Figure 8 . The amount of individuals buried in each container , sorted per sex .
have been more burials from east to west than those that were found , because determination of orientation was not possible for all graves . Alternatively , it is possible that not much notice was given to the location or orientation of burial . Yet , this would be surprising , since several sources mention the importance of burial locations in the Middle Ages ( Binski 1996 , 34 ; Daniell 1997 , 79 ; Effros 1997 , 4-5 ; Parker Pearson 1999 , 14 ; Treffort 1996 , 153 ; 174 ). It seems more likely that people were buried at certain locations and in certain ways for a reason . This study suggests that there were small differences in the treatments of males and females , and clear differences in the popularity of different locations around the church . Some practices in Reusel were in accordance with those in other medieval societies , although others were clearly different . It confirms the existence of local variation in burial practices in this period . Apparently , people from local communities could , to a certain extent , give their own interpretation to Christian rituals .
Conclusion The study shows that several patterns appear in the distribution of graves and individuals across the cemetery . Some of these are similar to burial practices at other medieval sites , but some are different . The most remarkable patterns are the following : - The eastern side of the cemetery was the most densely populated area . This is also the location where almost all ladder coffins were found . - Males and females were buried unsegregated . Females were also buried in places that were considered important . - All burials are approximately orientated from west to east , except for three graves on the eastern side of the church , which are orientated from east to west . At least one of these was a woman .
The aforementioned patterns suggest that social differences between individuals were expressed by burial at different parts of the cemetery , and by burial in different types of graves and orientations . Only ladder coffins seem to have been reserved for particular people , and males and females were treated in a similar way . The clustering of ladder graves and the priest-like burial of females is unlike practices from other medieval cemeteries . The exact reasons for this variation are difficult to grasp . They could be related to a variety of reasons , including the period that the cemetery was in use or the wealth of the village . Although this study has answered some questions regarding medieval burials in the south of the Netherlands , it also raises new ones . Future research will help to acquire a better picture of medieval burial ritual , its social meaning , and local variations .
Acknowledgements The author would like to thank Frans Theuws and Andrea Waters-Rist for their support , as well as colleagues at the laboratory , friends and family for their feedback and help . Furthermore , the author would like to thank the Editorial Board and the peer reviewer for their useful feedback .
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