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Animals in burial contexts: an investigation of Norse rituals and human-animal relationships during the Vendel Period and Viking Age in Uppland, Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The deposition of animals in graves was an essential aspect of burial practice in Scandinavia during the Vendel Period and Viking Age (550–1050 AD). While this rite occurs in many different regions, it is most clearly observed in the boat-graves from the famous cemeteries in Swedish Uppland, such as Vendel and Valsgärde, as well as in a number of high-status cremation graves. Former studies have tended to interpret faunal remains from burial contexts as food offerings, diplomatic gifts or simply as sacrifices. These explanations place an emphasis on the importance of the human dead and imply that grave assemblages mainly served to accompany the deceased as a provision for the afterlife, or to illustrate power, status and identity among the living.

The master’s thesis presented here, comprises an analysis of animal depositions from both cremation and inhumation burials in Uppland. By applying the theory of agency, this study focuses on grave assemblages and human-animal relationships as a means of understanding burial practices. Instead of only paying attention to the type of bones and the animal species, it is equally important to consider the condition of the bones, their placement inside the grave and the placement of artefacts ascribed to certain animals in relation to the human dead. This is not only essential to decoding human-animal relationships as evident in burial practices, but also to understanding the many different processes that culminated in the deposition of animal bones in graves.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 121
Keywords [en]
human-animal relationships, burial ritual, Scandinavia, Vendel Period, Viking Age
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-355238OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-355238DiVA, id: diva2:1228075
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Available from: 2018-06-27 Created: 2018-06-27 Last updated: 2018-06-27Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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