contributed to the production of food and clothing, childcare and the maintenance of land, as well as metalworkers and skilled labourers. Some of these individuals may have had their own families, and even their own households consisting of family, free associates and servants.
Many of these legal descriptions are contemporary with the early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, and so if they described family situations, and household responsibilities, it is not unreasonable to assume that we might see some evidence of these complexities within the archaeologicalrecord.
with a partly supernatural power, it was surely the boon of the whalebone itself that warranted the creation of such a time-consuming, high-status artefact.
As Vicki Ellen Szabo points out, ‘the material must matter, otherwise its origins would not have merited mention’. One must ‘question whether the material would have merited inscription if it had
been something more mundane; the archaeologicalrecord offers
few such examples’ and so the inscription on the front ‘implies that
the material itself is as fantastic as any of the magical iconography