burials each with one earthenware vessel clearly deposited in the graves, dating to the 6th-7th century AD. Vessels as grave goods are often linked with funerary feasting in Merovingian contexts, the contents of the vessels than acing as funerary meals in gift-giving relationships. However, as the custom of depositing vessels seems to diminish throughout the 6th and 7th century, it has been suggested that such vessels in most cases functioned only symbolically and that they held no actual foodstuffs. In order to verify or debunk this hypothesis, eight of the nine vessels from Elversele were sampled for organic residue analysis. Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) was used on the archaeological samples and various organic compounds related to foodstuffs were identified. This was complemented with an archaeological assessment of the pottery. Traces of animal fats and possibly also vegetal matter have been attested and, together with the results of the archaeological assessment, form clear evidence for the deposition of foodstuffs in these graves.},
  author       = {Van de Velde, Thomas and Deschepper, Ewoud and Mestdagh, Bert and De Clercq, Wim and Vandenabeele, Peter and Lynen, Frederic},
  issn         = {2352-409X},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS},
  keywords     = {GC-MS,Merovingian,Burial archaeology,Lipids,Biomarkers,LONG-CHAIN KETONES,POTTERY VESSELS,PYROLYSIS,PRODUCTS,ACIDS},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {30--38},
  title        = {Lipids, funerals, gifts and feasts. Organic residue analysis on Merovingian ceramics from the Elversele burial field (Belgium)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.12.015},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2019},
}

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