Marita Genesis

Burials in unblessed ground - victims of the medieval penal system. An archaeological-historical examination

Published: 2009-10-28 | DOI: 10.54799/LLKT9251

Abstract

In the Middle Ages and in modern time the path of a convicted person started with the public announcement of the sentence in a central place within the town, usually the market place in front of the town hall. Afterwards the condemned was lead to the place of execution outside of town. The mode of death sentence determined what happened to the body after execution. If decapitation or drowning was the order then it was an "honourable" sentence and the delinquent could depending on circumstances be buried in a cemetery. All other death sentences such as hanging, burning, wheeling, staking or boiling excluded perse a Christian burial because they were considered as "dishonourable". The flayed bodies were carelessly placed in the ground at the place of execution, often after being displayed publicly for weeks. With archaeological documentation they can still give evidence of the modes of
execution in medieval/modern time.

How to Cite

Genesis, Marita. 2009. “Burials in Unblessed Ground - Victims of the Medieval Penal System. An Archaeological-Historical Examination”. EAZ – Ethnographisch-Archaeologische Zeitschrift 50 (1/2):327-42. https://doi.org/10.54799/LLKT9251.
Erfurt, execution site Hansaplatz (former WDöll-Platz), features 101-106. Six buried individuals. Photo: Thuringian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments and Archaeology (TLDAJ, Weimar)
Erfurt, execution site Hansaplatz (former WDöll-Platz), features 101-106. Six buried individuals. Photo: Thuringian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments and Archaeology (TLDAJ, Weimar)
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