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In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

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Tomb  

John R. Lenz, Robert Hillenbrand, Catherine B. Asher, Puay-Peng Ho, Nicholas Penny and Chris Brooks

A place of burial or the marking of a grave. As the former it can take the form of a chamber, vault, Crypt, Sarcophagus or shrine (see Shrine), while as the latter it can take the form of a monument or Mausoleum, usually built of stone, erected over a grave to commemorate the dead. The wide variety of tombs, from the simplest multiple-grave burial mound to the most elaborate architectural construction, has been determined by historical, social and geographical factors. Tombs are associated particularly with cultures that bury rather than cremate their dead; for this reason there was little incidence of tomb construction in the Indian subcontinent or South-east Asia before the spread to these lands of Islam in the 12th and 14th centuries respectively. Whatever the case, tombs reveal much about the civilizations that produced them....