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Det är något med hästar..: En osteoarkeologisk studie av hästen som offer på Gotland, Stora Karlsö och Öland.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Archaeology.
2019 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
There’s something about horses.. : An osteoarchaeolological analysis of the horse as a sacrificial animal on Gotland, Stora Karlsö and Öland. (English)
Abstract [en]

There is something about horses. Something that through the ages has made people see these animals as something special, almost magical. The use, care and murder of these animals contain information of high value for archaeology. Information that can be hard to find in other materials.These animals and their final resting places bear traces of the emic values and inner worlds of the people that once put them there. People’s thoughts, values and traditions can be visualised from the bodies of the horses that once served them, at times gave their lives for them.The purpose of this essay is to study possible regional similarities and differences in the tradition relating to living and dead horses. This is done through osteological analysis of skeletal remains mainly of horse (Equus) and analysis of the archaeological contexts.The initial hypothesis was that the reason for a somewhat scarce representation of skeletal remains of horse in some places, perhaps relates to how the people in these places handled the bodies of the horses due to tradition and norms within their society.The study also sets out to examine what has made up the foundation for an interpretation of sacrifice and ritual, problematise the application of the concept of sacrifice as well as how archaeology as a research field has been affected and influenced by these notions.A delamination was made to Iron Age since the use of horses for man’s benefit and enjoyment was well established by that time. Geographically a delamination has been made to the islands of Gotland, Stora Karlsö and Öland with the intention of creating a distinct island perspective, where peculiar and unique traditions as well as more general similarities are allowed the same presuppositions. For this reason, three materials from the chosen geographical areas have been subject to osteological analysis; Stormyr in Bäl Parish on Gotland, Norderhamn in Eksta Parish on Stora Karlsö and a material from Löt Parish on Öland.The results show a general pattern in handling as well as in how both living and dead horses were perceived in the studied locations. However, it is also clear that regional differences occur in these areas.No osteological markers that can indicate any difference in type between the analysed horses have been found. There is however some trauma that indicates that some horses may have been used as workforce and means of transportation for example.The result also show that several factors in the represented cases could have affected the basis of estimation that led to a ritualistic interpretation, for example the frequency of finds, the extent of exploitation of an area, education, the development of methodology over time, etc.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 90
Keywords [en]
Horse, ritual, osteology, archaeology, Viking Age, Stone Age, Iron Age, sacrifice.
Keywords [sv]
Häst, ritual, osteologi, arkeologi, vikingatid, järnålder, stenålder, offer.
National Category
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-385914OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-385914DiVA, id: diva2:1326404
Subject / course
Archaeology
Educational program
Master’s Programme in the Humanities – Archaeology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-18 Created: 2019-06-18 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Det är något med hästar..: En osteoarkeologisk studie av hästen som offer på Gotland, Stora Karlsö och Öland.(2457 kB)36 downloads
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